#75 - LANCE PARRISH, C
Lance Parrish was originally a first round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 1974 draft. The Angels traded for him a few days after the 1988 season had finished. They traded David Holdridge, their first round pick from the 1987 draft to get him. Parrish was a ten-year vet who had been a crucial part of the 1984 behemoth Tigers club that cakewalked to the World Series in a manner few teams in history ever have.
The Angels had had a bit of a tiff with Bob Boone, their veteran catcher, over salary going into the 1987 season. After the Parrish acquisition, Boone had to ignominiously sit thru the world series until he could be declared a free agent and get on with his career, which he did in Kansas City. Parrish came in looking like he had fallen off the proverbial post-30 career cliff. An aging catcher with fading numbers was replacing a fan favorite and longtime presence behind the dish.
All Parrish did was catch in 386 games over three full seasons (89-91) and the first months of 1992 before he was released. His replacement, John Orton, was a bust and Parrish played serviceably in the bigs thru 1995.
His 1989 season was the best he'd had since leaving Detroit and he followed it up with a 1990 that was one of the best all around campaigns of any Angels catcher. He batted .268 with 24 home runs and a .789 OPS. He made the All Star team and won the AL Silver Slugger for Catchers. On Defense he led the AL Catchers in Assists (88), Caught Stealing (55) and Double Plays (15).
Overall he finished with 64 home runs as an Angel, the second most HR by an Angels backstop behind Mike Napoli. His 21.7 AB per HR still ranks ninth highest in team history. His 7.6 WAR in 1,540 Plate Appearances is still in the club's Top 50 and 3.2 Defensive WAR is still in the club's top 25. His .410 slugging is still in the top 30 and his .719 OPS is still in the top 40 all time in franchise history.
Of course, the sample size of Plate Appearances is small for Parrish, but the full time catcher always needs days off and he was second int he league in 1989 and 1990 in games caught. Number one in 1989? Bob Boone.