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(Detroit Tigers)

(Detroit Tigers)

2023 Season

Season Preview:  It looks like another rebuilding season in Detroit, where the starting pitching has improved but the hitting perhaps has not. The Tigers added some young hitters in the off-season, but traded away relief pitching to do so. Will that translate into more wins? That may depend on the progress made by Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson, and newcomers Nick Maton and Matt Vierling—and a return to form of Javier Baez, who had a disappointing year at the plate in 2022.

2022 Season

Season Recap: The Tigers suffered through a season of injuries to finish 66–96 after showing signs that they were ready to compete the AL Central. The team’s young pitchers were asked to handle a big workload and they did fairly well. That experience should come in handy in 2023. Among the highlights for Detroit fans were Miguel Cabrera’s 3,000th hit and the arrival of 21-year-old outfielder Riley Greene, who looks like a future All-Star. Newcomer Javier Baez led the Tigers in hits, runs, homers and RBIs, but did not have a good year by his usual standards. If Greene and young slugger Spencer Torkelson continue to improve, Detroit should be fun to watch next year.

July 10, 2022: Outfielder Robbie Grossman was charged with his first error since 2018. His 440 games in a row with an error set a new major-league record.

April 23, 2022: Miguel Cabrera singled against the Rockies for the 3,000th hit of his career. He became the seventh players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Ty Cobb and Al Kaline are the only other players to get their 3000th hits wearing a Detroit uniform.

Season Preview: Is this the year the Tigers’ rebuilding plan produces a division crown? Javier Baez hopes so. The superstar signed a deal to join Detroit over the winter, along with catcher Tucker Barnhardt and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. They join pitchers Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, and Gregory Soto, sluggers Jeimer Candelario and Austin Meadows, and rookie stars Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson. If veteran Miguel Cabrera has anything left in the tank, this will be the time to find out.

2021 Season

Season Recap: Although the Tigers did not win more games than they lost, the team played far better than baseball experts expected. Detroit fans got to see good things from youngsters Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Akil Baddoo—as well as veterans Jeimer Candelario, Robbie Grossman, Gregory Soto, and Jonathan Schoop. With a little more luck, Detroit could have finished above .500 for the first time since 2016.

May 18, 2021: Spencer Turnbull no-hit the Mariners, winning 5–0. Two years earlier, Turnbull led the AL in losses. It was the second time in less than two weeks that Seattle failed to make a hit in a game.

April 4, 2021: Rookie Akil Baddoo became the 31st player in history to hit a home run on the first pitch he saw as a big-leaguer.

Season Preview: It has been a long time since the Tigers won more than 70 games, but this could be the year thanks to some talented young pitchers led by Tarik Skubal. New catcher Wilson Ramos will handle the staff, while Detroit fans are keeping their fingers crossed for a last hurrah from future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera.

2020 Season

Season Recap: Six of Detroit’s best hitters missed time due to illness or injury in 2020, which ruined a season of hope for the team. The Tigers have some quality players, but had trouble putting their best nine players on the field at the same time. The club’s standouts included infielders Jeimer Candelario and Will Castro, and pitcher Matthew Boyd. All-time great Miguel Cabrera led the team in homers and RBIs at the age of 37.

August 2, 2020: Tyler Alexander struck out nine Reds in a row to set a new record for relief pitchers.

Season Preview: Detroit has a team of veterans with some winning experience, but it will be an uphill battle to jump ahead of their rivals in the AL Central. Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera may be nearing the end of the line, but the Tigers still have some pop thanks to newcomers Jonathan Schoop and Austin Romine, as well as familiar faces Jacoby Jones and Nick Goodrum. Michael Fulmer and Joe Jimenez are expected to have solid years on the pitching side.

2019 Season

Season Recap: The Tigers knew 2019 would be a struggle, but they won just 47 times—the second-fewest wins in team history. It didn’t help that they traded away two of their top players during the season, Nick Castellanos and Shane Greene, or that not a single hitter hit more than 15 homers or knocked in 60 runs. The only bright spot for Detroit was the performance of three starting pitchers: Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris, and Spencer Turnbull.

May 17, 2019: Ryan Pressley set a new record with his 39th scoreless appearance in a row.

