Parent writes his own script to majors Orioles catcher enjoying the trip

August 05, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

If this were Hollywood, Mark Parent's story would be the logical sequel to "Bull Durham," where the long-suffering catcher gets a chance to show his stuff at "The Show" one more time.

Parent, a career .197 hitter who was called up Friday from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, agrees that some elements of the 1988 movie do ring true in his life.

"Down there, the game means so much to the younger players who are trying to make it successfully to the major leagues," Parent said.

"They have so many questions. They want to know what it's like to be in the big leagues, what do they [major-leaguers] do up there, what's this guy like.

"That was fun to be kind of like the old guy that everybody comes up to to ask questions."

But Parent, who spent four years mostly backing up Benito Santiago of the San Diego Padres, wasn't interested in being the veteran sent down to season young pitchers for the majors.

His presence on the Orioles roster, or on any roster for that matter, is a surprise, given what he is coming back from.

Parent, who had been traded to the Texas Rangers after the 1990 season, tore a ligament in spring training last year.

He spent 151 days on the disabled list and was called up, five months ahead of schedule, in September, playing three games.

"That was a big bonus for me. For this year, to go down to Triple-A again and show that I can play and have a year pain-free was another bonus," Parent said.

So, Parent, at 6 feet 5 one of baseball's tallest catchers, was signed by the Orioles after he was released by Texas in February, and played well at Rochester, batting .281 with 17 home runs (third in the International League) and 64 RBI (second in the IL).

Parent said he thought he would get a shot at the majors when Chris Hoiles went on the disabled list in mid-June with a broken wrist.

That probably would have happened if the Orioles had not promised Rick Dempsey a chance to be activated if the need arose.

Since Dempsey was released, Parent has produced.

His homer in his second at-bat with the club, in the second game of Friday's doubleheader in Boston, proved to be a game-winner.

"I knew in spring training he could hit [and] throw well. He did a good job behind the plate. I guess the bottom line is he's caught three ballgames and we're 3-0," said manager Johnny Oates.

Hoiles isn't due back for an additional two weeks, so Parent will have at least that long to continue making an impression.

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