Rod Allen right again

Rod Allen was amazing during today's broadcast. We were down 3-1, bottom of the 8th. Runner on third. Granderson up to bat. Granderson walked. Rod said that those walks hurt ya. Next batter up is Polanco. Polanco hits a three run homer. As Polance begins his home run trot Rod says, "what did I tell you!!" Tigers win 4-3 a great win and we extend our lead.

Who was the Tigers Worst GM?

Chuck suggests we continuing polling on the "best of times/worst of times" theme with the worst GM.

Some of his candidates:

  • Bo Shembechler for firing Ernie Harwell - (Correct my spelling if I goofed.)
  • Jim Campbell - Why Chuck, for bringing us the 1968 Tiger team?
  • Dave Dumbrowski - He's traded away a lot of talent, but you must agree, we have a competitive team today.
  • Randy Smith - Faded from my memory, but hey, what was our second kid named, Debbie?
  • Bill DeWitt - Could be the best or the worst. Took the second division Tigers of the late '50's, brought in Frank Larry, Rocky Colovito (and maybe Norm Cash) to be competitive with the Yanks in the early '60's.
  • John McHale - Didn't he bring us a flag, too?

Before I officially post the ballots, any other candidates? (Of course, heated discussions are always welcome.)

When was the last game-ending unassisted triple play?

Pretty amazing when a team gets an unassisted triple play, as did the Phils earlier this week. But when they end the game doing it, it's even rarer. (Second time in history!)

The first (and last) last time was Tiger Johnny Neunn in 1927! But Neunn was a first baseman, which must have been a real trick! (Enough exclamation points. Anybody notice the Texas Rangers got an unassisted triple play the other night?)

Best Deals in Tiger History?

Well, now that we've looked at the worst, let's get to the best (and thanks to Tom Hagerty for doing most of the research on this.)

Maybe the most spectacular was sending Denny McClain (who had racked up a lot of victories and a lot of innings for the Tigs) along with Don Wert and Elliot Maddox to the Senators for Aurelio Rodriguez, Eddie Brinkman, Joe Coleman and Him Hannan.
Tom contends that sending the very young John Smolz to Atlanta for the experienced Doyle Alexander was one of the best deals, not one of the worst, like we suggested last week. We got a steady hand in the playoffs that year, and for many years to come.
Some other significant acquisitions include:
  • Sean Casey for Brian Rogers

  • Frank Tanana for Duane James

  • Todd Jones and Nate Robertson for Mark Redman

  • Milt Wilcox for cash

  • Damian Easley for Greg Gohr

Tom found a list of many of these deals at that will give you more detail.

They include what they claim to be the most "significant" trades. I don't think all of them were all that good. Like, sending Cecil Fielder packing for Rueben Sierra and Matt Drews, Jason Thompson for Al Cowers, and who the heck dealt away a young guy named David Wells? Yeah, that David Wells.

So cast your vote at right. One vote to a customer, and if the players' names seem cut off, just run your cursor over the name and total bar.

Dreams of Fields

The Free Press reports that the Tigers on Monday night signed their sixth-round pick, shortstop Daniel Fields, the University of Detroit Jesuit High School star and son of former Tiger Bruce Fields. Fields had committed to play at the University of Michigan if he hadn’t signed with the Tigers.

Fore more about the -09 draft picks see

Rain Delay

Lakeland Flying Tigers Max Leon (left) and Luis Grullon amuse themselves in teh dugout during yesterday's rain delay at Joker Marchant Stadium. (Leon's father, Maximino Leon, pitched for the braves in the 1970s.)

Just to Clarify the poll...

the last option listed to the right in our poll this week included 9 players (not all easily visible on the poll.) The Tigers received Juan Gonzales, Danny Patterson and Gregg Zaun in exchange for Gabe (The Babe according to my daughters) Kapler, Frank Catalanatto, Francisco Cordero, Bill Hasselman, Alan Webbas (?) and Justin Thompson.

The Tigers hoped to re-sign Juan to a long term contract, he said no way unless they moved the fences in the new Comerica Park in. They didn't, and after just a year, he signed with the Indians. (Of course, they eventually did bring in the fences.)

Pound for pound, it was a pretty bad deal.

