For awhile, it seemed as if Mud Hens skipper Larry Parrish would never get the win he needed to set the record for victories by a manager of a professional baseball team in Toledo. Instead, the Hens had lost 11 straight games, tying a club mark of a more dubious sort.
But Tuesday night, the Mud Hens beat the league-leading Columbus Clippers, conferring well-deserved diamond immortality on Mr. Parrish. He surpasses the previous record of 540 victories held by Cal Ermer; before that, Mr. Parrish had lapped Casey Stengel, who achieved a Hall of Fame degree of managerial success with the New York Yankees after he left Toledo.
Mr. Parrish modestly attributes his record to his longevity and the quality of his players, but there's more to it than that. The Hens manager is, in baseball parlance, a “lifer” — someone who lives for the game.
A 15-year major league player, Mr. Parrish became Mud Hens manager in 1994. He has won two International League championships with the Hens, as well as titles with two other minor-league teams. He managed the Detroit Tigers in the late 1990s before he returned to Toledo in 2003.
Toledo has a long (127-year) and illustrious history in professional baseball. Although it is one of the smallest markets in the International League, its attendance routinely ranks among the league's best.
Much of that success is due to the leadership of Mr. Parrish, who calls Toledo his “second home.”
Mud Hens fans can hope that his victory total will grow greatly in seasons to come.