April 7, 2019: Shane Greene earned seventh save in Detroit’s 10th game of the year. No one in history has ever reached seven saves faster.

Season Preview: The Tigers did not make any major moves over the winter in spite of back-to-back 98-loss seasons. Miguel Cabrera is the team’s cornerstone star but he only played 38 games in 2018. Fans would like to see much more of him in 2019. The Tigers would also like to see pitcher Michael Fulmer bounce back from a poor season,. However, if he does, they will probably trade him for young prospects.

2018 Season

Season Recap: Detroit’s pitching and defense did not keep up with its offense in 2018 and the result was a 64–98 record. Not that the hitting was very good. More than half the starters struck out over 100 times. Young players Nick Castellanos, Niko Goodrum and Jose Iglesias had solid years, but without Miguel Cabrera in the lineup—he missed half the year to injury—the team struggled to score runs.

August 26, 2018: The team retired the #3 uniform of new Hall of Famer Alan Trammell. Two weeks earlier, Jack Morris’s #47 was retired by the club.

Season Preview: The Tigers hope to rebuild their club quickly in 2018. After a flurry of trades in 2018, the team has some excellent young prospects, some of whom are ready to produce at baseball’s top level. For Detroit to keep from losing 100 games, they will need comeback seasons from Miguel Cabrera and Michael Fulmer—who missed time to injuries in 2017—and another solid season from right fielder Nicholas Castellanos.

2017 Season

Season Recap: Detroit fans suffered through a long, hard season. The team traded away Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez and watched them lead the Astros to the AL pennant. Justin Upton and Alex Avila were also traded away. The good news is that the Tigers get the first pick in the 2018 draft. Their young players should help the team return to the playoffs soon.

July 11, 2017: Justin Upton went 1-for-2 in his first All-Star Game as a member of the Tigers.

2016 Season

November 1, 2016: Only two Detroit pitchers won 10 or more games in 2016 and the hitters simply could not make up the difference. The Tigers finished four wins short of the playoffs despite big years from Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Ian Kinsler. Pitcher Michael Fulmer went 11–7 after joining the starting rotation from the minors and was named Rookie of the Year.

July 22, 2016: Miguel Cabrera scored the 1,500th run of his career.

May 24, 2016: Francisco Rodriguez became the 6th player in history with 400 saves after closing out a victory against the Phillies.

April 6, 2016: Victor Martinez set a record when he smacked pinch-hit home runs on the first two days of the season.

2015 Season

October 6, 2015: The Tigers were battling for first place before they lost 11 of 13 games in May and June. They traded away David Price and Yoenis Cespedes and finished in 5th place. Miguel Cabrera and JD Martinez were Detroit’s batting stars. The team’s pitching fell far short of expectations.

October 4, 2015: Miguel Cabrera finished the year with a .338 average to win his dourth batting title. He also had the best on-base percentage in the AL.

May 16, 2015: Miguel Cabrera became the 53rd player in history to reach 400 home runs.

April 5, 2015: No pitcher wants to face the Tigers with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespides in the heart of the order. If Just Verlander and David Price continue pitching well, the Tigers will be tough to beat in 2015.

2014 Season

October 30, 2014: The Tigers won the AL Central after a season-long struggle with the Indians and Royals. Miguel Cabrera moved from third to first after the departure of Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez made up for the loss of power with a combined 55 home runs. Max Scherzer had another fine year to lead Detroit’s pitchers, but they could not get past the Orioles in the opening round of the playoffs, 3 games to 0.

September 28, 2014: David Price fanned 8 Twins to finish the year as the AL leader, with 271 strikeouts. Price also led the league in innings pitched.

March 31, 2014: Prince Fielder is now on the Rangers, but thanks to Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers have enough hitting to win the AL Central again. That’s because of their great pitching staff, which includes Cy Young Award winners Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Detroit may hit fewer homers in 2014, but they can make up for that by stealing more bases.

2013 Season

November 14, 2013: Miguel Cabrera was named AL Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. “Miggy” had the highest batting average (.348) in the league for the third season in a row, and a career-best .636 slugging average.

November 13, 2013: Max Scherzer was named the AL Cy Young Award winner for 2013. He was the only player in the majors to win 20 games. Scherzer received 28 of 30 first-place votes for the award.

