Les Moss, who helped manage Tigers greats such as Alan Trammell, Lance Parrish and Jack Morris on their way through the minors before getting his shot as Detroit skipper in 1979, passed away last week following a lengthy illness. He was 87.
Moss spent 13 seasons as a Major League catcher from 1946-58 before making his name as a Minor League manager in the White Sox organization. He served as an interim manager in 1968 and spent four years on the coaching staff in Chicago.
Moss came over to the Tigers organization in 1975 and led Double-A Montgomery to back-to-back Southern League titles, including with Parrish and Trammell in 1976. He followed Parrish in 1977 to Triple-A Evansville, where he worked with a fiery right-hander in Morris.
Moss' success in Evansville earned him the chance to replace Ralph Houk as Tigers manager in 1979. He led Detroit to a 27-26 record, but with Sparky Anderson available after his firing from Cincinnati, the Tigers made the change in June.
Moss stayed in the game, working as a pitching coach for the Cubs and Astros in the 1980s.