Detroit Tigers All-Time Lists

Detroit Tigers: Top Ten Catchers in Franchise History

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CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 3: Catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Detroit Tigers waits for a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during MLB Spring Training action at the Bright House Networks Field on March 3, 2005 in Clearwater, Florida. Detroit Tigers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 3: Catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Detroit Tigers waits for a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during MLB Spring Training action at the Bright House Networks Field on March 3, 2005 in Clearwater, Florida. Detroit Tigers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
DETROIT – APRIL 8: Bullpen Coach Lance Parrish #13 of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the dugout during the game against the Minnesota Twins on opening day at Comerica Park on April 8, 2004 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers won 10-6. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images) /

Lance Parrish

Detroit  Tigers: 1977-1986

One of the most prolific home run hitters in team history, Lance Parrish was a force behind the plate for a decade in the Motor City. Parrish was drafted in the first round of the 1974 MLB draft and made his debut three short years later in 1977.

After part-time duties in 1977 and 1978, Parrish became the full-time backstop in 1979. He hit .276 with 19 home runs and 65 RBI.

Parrish really came into his own in the 1980’s. He was an All-Star six times for the Tigers, including five years in a row from 1982-1986. He blasted 176 home runs in 906 games, good for an average of 25 per season. His slash line from 1980-1986 was .266/.318/.476, with a .794 OPS and a 117 OPS+.

Not only did Parrish make five All-Star games, he was a five time Silver Slugger Award winner and a three-time Gold Glove winner.

He blasted 30 or more home runs twice, including a career high 33 in the magical 1984 season.

Parrish was a free agent after 1986 and signed with the Phillies. He bounced around quite a bit over the next nine seasons, playing for six different teams. He managed to make two more All-Star games and won the Silver Slugger award in 1990 with the California Angels.

All told, Parrish finished his career with 324 home runs, 1,070 RBI and a .753 OPS. He had a 39.5 career bWAR, 30.1 of it earned in the Motor City. Parrish’s 324 home runs rank him sixth all-time among catchers, tied with the great Gary Carter.

Parrish currently manages Detroit’s Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps, and was discussed recently in this excellent piece by Lynn Henning of the Detroit News.

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