(For future reference, if you haven't notice yet, when my answer runs into the totals so that you can't read the answer, you have the option of sliding your cursor over the copy, and the rest of the answer pops up. As they used to teach us in Catholic grade school "it's one of the mysteries."

Keith and the Commish at the Ballpark

We had a great time Saturday at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas, to see the Frisco Rough Riders (Texas League AA affiliate of the Rangers) squeak out a 2-1 victory over the San Antonio Missions. (Keith on the left, me on the right. Yeah, I know, he looks like he doesn't want to be there. Chalk it up to the 100 degree heat, and the fact that I stuffed him full of bad Tex-Mex food before the game.)
Typical of minor league baseball, it was cheap ($10 per ticket) and our seats were fantastic, third row from the field, just down the left field line from the Rough Riders dugout. The bullpen is so close to the dugout, the players can just about throw a baseball back and forth. Unfortunately (for the bullpen) there is no phone system, so the manager just stands on the top step of the dugout, to signal who he wants warming up.

Being at a minor league game gives you a whole new perspective on the game. These kids look so young! (That's because they are young, dummy.) And yet they face major leaguers now and then coming into a rehab assignment. Second, It's amazing how hard it is to follow a fly ball in the pale blue evening sky, like you see in the picture of Keith and I.
The Rough Riders' left fielder quickly became a fan favorite by throwing balls to the kids. Near the end of the game, he caught a fly ball to end the inning, and he brought the ball to a five year-old girl in front of us.
Keith and I did talk a little baseball though, and talk about ATC. I've wondered why the poll on your favorite broadcaster has only gotten three votes, and Keith gave me a few things to think about. First, many of the guys I mentioned, he had never heard of. Second, he noted that I left out Joe Morgan, and Mel Allen: good points. During the ESPN game last night, it occurred to me that I like Orel Hershisher an awful lot as a color guy, but probably not "the best."

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

Bad Trade Part II: Harvey Kueen for Rocky Colavito

I was crushed. (Seriously, I remember this.)
The Tigers traded the AL batting champ Harvey Kueen in 1959 for some strikeout artist name Rocky Colavito. Frank "Trader" Lane Cleveland GM said something like "All I did was trade hamburger for steak."
Kueen was one of the finest true hitters of the 50's and 60's, gracing the AL as Rookie of the Year, eight time All Star, compiling a .303 lifetime average, with a league leading .353 the year before the Tigers dealt him.
I call the Rock a strikeout artist; I thought I heard he led the league in 1959, but can't confirm that. Let's just say that in 1958 and '59 he struck out 175 times, compared with Kueen's 62.
But alas, the Tigers seemed to have had the wisdom to sell high and buy low. Kueen was an All Star only once again after leaving Motown. Although he played until 1966, his best years were probably behind him. Lane seems to have gotten bored with singles and doubles, and traded him a year later.
The Rock was a serious contributor for the Tigers and the other teams he played for, and although our guys didn't win a flag with him, they gave the Yanks a run for their money in 1961.
In Detroit or Cleveland, he was always a fan favorite; the girls loved him for his Italian good looks, and everybody appreciated the fact that he signed every autograph with a smile.
Today he's 66 on the all-time home run list.

I don't know if it was the Tigers' "worst" trade.
Does anybody remember "Harvey's Wallbangers?

Red Barber: the Finest Baseball Broadcaster

In a clear play of grandstanding, I nominate Red Barber as the finest baseball broadcaster. He came up with southern colloquialisms like "tearing up the pea patch" and "sitting in the catbird seat." He had retired from working with the Reds and Dodgers long before I had heard of him. I got to know him on NPR every Friday morning. You can listen to a few of his NPR broadcasts at (I particularly like the one entitled "Well, I'' Be a Suck- Egg Mule.")

You might also want to check out a video of Barber and Ernie Harwell talk about their respective broadcasts of the "Shot Heard 'round the World" in 1951

Avila joins Tigers

Alex Avila (above left with in the 2008 fall instructional league) made his MLB debut this afternoon at Comerica Park. He started behind the plate and went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI in a 7-3 victory over the Orioles. Fellow rookie Rick Porcello got the win.
(Avila's cousin, Amanda Avila, is an intern for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, and she flew to Detroit for today's game.)

