Former Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish will return as the Whitecaps Manager in 2019, the team announced in conjunction with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
In Parrish’s first season in West Michigan the team had a 69-70 overall record and made the playoffs as the second-half wild card with a win over Ft. Wayne on the last day of the season. The Whitecaps swept the Great Lakes Loons in the first round of the playoffs and fell the eventual league champions, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, in the Eastern Division Finals.
Joining Parrish on the staff will be Hudsonville, MI native John Vander Wal as the hitting coach. Vander Wal is a 14-year Major League veteran and spent last year as a coach on the Whitecaps staff. Former Tigers pitcher Willie Blair will be the Whitecaps pitching coach. This will be Blair’s first year in West Michigan. Rounding out the staff will be Eddie Dennis as a coach and Chris Vick as the team’s trainer.
“Great way to jumpstart the 2019 season with Lance Parrish returning to the dugout at Fifth Third Ballpark. Under Lance’s leadership, the Whitecaps were able to grind it out to a post-season appearance last season as the team that took on his personality—competitive, driven, and passionate about the great game of baseball. The continued affiliation with the Tigers allows Whitecaps fans the opportunity to spend another season with one of the greatest Detroit Tigers of all time,” said Jim Jarecki, Whitecaps Vice President and General Manager. “We’re looking forward as well to having former Tigers pitcher Wille Blair on as pitching coach and John Vander Wal promoted to hitting coach. The major league experience and coaching caliber on the field and off the field will definitely provide a great learning experience for the entire Whitecaps roster in 2019.”
Commonly referred to as the “Big Wheel,” Lance Parrish spent a total of six seasons with the Tigers major league coaching staff; with three as the club’s bullpen and third base coach from 1999-2001, and returned as bullpen coach from 2003-2005.
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 catcher 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.
Fans will be able to get their first glimpse of the new coaching staff when the Whitecaps take on the South Bend Cubs on April 6, 2019 at Fifth Third Ballpark
Get information on 2019 season tickets by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting. Individual tickets for all 2019 Whitecaps games go on sale in February.