Michael Parnow
Michael Parnow
Year: Class of 2014
Sport: Baseball

Former College of Marin second baseman Michael J. Parnow was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 31st round of the 1972 minor league baseball June Amateur Draft.

Parnow, who began playing baseball at the age of 8 as a towhead blond and would be known forever as “Whitey,” went on to play third base for 20 years in fast-pitch softball teams, becoming a nine-time All-American. He played on three national championship teams, on an International Fast Pitch Federation bronze team in 1992 and was elected to the Amateur (Fast-Pitch) Softball Association National Softball Hall of Fame in 1998.

For Parnow, College of Marin was a wonderful stepping stone.

“The best thing were the friendships, the contacts and tremendous coaches,” he says.

Parnow came to the College from Marin Catholic High School where he played baseball and basketball. He was fortunate to play under then-high school coach Gary Hughes, who later became a Northern California scout for several top professional baseball teams and was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in 2009.

“He was a tremendous coach and knew everyone in the world,” Parnow says.

After high school, Parnow only knew he wanted to play baseball and came to College of Marin during a wonderful era of great crowds cheering on exciting teams. 

Parnow remembers a close-knit group under the tutelage of baseball Coach Vic Petreshen. There were several other standouts as well and the team was in first place until the last week of the season when their pitching fell through and Cañada College took the lead. He noted several other players went on to play college call, including:

  • Jim Peters who went on to play football and baseball at Saint Mary’s College of California;
  • Rafael Gallardo who went on to play for San Francisco State;
  • Steve Henriksen who went on to play for San Francisco State;
  • Larry Brazda who went on to play for Kansas State;
  • Dennis Buhler who went on to play for San Francisco State; and
  • Dee Fedrick who went on to play at Chico State College.

Petreshene kept them busy with almost daily scrimmages.

“Coach Petreshene was a very good hitting coach,” Parnow says. “We’d play every day. We really worked on hitting.”

At that time, the College of Marin basketball team was drawing such huge crowds that Coach Petreshene would sneak his players in through the side doors of the gymnasium so they could watch sold-out games.

After two years, Parnow played a couple of years in the minor leagues, a time he describes as a wonderful experience of making “lifelong friends” and getting to spring training in Dodgertown.

After being released from the Dodgers, he took a “temporary” job as vault supervisor for the Golden Gate Bridge, which turned into a 35-year career that accommodated his passion for fast-pitch softball playing and high school basketball officiating.

He played fast-pitch with Marin Wheel before joining the Guanella Brothers team in 1976 with whom he played until 1992, save for a couple of years in the mid-eighties when he played for the California Kings in the Central Valley. He played all over the U.S. and in five countries earning two team championships while with the Guanella Bros. and one with the California Kings.

“I was lucky enough to play with some of the best pitchers in the world,” he says. “I owe an awful lot of what happened in my adult life to those brothers.”

In the winter he officiated high school basketball in Marin and Sonoma counties, refereeing in seven championship games before retiring from the court about 11 years ago.

Since retiring from his job at the bridge a few years ago he has been focusing on his golf game, playing frequently in Northern California tournaments.

He now shows up on amateurgolf.com where his home course is listed as Sonoma Golf Club.

He is married to Karen Parnow and lives in Novato.