ATLANTA -- When Braves general manager Frank Wren began compiling candidates to serve as hitting coach, Larry Parrish wasn't at the top of Atlanta's list. But after interviewing Parrish, Wren quickly came to realize why he was so highly regarded throughout the baseball world.
"He wasn't an obvious choice, because he hadn't been a hitting coach for a while," Wren said. "But over the last month, we kept hearing people tell us that we had to talk to him about this job."
Once Wren and new Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had a chance to talk to Parrish, they both came away understanding why he had become such a highly respected individual the past 19 seasons in the Tigers' organization as a manager, coach and scout.
"I think what stood out most in his interview was his passion and understanding of hitting," Wren said.
Parrish will have the opportunity to display this passion and knowledge while serving as the Braves' new hitting coach. The 57-year-old former Major League All-Star learned he got the job early Friday afternoon, as he was driving from his rural Georgia home to Florida to be with his grandchildren for Halloween.
"The Braves situation seemed to be the right move," Parrish said. "I've got a lot of ties to Georgia and I always loved coming to Atlanta when I played. It just seemed like the right fit."
Wren developed a list of candidates, and then ended up interviewing just Parrish and Jim Presley, who is expected to be named the Orioles' hitting coach. Presley served as Gonzalez's hitting coach with the Marlins.
With Parrish in place, Gonzalez's first Atlanta coaching staff is in place. Former hitting coach Terry Pendleton will serve as the first-base coach and Carlos Tosca will assume the same bench coach duties that he handled while serving on Gonzalez's Marlins staff from 2007 until midway through this past season.
Pitching coach Roger McDowell, third-base coach Brian Snitker and bullpen coach Eddie Perez will remain in their same roles while working with Gonzalez, who was Atlanta's third-base coach from 2003-06.
"It's good that I know a lot of those guys already," Gonzalez said. "They've never known me as the manager before. But we had great relationships when I was coaching here and hopefully that continues to be the case."
While Parrish will be introducing himself to a new environment, he's certainly not a stranger to the baseball world. After completing a 17-season playing career that began in Montreal and ended with a two-year stint in Japan, he joined the Tigers before the 1992 season to serve as manager of their Class A affiliate in Niagara Falls.
From 1994-96, Parrish served as a Minor League hitting instructor and manager. Over the course of the 14 seasons that followed, he served as Detroit's bench coach (1997-98) and manager (1998-99), a Major League scout and Toledo's manager (2003-2010).
While this 14-year span didn't include a coaching role that centered around hitting, Parrish spent time continuing to help many Tigers prospects, including Braves All-Star utility man Omar Infante, develop an offensive approach.
"When he interviewed, he came across as a knowledgeable hitting coach," Gonzalez said. "He's known as a good, solid hard-working individual who is passionate about the time he spends helping players in the [batting] cage and on the field."
A passionate hunter, Parrish found great comfort after a friend introduced him to the south Georgia lifestyle a few years ago. He came to like the area enough to sell his offseason home in Florida and move to a rural area located between the small towns of Blakely and Fort Gaines, which are located in southwest Georgia.
Having grown comfortable with his responsibilities within the Tigers' organization, Parrish hasn't openly lobbied for a chance to return to the Major League scene in some capacity. But when the Braves position became vacant, he pursued this opportunity to work closer to home.
"Getting back to the big leagues wasn't what drove me," Parrish said. "I really enjoy coaching and helping a guy get better. It doesn't matter whether that's at the Minor League or Major League level.
While serving as Toldeo's manager this past year, Parrish vividly remembers competing against both right-handed reliever Craig Kimbrel and first baseman Freddie Freeman. Like he is happy to know his hitters won't have to face Kimbrel, he's excited about the opportunity to work with young talents like Freeman and Jason Heyward.
"I think the Braves have some good young hitters and some older professional hitters," Parrish said. "Hopefully I can fit in."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.