October 19, 2013: The 2013 Tigers finished in first place for the third year in a row, doing something no Detroit club had done in more than 100 years. They won the AL Central with record-setting pitching, striking out 1,428 batters. Max Scherzer led the pitching staff with 21 victories and 240 strikeouts. Miguel Cabrera led the team in hits, runs, homers, RBIs and batting average. However, the Tigers did not have enough to get past the red-hot Red Sox in the ALCS.

September 29, 2013: Miguel Cabrera won his third AL Batting title in a row. The last Tiger to win three consecutive batting championships was Ty Cobb, from 1917 to 1919.

August 6, 2013: Miguel Cabrera became the sixth player to drive in 100 runs 10 seasons in a row.

July 11, 2013: Miguel Cabrera became the first player in history to have 30 homers and 90 RBIs by the All-Star Break.

April 26, 2013: Anibal Sanchez struck out 17 Braves to break the team record of 16 held by Mickey Lolich.

March 30, 2013: The Tigers look like the best team in the league in 2013, with Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera powering the offense and Justin Verlander leading a group of hard-throwing pitchers.

2012 Season

October 28, 2012: The Tigers had an excellent season, winning the AL Central with a record of 88­74. It marked the first time since the 1930s that the team finished in first place two years in a row. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Jose Valverde led the pitching staff, while outfielder Austin Jackson was the star of a solid defense. The big news in Detroit, however, was Miguel Cabrera¹s Triple Crown. He teamed with newcomer Prince Fielder to give the Tigers an awesome one-two punch. The Tigers defeated the Oakland A¹s and the New York Yankees in the playoffs, but fell short of a championship. They lost the World Series to the San Francisco Giants 4 games to 0.

October 3, 2012: Miguel Cabrera finished the year as the AL leader in homer runs (44), RBIs (139), and batting average (.330) to win the Triple Crown. The last player to win the Triple Crown was Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox, in 1967, 45 years ago! Only one other Tiger has won the Triple Crown—Ty Cobb, way back in 1909!

September 27, 2012: Doug Fister set a new American League record when he struck out nine batters in a row in a game against the Kansas City Royals. The old record of eight was shared by four players, including superstars Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.

April, 2012: The BIG news in Detroit for 2012 is the arrival of Prince Fielder. He will team with Miguel Cabrera to give the Tigers an awesome 1-2 punch. If Fielder plays first base, then Cabrera may move back to his old position at third base. Either slugger could also serve as the team’s designated hitter.

More Go-To Guys

Mini-pennants like this one of Bobby Veach came in cigar boxes almost 100 years ago. (Author’s Collection)

My father and uncle used to groan when they talked about Frank Lary. They were big fans of the New York Yankees. (Topps, Inc.)

The way Willie Horton stood at the plate made me think of a stick of dynamite. His bat “exploded” through the hitting zone. (Detroit Tigers)

Cecil Fielder was another guy who really unloaded on a fastball. I was at the game where he hit his 50th and 51st homers in 1990, and he had amazing power. (Black Book Partners/John Klein)

  • George Mullin — Pitcher
    Born: 7/4/1980
    Died: 1/7/1944
    Played for Team: 1902 to 1913
    When burly George Mullin took the mound for the Tigers, enemy hitters knew they could not dig in to the batter’s box. Mullin had one of the league’s best fastballs, but he was never entirely sure where it would go. At the end of the game, however, he usually came out on top. Mullin won 17 or more games nine years in a row.

  • Sam Crawford — Outfielder
    Born: 4/18/1880
    Died: 6/15/1968
    Played for Team: 1903 to 1917
    Sam Crawford hit the baseball farther than anyone else in the early 1900s. In the big ballparks of that time, those hits were often triples instead of home runs. Crawford had 309 triples in his career—still the all-time record after almost a century.

  • Bobby Veach — Outfielder
    Born: 6/29/1888
    Died: 8/7/1945
    Played for Team: 1912 to 1923
    No one in the AL was better at driving in runs than Bobby Veach during the years he played left field for the Tigers. Teams never knew where to play him. Veach could hit for power, but he was also a great bunter.

