When the Phillies announced last November that former player Mark Parent would be the new manager of Double-A Reading, they weren’t merely signing a coach; they were making a commitment to a spitfire attitude dedicated to winning.
“If you’re going to do something during a game, if it’s not toward winning a ballgame, then it’s stupid,” Parent said at a press conference last Wednesday.
Parent, 49, played in the big leagues for thirteen seasons, including two years for the Phillies in 1997-98. It goes without saying that the Phillies team that Parent played for was drastically different from the one of the past few years. In the late 90’s, the Phillies were stuck in the middle of one of the worst tenures in the organization’s history in which the Atlanta Braves won fourteen consecutive division championships.
After breaking through the drought, the Phillies have now won four consecutive division championships in a row and currently are in the midst of the golden age of the team’s history.
"This organization is full of people who are in it for one reason, one reason only, to win ballgames," Parent said. "When I was playing for Philly it wasn't really that way."
Parent had a relatively unsuccessful career as a player. In a 162 game average, he batted .214 with 18 home runs and
57 RBI’s. He was a big, bulky (6’5, 215 lbs) catcher who only made the postseason once over a career that included
stays at San Diego, Pittsburgh, Texas, Chicago, Baltimore, and Detroit, as well as Philadelphia.
But things have been different for Parent after his career as a player. In his first stint as a manager, he led the Seattle
Mariners Class A affiliate in Lancaster to an 89-51 record, the best in the California league.
In 2005, he became the first ever manager of the Golden Baseball League’s Chico Outlaws. After finishing in second the first two years, Parent led the Outlaws to a league championship in 2007.
Parent reunited with the Phillies last year as he took the manager job at Class A Lakewood. The Blue Claws went 84-55and Parent impressed the Phillies organization so much that they promoted him to Double-A.
"[With] the young players that I had last year, the good players who were at Clearwater, the good players who were
here in Reading, we'll have a pretty good club out on the field," Parent said. "The people we're gonna have are going to be very competitive, and they're going to want to win."
Parent carries his commitment to winning everywhere he goes. Despite the fact that he’ll have mostly all new players this year, Parent has proven in the past and will undoubtedly continue to demonstrate in the future that he has only one thing on his mind.
"I want players who are athletic, energetic and want to win," Parent said. "I want them to want to win. Every day you go out there you've got to try to win a ballgame so when they get to Philadelphia fans are proud of the product that's out there.”