Parrish Becomes Tigers Manager

Detroit Tigers interim manager Larry Parrish has accepted a two-year deal as manager.

"I was really wanting this opportunity," Parrish said Thursday by telephone from his home in Haines City, Fla. "Now that you've got it, it's a put up or shut up kind of thing."

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Parrish, who beat out more experienced Davey Johnson for the job, will sign a contract that has him managing through the 2000 season. The club has an option for him to continue in 2001.

Financial terms were not disclosed, who stepped in as interim manager after the Tigers fired Buddy Bell on Sept. 1. The club had a 13-12 record under him.

General manager Randy Smith said the job Parrish did in the last days of the season helped him win the job.

Larry Parrish
The Tigers stay within the organization and pick Larry Parrish to replace Buddy Bell full time. (AP)

"After a rough start, they relaxed and played better for LP," Smith said in a conference call. "They were letting their natural ability take over and not worrying about making mistakes, so they didn't make as many."

Smith said the fact that the Tigers are still a young club also weighted heavily in the decision.

"I think you look at it as different men for different jobs," Smith said. "Davey has outstanding credentials. But we're still pushing the ball up the mountain.

In the closing days of the season, the young Tigers recorded three straight comeback victories -- one over Toronto and two over Minnesota. The players clearly were feeling relaxed and having fun. None more so than Damion Easley, who hit dramatic homers in all three wins.

"It goes back to LP," Easley said. "He's keeping us relaxed and loose. We're playing better because of LP. He's a confident person, and when you fel that from your manager, you'll have a chance to be the same way. He's done a good job with us."

The 44-year-old Parrish has been with the Tigers for seven seasons, managing at four minor league stops. He made it clear after taking over for Bell on that he wanted a shot at the job full time.

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