To a Sweep of the Sox!

Who knew Jeff Daniels could sing, play guitar and write a song to the Tigers?

It's an old one, but hey, you guys never told me about it!
Enjoy, and may we be one game ahead of the Sox Sunday night!

Leyland has to go

Jim is certainly very knowledgable about the game, but he seems to have lost his ability to motivatthe Boys!  If he put as much into motivating the whole team as he did  to helping Ryan Rayburn and Don Kelly - we would be in first place. I am not counting the Tigers out, but i do believe that Jim has to go - win or lose.  Terry Francona?  Kirk Gibson?  I believe over half the job is motivating.  Look at what Ventrua has done in Chicago.
Come on Tigers - fire up!

We win, the Sox win. We lose the Sox lose

We can not gather any monumentum to gain on the Sox.  They got their butts kicked yesterday.  Our Ace, Justin Verlander, has not been as effective lately -as was evidenced yesterday.  Lost 9-8 on a controversial 9th inning call on a home run.  If we want to win the division, we have to win more often - duh!!

The Greatest Tiger - Part II

And so we continue our tour of Tiger greatness...on to the Oldies!

George Kell

It's easy for us "kids" to confuse the great broadcaster from the Hall of Fame Thirdbaseman and hitter, George Kell. But let us refresh our memory about the later. 

Kell the ball player was definitely a great, with a total career average of .306, with seven consecutive All-Star appearances as a Tiger. In 1949 he beat out the great Ted Williams for the batting title with a .3429 average (the extra digit is important, as the Splendid Splinter hit .3427.)

Interestingly, like many of today's players, Kell did not play his entire career as a Tiger; he was also with Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Baltimore. But he did seem to have his best years with the old English D on his head.  

Hal Newhouser

Verlander might be the greatest righthander in Tiger history, but I'd vote for Newhouser as the greatest lefty. A seven time All-Star, twice MVP (the only pitcher named MVP in consecutive years, and barely missed a third being beaten out by Ted Williams.)

Drafted right out of Detroit's Wilbur Wright High School, "Prince Hal" joined the Tigers a year later. Frankly, he stunk the joint out his first two years, giving up more walks the K's. But by the end of his illustrious career, his ERA stood at an awesome 3.06.

In 1944 he won 29 games, struck out 187 and posted a 2.22 ERA. He came back in 1945 to do almost as well, and even pitched four innings in relief in the last game of the season to help the Bengals win the pennant, and eventually the Series.

Do we still think Verlander was the greatest Tiger pitcher? Wouldn't it be something to have a rotation with both of these guys?

Alas, if there is any criticism to be made of Newhouser's stats, it must be noted that his greatest years were when MLB was thinned by WWII, and he didn't have to face the likes of Ted Williams. (To be fair, it must be noted that he tried several times to enlist, but was deferred due to a leaky heart valve.)
Hank Greenberg

"Hammerin' Hank" was one of the greatest home run hitters of the post-Ruthian era, nailing 58 dingers in 1938, and 331 over his illustrious career. His career average was .313, and only Lou Gehrig eclipses his season RBI mark for a left-hander to this day!

Five time All-Star, twice MVP, he was also the first Jewish superstar, refusing to play on Yom Kippur, although he was not a practicing Jew.

One big footnote on his career stats must be that he, like many of his era, gave up more than three years of his career to service in WWII.  

Interestingly, he was the first ballplayer to make more than $100,000.

(If you haven't seen it yet, catch the DVD of the movie "Greenberg." )

Charlie Gehringer

Easily overlooked because he was quiet and didn't hit with power, Charlie Gehringer was certainly one of the greatest Tigers.

We all recall how beautiful it was to watch Whitaker and Trammel, but our fathers were just as spellbound with Gehringer and Rogell at second and short respectively.

For 19 years he was known as "The Mechanical Man" at second, hitting .320 over his career, and getting 200 hits or more seven season, a feat matched only by Willie Mays!

Second highest assists for a second baseman all-time, an MVP and a batting title to his credit, the guy was amazing. He had two consecutive streaks of more than 500 consecutive games played. 

