Larry Parrish

November 25, 2009

If this card is any guide, Larry Parrish did not enjoy fielding. Compare his posture in this 1977 card to the previous card featured on this site. While Keith Hernandez seems as if he can’t wait to strangle the life out of the opposition’s run-scoring attempts, Larry Parrish exudes a stolid, lantern-jawed apprehension and confusion. He seems to have a dim understanding that he’s about to be baffled, frustrated, stung.

Probably nothing will happen next. That’s the torturous part. Most of the time the ball isn’t even put into play, and if it is it likely won’t be hit to you. You wait, brace yourself, get nothing, wait some more. Then when something finally does come your way it happens too fast. You stand there rubbing the bruise and watching it bound away, past you already, already part of the past.

Larry Parrish had a strong arm. There’s something in his posture here that speaks to that asset.

If I can only get my hands on the thing, I can do good.

In fact, he did do good. Several years in the league, some very good seasons with the bat, if not the glove. The best years were in a foreign land, with an up and coming team that never quite arrived. From there he went to the Rangers, where many a cement-legged slugger has gone to bash line drives into the sweltering, futile Texas summer. In 1988, his final season, he joined the Red Sox, which I don’t recall, even though that’s my team and that year they won the division. I had a sociology class the day of the first game of the playoffs, and I remember racing up the hill after class to get to a television. My memory and the Red Sox’ extremely quick exit from the playoffs that season collapse that moment of racing up the hill to stand for my entire experience of that year’s dashed dream of baseball joy: I ran up the hill but by the time I got anywhere Wade Boggs was fanning on a pitch from the Eck and the season was over. This isn’t actually what happened, of course, but it’s how I remember it now. That’s how I remember everything. I was always trying to get my hands on something. It was always by me before I could grab hold.


Well, that’s about all I got for today, but since I’m addicted to gnawing on imaginary rosters of all kinds I think I’ll throw another one out there for your consideration and input. It’s inspired by Larry Parrish, but in all fairness Larry Parrish was not awful with the glove, certainly not as bad as some other candidates for the good-bat, no-glove Cardboard God Iron Glove All Stars. (I’ll have to come up with a no-bat, good-glove team some other time, but my guess is that the to-be-named Roger Metzger All-Stars, for all the praise they’d garner for their gumption, grace, and grit, would be pulverized by the plodding manglers listed below…)

C-Cliff Johnson
1B-Dave Kingman
2B-Rod Carew
SS-Toby Harrah
3B-Richie Hebner
LF-Greg Luzinski
CF-Jimmy Wynn
RF- Richie Zisk


  1. Another good candidate for 3B would be Butch Hobson (.899 fielding percentage in 1978…the image of Hobson, bone chips floating around his elbow, double-clutching before firing the ball 4 feet over George Scott’s head into the first base stands, haunts me as much if not more than Bucky Bleeping Dent or Bob Bleeping Bailey)

  2. I always liked the ’76 patch on the Expos uniform that year. I can’t remember if the Dodgers had a patch like that in ’84, or the Braves in ’96 so I think that might be the only Oylmpic patch worn by a ML team.

  3. It is my obligation to mention Pedro Guerrero’s name whenever possible.

  4. In my APBA board playing days I recall horrible fielding grades for 2b – Jorge Orta. Knoblach, Jose Valentin, Lou Brock (look up his errors), Dick Stuart (Dr. Strangeglove) . . . couldn’t hide that iron-mitt at first.

  5. I used to keep a roster of two such teams, which in my head I called the Dave Kingman All Stars and the Mark Belanger All Stars. I seem to have lost it, because I definitely would have added Richie Zisk.

  6. Hey, who could forget Kevin Reimer. In my cloudy memory of this ill fated Brewer(?) I seem to remember that he was once described by some sprtcaster as if he looked like he wore ice skates when he played the field! I had never heard that said of a major leaguer before but after I saw Reimer play I agreed!

  7. You’re gonna need some speed on that team. I nominate Lonnie Smith.

  8. My namesake thanks you for that shout-out, EWK.

    In the same spirit, how about Ron Blomberg for DH on this team? I recall fondly the bit from THE BRONX ZOO where another player (was it Thurman Munson? in retaliation for a watermelon that looked all too much like Thurm) took a trash can lid, bent it in half, and tossed it in Ron’s locker with a “Blomberg’s glove” sign attached. Blomberg was not good.

  9. How about ’65 AL Rookie of the Year Curt Blefary for LF or RF. His nickname was Clank.

  10. Happy Thanksgiving, Josh. Love the site, even if I don’t comment often…

  11. Rarely has the term “lantern-jawed” been so appropriately deployed. It even appears to be emitting light….

  12. A friend of mine and I always made it a point to get to Tiger Stadium early when the early-80’s Rangers were in town, in large part because Parrish was a legendary batting practice hitter. SERIOUS moonshots.

  13. Let’s not forget Jose Canseco and his massive, HR assisting cranium.

  14. Pete Axthelm on Oscar Gamble: “Oscar Gamble hits as if he were worth his $450,000 salary, but plays the field as if he were carrying the full bulging amount in his uniform.”

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