  • Frank Lary — Pitcher
    Born: 4/10/1930
    Played for Team: 1954 to 1964
    Frank Lary liked to finish what he started. He led the AL in complete games three times and had two 20-win seasons for Detroit. Lary was known as a “Yankee Killer”—he went 27–10 against New York from 1955 to 1961. During that span he had the most wins, innings pitched, and complete games among AL pitchers.

  • Jim Bunning — Pitcher
    Born: 10/23/1931
    Played for Team: 1955 to 1963
    Jim Bunning whipped the ball across the plate with a motion that confused many hitters. He had a good fastball and curve. Bunning hurled a no-hitter for the Tigers in 1958 and led the league in strikeouts twice. He was the only pitcher ever to strike out Hall of Famer Ted Williams three times in a game.

  • Bill Freehan — Catcher
    Born: 11/29/1941
    Played for Team: 1961 to 1976
    During the 1960s, no catcher in the AL was more valuable than Bill Freehan. He was a good power hitter and excellent handler of pitchers. Freehan was an All-Star every year he was the Tigers’ everyday catcher—from 1964 to 1973, and again in 1975.

  • Willie Horton — Outfielder/Designated Hitter
    Born: 10/18/1942
    Played for Team: 1963 to 1977
    Willie Horton was one of the most feared power hitters in the league during the 1960s. Even when pitchers fooled him, he was strong enough to hit the ball over the fence with a one-handed swing. Horton was not known as a good outfielder, but in the 1968 World Series he threw Lou Brock out at home plate on a play that turned the series around for Detroit.

  • Mickey Lolich — Pitcher
    Born: 9/12/1940
    Played for Team: 1963 to 1975
    Most sinkerball pitchers use their main pitch to get batters to hit ground balls. Mickey Lolich’s sinker was so good that hitters missed it completely. In 1971, he struck out more than 300 batters. The total of 2,679 strikeouts he amassed as a Tiger is the most ever by an American League lefty.

  • Cecil Fielder — First Baseman
    Born: 9/21/1963
    Played for Team: 1990 to 1996
    Cecil Fielder was the star of the Tigers in the early 1990s. He led the AL in home runs with 51 in 1990 and 44 in 1991. In 1992, Fielder tied the league record—first set by Ty Cobb—when he led the AL in RBIs for the third year in a row.

  • Alex Avila — Catcher
    Born: 1/29/1987
    Played for Team: 2009 to 2017
    One of the biggest surprises in baseball during 2011 was the fine play of Alex Avila. He was named the starting catcher in the All-Star Game and won the Silver Slugger Award as the AL’s best-hitting catcher.

  • Miguel Cabrera — First baseman
    Born: 4/18/1983
    First Season with Team: 2008
    Miguel Cabrera won four batting championships, two MVP awards and a Triple Corwn with the Tigers between 2011 and 2015. He provided important leadership for the club’s younger players as Detroit rebuilt its team in the years that followed.

More Fun Facts

Mickey Lolich owned a doughnut shop when he was a player. I’ll bet he ate a lot of his profits. (Author’s Collection)

    In 1952, 35-year-old Virgil Trucks was coming to the end of his career with the Tigers. He went 5–12 that season, but two of those wins were no-hitters. This was nothing new for Trucks. As a 21-year-old in 1938, he struck out more than 400 batters and threw four no-hitters in the Class-D Alabama-Florida League.

    Willie Horton was no stranger to a crowded clubhouse. Growing up in Virginia, he was one of 21 children!

    Many pitchers have started three games in the same World Series and a few have even won three. In 1968, Mickey Lolich started, completed, and won three games against the St. Louis Cardinals. No left-hander has done that before or since.

    Harry Heilmann was known as a great hitter for the Tigers in the 1920s, but few fans realized he was also a basketball pioneer. Heilmann owned the Brooklyn Arcadians, one of the best pro teams of the era.

    In 1959, a sportswriter asked Ty Cobb how he would do against the pitchers of that time. Cobb thought for a moment and estimated he would only bat .300. “Of course,” he added with a grin, “you have to remember—I’m seventy-three!”

    In 1984, Sparky Anderson became the first manager to win championships in both the AL and NL. Nine years earlier he had managed the Cincinnati Reds to victory in the World Series.

