#15 Catcher Lance Parrish
Lance Parrish the big wheel. To be perfectly honest he should be higher up the list but the way he left the team as a player, the two times he was let go by the organization as a coach has left me a little bitter. Parish was the first defection of the 1984 team,...the first guy to leave as a free agent and when you are a kid you just don't know that baseball is a business for the owners and for the players...you just want your guys to play for your team forever. When Lance left I felt very betrayed...I wasn't use to my guys leaving...it was made worse because I spent my summers in Indiana, which is Chicago Cubs country, so I had to see Lance playing for the Philadelphia Phillies...and it made me mad.
The Detroit Tigers had Matt Nokes who was ready fro promotion to the big leagues, and they traded for Mike Heath in September of 1986 so there was no way Lance was coming back. Even though he deserved to get paid...we can effectively argue that Lance was one of the best catchers of the 1980's and for a year year run he just may have been the best catcher in all of baseball.
In 1983 and 1984 Lance was an All Star catcher and won Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards at his position. In 1982 he was an all star and won a Silver Slugger. In 1986 we was an All Star for the fifth consecutive time and won a Golden Glove...after leaving the Tigers he would twice more be selected to the All Star Game. In all we are talking about someone who was an 8 time all star, won 3 golden gloves, and 6 Silver Slugger awards. This is where we start to see the discrimination in the Hall of Fame vote against the 1984 Tigers...Lance might not have been a totally legit Hall of Fame candidate but his 1.7% of the vote in 2001 was a disgrace.
It is a little hard to pinpoint his best season wearing the Old English D...from 1982 to 1985 he hit more than 25 home runs each season eclipsing 30 twice...in the same time span he drove in more than 85 runs every year eclipsing 100 once and having 98 twice. Of course with big power comes a lot of strike outs...and he had more than 100 whiffs many times through out his career. However given his skills behind the plate and at the plate he is truly one of the greatest Tigers of all time. It is a complete travesty that the team has not retired his #13...
They did bring him back into the fold as Lance was named Manager of the Double A Erie Sea Wolves last year and coached Tigers prospects in the Arizona fall league last fall.
My Favorite Detroit Tigers