Rounding Third and Headed for Home...

So we face what might be the most preposterously difficult poll: what Tiger starting pitcher put together the absolute best single season. Did I saw difficult? Alright, impossible. What the heck, let's go for it.
The best Tiger hurler from the old times was "Wild Bill" Donovan. (I'm not sure why
he got the name "Wild" as his strike outs almost always totaled more than walks. He pitched 11 years of a 16-year career with the Tigers, but I'm nominating him for his 1907 season when he led the Tigers to the World Series. He won 25 games, turned in a 2.19 ERA. Wasn't a bad hitter, either, with a .266 average.

In 1944 "Prince Hal" Newhouser earned 29 wins in the war-ravaged American League. Maybe it was before the time of the relief pitcher, or maybe Hal didn't give up the ball easily, but he pitched an amazing 312 innings.

The infamous Denny McLain had many faults, (and I'm tipping my hand here) but for one glorious season (1968) he was without doubt the best pitcher I ever saw in a Tiger uniform. With that beautiful high leg kick, wonderful mix of fastball and off speed control, he always had the hitter guessing, except for the day he "grooved one" for the Mick. Who was with me that day, Marty? Before the season was over, Denny racked up 31 wins and an incredible 1.6 ERA in 336 innings. He was named MVP.

Mickey Lolich was a fine pitcher for many years in the '60's and '70's, and his high water mark was the 1971 season, with 25 wins, throwing 376 innings, enough to break a modern pitcher.
Jack Morris has a place on our list, it's just tough to pick which one of his 14 years as a Tiger was his best. Of course, '84 was the series, when he had 19 wins. But the year before was probably his best season with 20 a league leading 293.3 innings and 232 strikeouts.

There's your ballot. Pick'em boys.


  1. Well I have been looking forward to this one and, other than Wild Bill, (didn't we use to call Doran Wild Bill?) the nominees were obvious. We have had some outstanding arms, just not enough recently - wonder what will happen to Verlander and Porcello through History? McLain did have an awesome season in 68 - but he was arrogant as hell, both in baseball and then later on in business - raping the retirement fund for all of those folks at the meat plant, etc. One of my many faults is my inability to separate the man from his personality so I could never vote for Dennis Dale. Speaking of arrogant, I think Jack MOrris also belongs in this category - great pitcher -- but what an ego. What image will I always have of Lolich -- him leaping into Freehan's arms at the conclusion of the 68 series -- a much better picture than the one with the cigarette. Speaking of the Series, who was our pitching heros with three wins that year?

  2. Chuck, divorce the image of a nasty corporate raider, from the pitcher par excellance de 1968. Lolich's record actually looks a lot like Wild Bill's, very good, but certainly not spectacular. That was most of Mickey's years, very good, not great.