It says how little the players of that era were paid, when you consider that Gehringer worked as a salesman at Husdson's in the off season, and toured in barnstorming exhibition games in Japan and with the negro league all-stars. Satchel Paige once said Gehringer was the best white hitter he ever faced.

Ty Cobb

(Hagerty and other photographers might find the article at interesting. The photographer wasn't even sure he pushed the shutter, but he pulled the film out of the camera, just in case.)

So it really comes down to this, doesn't it? Ty Cobb was a totally unlikeable son-of-a-gun, a racist, mysogenist, anti-Catholic, who played the ultimate in Small-Ball that would make the Oakland A's embarrassed. But was he the greatest Tiger in history? Maybe the greatest player in the history of the game?

To this day, the man holds several records, including the highest career average (.366 or .367) and most batting titles (10 or 11) and most steals of home.

In what was no doubt the best deal the Tigers ever made, they bought his contract for $750 from the Augusta Tourists.

Interestly, he was MVP only once in 26 years, and made 271 outfield errors, still an American Leage record.

Books have been written on the man; check out for a more detailed account of his accomplishments and vices.

Harry Heilman

It's almost deflating to look at Heilman's record, after thinking about Cobb, but you've got to give the man credit. 15 years with the Tigers, four batting titles, including hitting .403 in 1923. Spanning the dead-ball, and live-ball era, he was the first man to homer in every ballpark in his day (He finished with the Reds.)

His career .342 still ranks as the 12th best all-time.

Perhaps his only weakness was his total lack of speed and agility in the field, earning him the dubious nick name of "Slug," not referring to his .520 slugging average.

In Summation

Well, that's all she wrote, as far as I'm considered.

Don't you wish we coul have seen them all? Don't you wish we could see them play against each other? Imagine Hal Newhouser pitching to Cabrera!

If you think I'm missing somebody, suggest him in the comments. Go ahead and give him the full-write up. I'm tired of doing research (although it was fun.)

Let's give it a few days, post your comments, and I'll put a ballot up later this week or early next.

Who Wast the Greatest Tiger of All Time? (Part One)

We had lots of fun a few winters ago, picking our favorite Tigers position by position, and over pasta a vino, MVP Chuck Piotrowski and I agreed it might be time to select our all-time favorite Tiger.

The rules here are a little loosey-goosey. (What else did you expect from me?) I think we should vote on the greatest career contribution to the Detroit Tigers and accomplishments as a Tiger. But hey, how can I police your vote, if you like Mark Fydrich, or just love Paul Foytack?

Here are my nominees from "The Modern Era." (Part II -  The old guys, next week.) If you have suggestions, include them in a comment, and then in a couple weeks we'll do a "formal" poll.  I tried to include players from most eras.

Justin Verlander

Certainly the ace of today's staff, and his career is probably far from over.

Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award winner, and MVP, he started more than 30 games for the last six years, and pitched more than 200 innings for the last five.

What's almost as amazing is that his ERA is "only" 3.41. Fact is, he did have a couple lousy years. In his rookie year, 2005, he went 0-2 and had a balloon-like 7.15 ERA.

Of course, now we know he was just paying some dues, took what he learned, and went on to greatness. Except in 2008, when he led the league in losses with 17, and got nailed for a 4.84 ERA.

But hey, nobody's perfect. He's been masterful, especially for the last few years, totalling 116 victories so far, and we all hope many, many more.

Miguel Cabrera

Often cited as what might be the best pure hitter in baseball right now. The guy is incredible.  He hits for average, power, RBI's, and as he's shown us this year, he really can handle third pretty well.

It's only unfortunate this is only his fifth year as a Tiger. (All following remarks note only his accomplishments as a Tiger.)  Hitting .322, with 168 homers. Miggy led the league in a slew of categories, (HR and total bases in 2008, RBIs and OBP in 2010, and last year the batting title with .344.) He plays almost every day, and seems to be a truly nice guy. (You ever notice how much he talks on the field? He talks to the opposition third base coach, he talks to the shortstop, he talks with runners. That's probably why he was such a good first baseman; he talked to runners at first more than any Tiger since Sean Casey, and he distracted the runner. But I digress.)

