Introducing… Larry Parrish

Although he didn’t have the glove of Brooks Robinson or the high average of George Brett, Parrish was one of the better slugging third basemen of his time.  A fixture at the hot corner for the Expos before Tim Wallach forced Montreal’s hand, Larry hardly played third after his trade to the Rangers.  An everyday third baseman in the National League, Texas made Parrish a corner outfielder/designated hitter.  Although he often finished high in the errors department among hot corner custodians, Larry did lead his position peers in putouts during the 1981 season.

Signed by the Expos in 1972, Larry got his first look in the Majors in 1974.  He only appeared in 25 games for the Expos that year and was thus still eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award in ’75.  Parrish hit a solid .274 with 32 doubles as a freshman which enabled him to finish third in ROTY voting behind John Montefusco and Hall of Famer Gary Carter–his Montreal teammate.  The next two years Larry struggled to live up to his rookie promise and was in jeopardy of losing his job until he established himself in 1978.  He hit .277 with 39 doubles that year as only stars George Brett and Pete Rose topped his two-bag total among Major League third basemen.

Parrish had a terrific season in 1978 but he was even better in ’79.  Named to his first All-Star Team, Larry was the only National Leaguer to reach 30 homeruns and 30 doubles.  A .300 hitter for the first time, he finished fourth in MVP voting as Montreal surprised the National League with a fine 95-65 record.  But his numbers fell in 1980 and the player’s strike in ’81 kept everybody’s stats below par.  After the 1981 campaign, Montreal dealt Parrish to the Rangers and his days manning the hot corner came to a close. 

With Buddy Bell entrenched at third in Texas, skipper Don Zimmer moved Parrish to right field.  Texas finished the year with 98 losses but Parrish had a decent season.  With the transition to the American League over the next year, Larry blossomed as one of the junior circuit’s top sluggers.  The Rangers shocked everybody by jumping up to third place in 1983 as Larry paced the team in homeruns and RBI.  But the Rangers returned to the basement in ’84 despite Parrish’s brilliant season.  He finished second in the AL with 42 doubles and had his first 100 RBI season.  Texas as a team posted 618 RBI during the ’84 campaign as Larry drove in 101 of those runs. 

An injury in 1985 kept Parrish out of the lineup for a time but he rebounded in 1986 with a 28 HR/94 RBI season in the Lone Star State.  The Rangers started to win under Bobby Valentine in 1986 as Larry teamed with young slugging phenoms Ruben Sierra and Pete Incaviglia.  With solid protection in the lineup, Parrish had another 100-RBI season in 1987.  Used as the Rangers primary DH, Parrish made his last All-Star Team while he set his single season highwater mark in homeruns with 32.  But his brilliant season wasn’t an omen of things to come.  He broke out of the gate feebly in 1988 and Texas released him when he hit .190 in over 60 games.  He caught on with Boston and helped them make the postseason but they were defeated by Oakland in the ALCS.  Parrish then spent two years in Japan before ending his playing days. 

THE NUMBERS

G 1,891/R 850/H 1,789/2B 360/3B 33/HR 256/RBI 992/SB 30/BB 529/SO 1,359/BA .263/OBP .318/SA .439

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