The 100 Greatest Angels - #60, Lance Parrish

#60 - Lance Parrish, C

Career Stats

Lance Parrish is the first of six Catchers to make this list. He holds the Angels club record for homeruns hit by a Catcher. In the three full seasons he played, at least three Angel starting pitchers threw 200+ innings each season. And these were teams with good bullpens. On defense and offense he contributed to one good and two mediocre Angel seasons. Father Time then took care of the rest.

Rob McMillin discovered that Parrish was once Tina Tunrner's bodyguard; had I known that when compiling this list, Lance would be in my Angels Top 20. Here is Rob's Report:

Catcher Lance Parrish had a remarkably long and borderline Hall of Fame career, if the Jamesian Hall of Fame Toy is to be believed. Spending the first ten years of his career in Detroit, he bounced to Philadelphia for two years, who traded him for wasted first-round pick, pitcher David Holdridge. But so was Parrish in Philly, hitting .215 his last year there. Parrish was thrilled to be back in California; he attended Walnut High, whence he was drafted, and had a home in nearby Yorba Linda. The trade was complicated by the Collusion II case in that he could have voided the trade, but he wanted to join the Angels enough that he waived his right to do so. Agent Tom Reich said, "Lance is as happy as he could be. He's thrilled because he'll get to work and play in his own back yard and have the chance to re-establish himself as the premier catcher in baseball." Of course, this also meant that long-time fixture behind the plate Bob Boone would have to fight for playing time, but Boone solved that problem when he signed with Kansas City later in the offseason after he became a free agent.

A former bodyguard of Tina Turner's, Parrish briefly held the record for home runs by a catcher (32, breaking Yogi Berra's record; it was broken the next year by Carlton Fisk). Known early in his career as a below-average defensive backstop, he improved late in his career that he was an All-Star with the Angels in 1990 (eight times in his career overall). His best offensive regular season with the team was probably his 1988, when he hit .295.

By 1992, his hitting had deteriorated badly; scheduled to be the Angels backup catcher, only an injury to John Orton in spring training kept him as the starter. But when Orton returned to the club on June 12, the club announced it would put Parrish on release waivers, eating the balance of the $2.25 million owed to him. Parrish himself had already spent 24 days on the DL at the time (for elbow and fingernail trouble). Orton, a first-round draftee who turned out to be a bust, would himself be surpassed in playing time that year by veteran Mike Fitzgerald. Parrish spent another three years in the majors, playing for Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Toronto, retiring in 1995

You can read more of Rob McMillin at his 6-4-2 L.A. Baseball Blog.

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