Woodie Fryman, key contributor on Tigers’ 1972 playoff team, dies at 70

From the Detroit News

DETROIT -- A hero of a Tigers' team that nearly went to the World Series has died.

Woodie Fryman, the left-handed pitcher who gave the 1972 Tigers such a lift in the last two months of their successful drive to win the American League East, died Friday night at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Ky.

His death was confirmed by Price Brothers Funeral Home in Flemingsburg, Ky, which will handle funeral arrangements.

Fryman was 70.

A tobacco farmer much of his life, he was a Tiger from 1972-74, and had non-descript records for them the last two years, But what he did while going 10-3 for the Tigers in 1972, after being claimed on waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies, endeared him to Tigers fans.

On a team that eventually won the American League East by a half-game over Boston -- a margin caused by a scheduling quirk following a work stoppage to begin the season -- Fryman prevented the Tigers from collapsing that August, then pitched them to the pennant in September.

Fryman won three games while the Tigers were going through a rough 5-12 stretch in August, then went 7-1 with a 1.79 ERA in his last eight starts.

He lost twice in the playoffs as the Tigers lost a best-of-5 series in five games to the Oakland A's, and he never recaptured as a Tiger that summer magic of 1972 -- but what a memorable two months he had.

Fryman wasn't done as a player, though. He was an All-Star for the Montreal Expos in 1976, reinvented himself as a relief pitcher who topped out with 17 saves in 1980, eventually was voted into the Expos' Hall of Fame, and pitched in the majors until 1983.

In 2005, he was also inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.

Fryman's career record was 141-155 with a 3.77 ERA and 58 saves. He was not related to Travis Fryman, who was the Tigers' third baseman from 1990-97.


  1. Sad news for Tigers fans who remember the '72 "over the hill" pennant winners. Much like Doyle Alexander in 1987, the Tigers wouldn't have won the AL East without Fryman. Geez, he was only 70.

  2. I remember the night that they clinched. It was a great evening as I listened from my dorm room at Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. It's a shame that they could not beat Oakland in the playoffs, especially after Reggie Jackson tore up his hamstring. That playoff had the infamous Lerrin Lagrow, Campy Camperneris bat throwing incident. More memories.