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.
Certainly the ace of today's staff, and his career is probably far from over.
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.
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.
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.
Why isn't he in the Hall of Fame?
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.
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.
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.)
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?)