At 29 we all hope he is with the Bengals for years to come. It might not be fair to measure him against players who played a full career in Detroit, but he has already earned a spot in the pantheon of greats. 

Jack Morris

Why isn't he in the Hall of Fame?

As a Tiger, he was the ace for 14 years, earning 198 wins and a 3.73 ERA. When you look up the word "Horse" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Jack. He threw an amazing 3,042 innings, including 293 in 1983.

Unfortunately, he pitched for some pretty shabby teams; had he regularly been on a competitor, lordie only knows how many wins he'd have.

A real competitor.

Alan Trammel

20 years a Tiger, and what a career! Rookie of the Year, four-time Gold Glove winner, and an all-around nice guy.

Tram did it all, and did it all very well. Perhaps the harshest criticism might be that although he always did everything well, he rarely (ever?) led the league in any specific category, and never called attention to himself beyond letting his accomplishments speak on his behalf.

He could hit (.285 average) hit for power (185 HR's, including 28 in 1987) and stole 236 bases.  

A great one.

Kirk Gibson

We loved his gritty attitude, and we loved the fact that he's a hometown boy (Waterford, close enough.)

In a dozen years with the Tigers, he only hit over .300 once, and overall hit .273. He nailed 195 homers, and stole 194 bases, in a quirky combination of power and speed.

(He was an MVP for the Dodgers in '88. I guess letting him go as a free agent at the end of 1987 was a bonehead idea.) 

Al Kaline

For us baby boomers, Al Kaline is the gold standard of fine ball players.

Rookie of the Year and batting title winner in 1955, the guy was notorious for playing that right field corner in Tiger Stadium, and throwing out runners trying to advance a base. He had an arm that knew no equal. He racked up 10 Gold Gloves, and hit .297 in 22 years, a stat that understates his ability, given that much of his career was in the era of the pitcher.

(Doncha love that the Tigers haven't changed their uniforms much in 50 years?)

The best seats I have ever had at an MLB game!

The perfect night for baseball.

The Ballpark in Arlington, with rightfield porch, reminiscent of Tiger Stadium
 A wee bit warm for you Yankees, (90 degrees at gametime, but here in Texas, that's cool for August.)

But these were the best seats I have ever had for a major league game. Just 10 rows behind the Tiger dugout. It was a warm evening, so all the reserves and resting starters were up, "on the porch" of the dugout, and in clear view of us lucky few. (Here you can see Sanchex, Fister, Dirks and Porcello if you look closely at the photo.)

My darling daughter, who is a huge baseball fan (wonder where she got that?) got a few tickets at work, and treated me!

Tiger fan in a sea of "Hamilton" and Kinsler" jerseys
First place Rangers against the second-place Tigers, with the ace on the mound.

Does it get any better than this? Well, the Tigers did lose in the bottom of the ninth, on a run-scoring single by Mike Olt, who we saw just a few months ago at a AA game in Frisco. 

Eat your heart out, guys!

What a Game!!

I have attended hundreds of games and watched many more on TV,
Yesterday's game was jam packed with action.
Laird's head first slide into first.
Replays seemed to show him safe - yet both laird and Leyland were tossed for their agressive arguing.
It was a seesaw battle all day. 
Fans were sitting on the edge of their seats, I sure was.
9th inning, bases loaded, Quentin Berry to the plate.
An obvious bunt situation.
Cleveland countered with the Berry shift.  Five infielders and only two outfielders.
And it worked as Berry grounded into a double play.
The the bottom of the 10th came.
The stadium was rapidly emptying out with the Tigs down by 3.
Time for some magic.
And it was there as Miggy ended the game with a walk off 2 run homer.
Giving us a 10-8 victory.
Who would have thunk?
More magic to come.
It is a team effort

did the rain cost us the game?

Why did the umps wait so long to delay the game. Beckett was pulled because of an injury.  Cody Ross slipped on 2 nd base.  Verlander was "out of sync" according to the Free Press - I would have been too with that rain.  The potential for injury was certainly there.  And we are in a run for survival in the playoffs.  Of course both teams had the same obstacles.  It just didn't seem right!