Pro Perspective: Mark Parent
Mark's Early Life and Playing Career
Mark Parent was born on September 16, 1961 in Ashland, Oregon. He eventually moved to Anderson, California, which is a small town close to Redding.
He played for Anderson Union High School and was drafted after graduation in 1979 by the San Diego Padres (4th round, 92nd overall).
Mark played in the minor leagues for eight seasons before making his big league debut for the Padres on September 20, 1986. His first appearance was as a pinch hitter against the Houston Astros, in front of over 36,000 fans at the Astrodome.
He gradually gained more playing time behind the plate with the Padres, staying with the team until 1990. Mark was then traded to the Texas Rangers, where he appeared in only a few games in 1991.
He then spent the next seven big league seasons bouncing around with various teams, to include the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, and Philadelphia Phillies.
Mark's best statistical season came in 1995, when he hit 18 home runs with 38 RBIs (1.3 WAR) while splitting time with the Cubs and the Pirates.
The next season, Mark was a member of the 1996 Orioles team that made it to the AL Championship Series. He appeared in six games over the course of Baltimore's playoff run.
Mark's final MLB game came against the Dodgers on September 1, 1998 as a catcher for the Phillies. He finished his big league career having appeared in 474 games, collecting 279 hits, 53 home runs, and throwing out 133 runners attempting to steal.
From Player to Coach
Shortly after his playing career ended, Mark got into coaching. His first coaching job was as the manager for the single A Lancaster Jethawks, which was then a farm club for the Seattle Mariners.
Between 2000 and 2010, Mark managed a handful of teams across the minors and in independent league Baseball. In 2011, he went back to the big leagues as the bench coach for the Chicago White Sox under manager Robin Ventura. Mark served in this role through the end of the 2015 season.
Q&A with Mark
Mark is a former big league catcher and professional coach with over 3,200 innings of MLB playing time under his belt. He has played with many MLB all stars - names like Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken and Benito Santiago.
I wrote to Mark a few months ago seeking his feedback to my questions for pro catchers. He kindly autographed my 1991 Topps card and responded to my questions, as shown below.
Much like the others in the Pro Perspective series, I wanted to share Mark's responses with my readers in the hope that his input will help catchers interested in improving their game.
Here are Mark's responses to my questions, as you can also read in the image below.
Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?
Answer: When my Father got to see me in the Big Leagues.
Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?
Answer: Toughness - the kind of tough that's just there. You don't call attention to it. You just have it. Along with being able to run the game.
Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to play at the next level, what would it be?
Answer: If something needs to be done, the dirty, hard and smart stuff, you just are there to do it. Lead by example, but make sure when you're on the field, people know they can count on you.
Being a catcher is not easy, which - if you're already reading this - you already know. To be an effective catcher, you need a certain level of toughness. Grit. Persistence. Hard work. Be someone who doesn't complain, who listens to instruction and feedback, and who gets the job done.
Mark does a good job of highlighting the importance of these things. These qualities will put you on the right track and will not only help you be a better player, but a better teammate and leader.
Thanks for Reading
We have many more Pro Perspectives ready, and we will continue to post them in the coming weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned for more!