Baseball Statistics, part 2

While I was watching the Tiger game last night, courtesy of the Baltimore feed, they kept flashing a graphic about the odds of scoring four or more runs in the ninth inning with one out. The stated odds of such a feat is 6.88%. I am thinking that they must have compiled this stat before Rodney became our closer, because he certainly makes the last inning very interesting (although he must be doing something right, since he has but one blown save.)

In your opinion, what closer is/was most likely to induce cardiac arrest? The shock can be incurred by either the loyal fan or the grumpy manager.

Rod Allen - a true diamond in the rough

Last night as I watched the Tiger victory, I realized how much I do enjoy Rod Allen. He really knows the game inside out and, more importantly, he is able to communicate the intricacies of baseball to someone of much lesser knowledge, ME. In my 57 years I have listened to countless broadcasters. Of course, Ernie was the best. But I have to admit that Rod really is enjoyable to listen to and learn from. As a player, Kaline was the best. However, as a broadcater, I found Al very dry and unable to convey the message. Many times Rod describes the play before it happens. So I just wanted to say cudos to Rod and to get your take on it.

How many other broadcasters have we heard, both in baseball and other sports, local and national. How many ex-jocks? Perhaps Gregg could do one of his infamous polls. Harry Carey, Tony Kubek, Curt Gowdy, George Kell, Paul Carey (no relations to Harry - lol), Van Patrick, remember how lousy risz and fizz were when they replaced Ernie, Jim Price, Dan Dickerson, can't remember the insurance agent's name who did U of M football and how partial he was, Frank Beckman, John Madden, Al Michaels, Howard Cosell - I could type for an hour, just trying to stimluate some thoughts from all of you.

Future Tiger?

Shane Rowland of Tampa Catholic High School hopes to play major league baseball. He and dozens of other high school players from around teh country had the chance to display their talent for major league scouts and college coaches this weekend at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. Here's a link to my article and mmore photos :

Worst Tiger Trade: Renteria for Jurrjens?

You guys know me as a lovable curmudgeon. A pessimist. So let's ask the question: what was the worst trade the Tigers ever made? I'll propose a few, you guys pile on with comments, and when we get a collection we'll put it to a vote.

The most recent stinker: sending an outstanding young pitcher like Jair Jurrjens to Atlanta for the overpriced and under talented Edgar Renteria.

Tigers knew Jurrjens has all the hallmarks of an outstanding pitcher. He rose quickly from rookie league to the bigs, and collected three wins in seven starts with the Tigers in 2007. Granted, the Tigers had some very good starting pitchers that year, and good quality youngsters like Miller at that time. But really Mr. Dumb-browski, when does a team ever have too much good pitching? Pitchers wear out their arms, get hurt, get tired. Just look at the roster right now, you've got Zumaya and Willis out for the season. (OBTW, anybody notice we picked up Jarrod Washburn today cause we don't have enough pitchers?)

Ready for a little salt in the wound? Since he's left us, J.J. has notched 21 wins with limited run support, posting a total E.R.A. of 3.39 (he hasn't gone over four since arriving in Atlanta.) This year he has 93 strikeouts, and 48 walks. The heck with going for Halladay, I'd be trading for Jargens if I could.

And then you have Edgar Renteria. Oh, we'd all like to forget the stone glove of Edgar. He stunk out Fenway so bad the Boston local sports talk shows called him and his $40 million contract "Rente-Error" and "Rent-A-Wreck." He got booed out of town when he blamed the Fenway groundskeepers for "substandard" infield.

Granted, he showed some promise in his return to the NL and the Braves, and through his career he was a five time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner (incredibly).

Granted, Santiago couldn't hit well enough to be a front-liner in 2006, but we also had Guillen, Inge, and Polanco to give us some versatility at short. As a last resort, we should have just gone out and bought or traded for a better shortstop at a lower cost than Jurrjens.

Well, we all know the end of this sorry tale. Tigers didn't sign him for his option year (even though he said he'd take a pay cut to $9 mill) and Eddie is hitting a whopping .266 with the Giants.

Now that was a bad deal.