Why don't the Tigers Fire Leyland?

"If the bus won't start, shoot the bus driver," said Joe Falls in one of his great columns that made me want to be a newspaper guy years ago. I think that's one simple answer.

Did Leyland have to make sure Cabrera went to bed on time instead of going out drinking without Garcia on Friday night after the game? Did he fail to get the big hits? I'm not even sure it's a big league manager's job to motivate; these are millionaires before they ever swing a bat.

Here's a thought: maybe the Tigers' current administration actually believes in honoring their employees for longstanding service (something rare in business today.) The other day I bought my 30 year-old daughter (who is a big Tiger fan) a birthday present. (No, a night with Rick Porcello wasn't available.) I bought her a 1979 Tiger Yearbook.
I was stunned by how many of the guys on that team or involved in the organization are still with them.
  • Leyland was manager of the Evansville Tripletts (boy does he look funny with "long" hair and no cigarette.)
  • Gates Brown was the hitting instructor: today I understand he still works for the Tigers as a kind of guest relations guy. My brother's company has a suite, and he said he is always at the games, signing autographs and telling kids stories. Willie Horton is still involved as well, isn't he?
  • Jim Campbell was congratulating Al Kaline for his induction in the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and Kaline was broadcasting with old Tiger third baseman George Kell.
  • Of course, it's not a perfect world. Alan Trammel had his shot at managing the Tigers, but now he's a bench coach in Chicago. Would it be impossible for him to come back to Detroit someday?

Trivia question - Who was "Boots Day?"

Interesting note: Kirk Gibson didn't even rate a color picture or a write-up, but Sheldon Burnside and Mark Wagner did.


  1. Boots Day was an outfielder who played for the Tigers and then coached in the minors.

  2. Actually, I remember him on my old baseball cards -- played for the Expos; I do know that. Don't think he ever played for the Tigers, though he was a coach -- as Tom said.

  3. You guys are incredible!
    Don't ya wonder how he came up with a nickname like "Boots?" Maybe his birth certificate says "Boots"; Mom said, "Crimanny boy, you been kickin' my guts for the last nine months, ya'll got boots on in there? Boots, yeah that wouldbe a good name for my boy."

  4. My daughter is Ellen and her nickname is also Boots. There was a book about a boosy little girl who also wore boots. Ellen is extremely bossy, even at 26. We started calling her Boots when she was 3 and still do until this day

  5. Charles Frederick "Boots" Day (born August 31, 1947) is a retired American professional baseball outfielder. A native of Ilion, New York, Day played Major League Baseball for all or parts of six seasons (1969-74), with the bulk of that time spent with the Montréal Expos. He threw and batted left-handed, stood 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and weighed 160 pounds (73 kg).

    Day originally signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966, and received a Major League trial with the Cardinals in 1969, playing in 11 games and going hitless in six at bats. At the close of the season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for left-handed pitcher Rich Nye. He made the Cubs' opening day 1970 roster, but was soon traded again, in May, to Montréal for veteran catcher Jack Hiatt. Aftuer further seasoning in Triple-A, at Buffalo and Winnipeg, he was recalled by the Expos and played the next three-plus seasons as Montréal's platoon center fielder. In 1971, his best Major League campaign, he reached career highs in hits (105), home runs (4), runs batted in (33), and batting average (.283) in 122 games played. After slumping in 1972, he returned to form the following season, batting .275 in 101 games in 1973. But the Expos acquired veteran centerfielder Willie Davis in an offseason blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Day lost his semi-regular job. After only 52 games and 72 at bats in 1974, he returned to the minor leagues for the remainder of his playing career.

    All told, he appeared in 471 MLB games (449 of them with Montréal), and batted .256 with eight home runs and 98 runs batted in, in 1,151 at bats. [1]

    After finishing his playing career in the Detroit Tigers' organization, he became a minor league manager and instructor in the Detroit system.

  6. More on Boots: Boots Day was the first ever batter at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia on April 10, 1971. He and Rusty Staub had the highest batting averages on the 1971 Montreal Expos, a team during the second dead-ball era that hit .246.

    He was primarily a centerfielder in the majors, getting 300+ at-bats twice.

    Boots was a two-way player in the minors, pitching in 87 games. He had eleven seasons total in the minors, spending parts of five of them with Evansville. In his best season as a pitcher, he had a 2.40 ERA in 14 appearances with Evansville in 1978, a year in which he also played outfield and first base. He had no pitching appearances in the majors.

    Day began his coaching career in 1982 in the Detroit Tigers organization and later scouted for the Tigers, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals. He has coached in the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals' farm systems.

  7. Speaking of Leyland, the Free Press today says this about Brandon Inge: "Kevin Rand, the club’s head athletic trainer, said Inge’s problem in the right knee was not as extensive as in his left. Inge’s left knee pain became pronounced in late June. For the rest of the season, he frequently had trouble running full speed or swinging properly. His production dropped, but he refused to sit out."

    Now I admire his determination to play, but it raises the question: If his production fell off, why didn't the MANAGER, Jim Leyland, take Inge out of the lineup???