Lance Parrish Named New Whitecaps Manager

Former Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish has been named the 13th manager in West Michigan Whitecaps history, in a move announced in conjunction with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. 

Parrish arrives in West Michigan after spending the past four seasons with the Double-A Erie Seawolves, where he won more than 250 games during his tenure. Parrish replaces Mike Rabelo, who was assigned to Lakeland amid the Tigers minor-league managerial changes. 

“Heading into our 25th season, we are thrilled to have one of the most iconic Detroit Tigers represent the Whitecaps in Lance Parrish,” said Jim Jarecki, Whitecaps Vice President and General Manager. “Lance’s experience and ability to develop young players have us looking forward to 2018.”

The catcher commonly referred to as the “Big Wheel” spent a total of six seasons with the Tigers major league staff; with three as the club’s bullpen and third base coach from 1999-2001, and returned as bullpen coach from 2003-2005. Parrish also spent two seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, managing rookie-league Ogden before joining the Great Lakes Loons (Midwest League) for their inaugural season in 2007.

Parrish spent the first 10 seasons of his big-league career with the Tigers after being selected in the first-round of the 1974 MLB Draft. The backstop was a key piece of the Tigers 1984 championship team, with 33 home runs and 98 RBI. He was named an All-Star in six of his 10 years with the Tigers, while winning five Silver Sluggers and three Gold Glove awards. 

Parrish’s assignment came among several Tuesday moves in the Tigers minor-league managerial ranks, including a pair of former Whitecaps managers. Andrew Graham, who managed the club to three consecutive playoff appearances and a Midwest League Title in 2015, replaces Parrish at Erie. Rabelo, who was named the 2017 Midwest League Manager of the Year, replaces Graham with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. On October 20, the Tigers named former Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire as the big-league club’s new manager.

“We’re excited for our former managers in [Andrew] Graham and [Mike] Rabelo to continue within the Tigers farm system,” said Jarecki. “They had great success in West Michigan, and it’s clear the Tigers have talent in the dugout, as well as on-the-field.”

The remainder of Parrish’s Whitecaps field staff will be announced at a later date. 

The Whitecaps head to the offseason with the 2018 campaign and 25th season in their sights. Get information on 2018 season tickets by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting