COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The Detroit Tigers today announced that former Major League All-Star Larry Parrish has been hired to manage the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2013.
Parrish replaces Ernie Young, who compiled a 142-137 record as Whitecaps manager in 2011-2012.
A two-time Major League All-Star in 1979 and 1987, Parrish was a .263 career hitter with 256 home runs and 992 RBI in 15 seasons with Montreal (1974-1981), Texas (1982-1988) and Boston (1988). Parrish played two seasons (1989-1990) in Japan before ending his playing career.
In 1992, Parrish began a long and successful coaching career when he was hired by the Tigers as manager of the short-season Class A Niagara Falls Rapids. A year later, he led that team to the New York-Penn League championship. After three seasons in Niagara Falls, he was named as the Tigers' minor league roving hitting instructor. In 1996, he was named the manager of the Class AA Jacksonville Suns, where he won the Southern League championship in his only year with the team.
In 1997 Parrish joined the parent club Detroit Tigers as their bench coach, a position he held until mid-1998 when he was named to replace Buddy Bell as the Tigers manager. Parrish managed the Tigers through the 1999 season, the team's final season at Tiger Stadium, and compiled an overall 82-104 record. After Phil Garner was named the 2000 Tigers manager, Parrish remained in the Tigers organization as a scout.
Parrish returned to the dugout as manager of the Class AAA Toledo Mud Hens in 2003 and was named Minor League Manager of the Year in 2005 by The Sporting News after leading the Mud Hens to the first of back-to-back International League titles.
He remained in Toledo through the 2010 season before becoming the Atlanta Braves' hitting coach in 2011, a position he held for one season. After taking a year off from the game, Parrish is happy to return to the Tigers' organization as Whitecaps manager in 2013.
"I'm excited about coming to West Michigan next season," Parrish said. "During my entire coaching career, I've always felt it was important to make an impact. Class A ball is a level that requires a lot of hands-on teaching and will really allow me to make an impact on the young players. I look forward to working with these guys not only on the physical side of the game, but also the mental side...how to handle the long, day-to-day grind of a 140-game professional season."
Parrish spent some time with the Whitecaps back in 2007. He was managing the Mud Hens, but missed half the season while recovering from ankle surgery. The time off allowed him to do some roving instruction for the Tigers.
"I remember being there at Fifth Third Ballpark in 2007, when Brennan Boesch, Scott Sizemore and Duane Below were on the team," he said. "I was really impressed with the facility and the fan support. You have a really good thing going in West Michigan, and I'm glad to become a part of it. The Tigers have been family for me for a long time, so I couldn't be happier about coming back to the Tigers' organization as the manager of the Whitecaps."
Tigers Director of Minor League Operations Dan Lunetta said the Tigers organization is elated to have Parrish back in the fold.
"As the all-time wins leader as the former manager of the Toledo Mud Hens, Larry comes with a very successful track record; he's an outstanding baseball man with a wealth of knowledge and experience and a strong commitment to player development," Lunetta said. "His forte is the ability to teach young men how we expect them to play the game. He is very enthusiastic about the prospect of managing the Whitecaps because he feels strongly he can have the greatest impact as a teacher and coach at this level. We certainly hope that Whitecaps fans will be quite excited about the selection of Larry Parrish as the manager of the Whitecaps."
The Tigers also announced that hitting coach Scott Dwyer will return to the team, along with Athletic Trainer T.J. Saunders, while longtime pitching coach Mark Johnson has been assigned to Class A Short Season Connecticut for the 2013 season. A replacement has not yet been named for Johnson.
Dwyer returns for his second season as the Whitecaps hitting coach and fourth in the Tigers organization, having spent 2010 and 2011 with Class A Short Season Connecticut. Previously, Dwyer spent two years with the Texas organization at their Rookie Arizona League team. Before joining the Rangers, he logged 15 years as a college and high school coach. He was drafted as a right-handed pitcher by the Indians in the 8th round of the 1977 amateur draft.
The Whitecaps will open the 2013 season on Thursday, April 4 at home against the Dayton Dragons. The full schedule will be released at later date.