Larry Parrish knows his baseball history, and the newly-named Braves hitting coach feels that differentiates him from many of today’s players. A veteran of 15 big-league seasons as a player [1974-1988], Parrish managed the Tigers in 1999 and has spent the last eight years as the skipper of Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. He talked about what he perceives to be a historical generation gap earlier this season.
Parrish: “Guys today aren’t into the history, and the players that came before them, as much as we were in my era. I can remember when I was a kid, growing up as a Yankees fan. I could have told you what Mantle, Maris, Berra, Skowron, and all those guys were hitting. I’ll mention it to these guys today, maybe while we’re taking infield…I’ll mention the name of a guy that was really good and they’ll go, ‘Who?’
“I remember last year, a kid from Rochester was playing third base and he made a nice play. I said, ‘Man, you looked like Bobby Grich on that play, when he played here in Rochester.’ The next inning I went back out there [to coach third] and he goes, ‘Who did you say I look like?’ I said, ‘Bobby Grich.’ He was like, ‘I’ve never heard of him.’
“A lot of guys today probably don‘t know who Larry Doby is. They know who Jackie Robinson is, because of the number “42” up in every ballpark, and they have a Jackie Robinson day, but they should know who Larry Doby is, too. And I don’t think that many of them do.
“Players today just aren’t into the guys that came before them like we were in the past. I’m not sure why that is, but I think it’s true of most everybody now. As a matter of fact, we had a thing in the paper the other day about how Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame. I asked our guys if they knew who Marvin Miller was, and nobody on the team had a clue. I said, ‘Well, you guys need to know this name here, because he put a lot of money in all of your pockets.’”