Former Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish will return as manager of the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2019 after leading the team to a 69-70 record during the regular season and a second-half postseason berth that took them to the second round of the playoffs in 2018.
Parrish’s coaching experience also includes six seasons with Detroit’s major-league club, from 1999 to 2001 and 2003 to 2005, and he managed the 2007 Great Lakes Loons, a team that included future big-leaguers Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jensen and Carlos Santana. Parrish played 1,988 games over 19 seasons in the major leagues, was named to eight MLB All-Star teams, and won six Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Glove awards.
Another former major-leaguer returns to the Whitecaps coaching staff in 2019. John Vander Wal takes over as the team’s hitting coach after serving on the West Michigan staff last season.
Newcomer Willie Blair will be the team’s pitching coach. The former pitcher played for eight teams during his 12-year MLB career. He appeared in one Midwest League game as a player, making a five-inning rehab start for the Whitecaps in 1997.
Former minor-leaguer Eddie Dennis will serve as the team’s fourth coach.