League Leaders

One of Rudy York’s great-grandparents was a full-blooded Cherokee. He was an awesome hitter but not a very good fielder. The old joke about York was that he was “part-Indian and part-first baseman.” (Goudey Gum Co.)

Miguel Cabrera swapped his Detroit uniform for the jersey of his home country, Venezuela, during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. (Black Book Partners)

Ray Boone is Bob Boone’s father and the grandfather of Aaron Boone and Bret Boone. None of this explains why he appears to be wearing lipstick in this photo. (Author’s Collection)

This Exhibit card of Ty Cobb cost a penny when it came out in 1921. Now it is worth a couple of hundred dollars. If I had a time machine I’d go back to 1921 with a lot of pennies! (Exhibit Supply Co.)

This 1945 guide book shows teammates Hal Newhouser and Dizzy Trout. Both led the AL in wins in the 1940s. (Baseball Magazine)

Jim Bunning was consistent. He led the AL with 201 strikeouts in 1959 and with the same total the following year. In 1958, the year this card came out, he finished second. In 1957, he finished second, too. He also finished second in 1962 and 1963. (Topps, Inc.)

  • Home Runs
    1908 — Sam Crawford — 7
    1909 — Ty Cobb — 9
    1935 — Hank Greenberg — 36
    1938 — Hank Greenberg — 58
    1940 — Hank Greenberg — 41
    1943 — Rudy York — 34
    1946 — Hank Greenberg — 44
    1985 — Darrell Evans — 40
    1990 — Cecil Fielder — 51
    1991 — Cecil Fielder — 44
    2008 — Miguel Cabrera — 37
    2012 — Miguel Cabrera — 44

  • Batting Average
    1907 — Ty Cobb — .350
    1908 — Ty Cobb — .324
    1909 — Ty Cobb — .377
    1911 — Ty Cobb — .420
    1912 — Ty Cobb — .409
    1913 — Ty Cobb — .390
    1914 — Ty Cobb — .368
    1915 — Ty Cobb — .369
    1917 — Ty Cobb — .383
    1918 — Ty Cobb — .382
    1919 — Ty Cobb — .384
    1921 — Harry Heilmann — .394
    1923 — Harry Heilmann — .403
    1925 — Harry Heilmann — .393
    1926 — Heinie Manush — .378
    1927 — Harry Heilmann — .398
    1937 — Charlie Gehringer — .371
    1949 — George Kell — .343
    1955 — Al Kaline — .340
    1959 — Harvey Kuenn — .353
    1961 — Norm Cash — .361
    2007 — Magglio Ordonez — .363
    2011 — Miguel Cabrera — .344
    2012 — Miguel Cabrera — .330
    2013 — Miguel Cabrera — .348
    2015 — Miguel Cabrera —.338

  • Runs Batted In
    1907 — Ty Cobb — 119
    1908 — Ty Cobb — 108
    1909 — Ty Cobb — 107
    1910 — Sam Crawford — 120
    1911 — Ty Cobb — 127
    1914 — Sam Crawford — 104
    1915 — Sam Crawford & Bobby Veach — 103
    1917 — Bobby Veach — 103
    1918 — Bobby Veach — 78
    1935 — Hank Greenberg — 170
    1937 — Hank Greenberg — 183
    1940 — Hank Greenberg — 150
    1943 — Rudy York — 118
    1946 — Hank Greenberg — 127
    1955 — Ray Boone — 116
    1990 — Cecil Fielder — 132
    1991 — Cecil Fielder — 133
    1992 — Cecil Fielder — 124
    2010 — Miguel Cabrera — 126
    2012 — Miguel Cabrera — 139

  • Stolen Bases
    1907 — Ty Cobb — 53
    1909 — Ty Cobb — 83
    1915 — Ty Cobb — 96
    1916 — Ty Cobb — 68
    1917 — Ty Cobb — 55
    1929 — Charlie Gehringer — 27
    1930 — Marty McManus — 23
    1978 — Ron LeFlore — 68
    1997 — Brian Hunter — 74
    1999 — Brian Hunter — 44*

    * Also played with Seattle Mariners

  • Wins
    1909 — George Mullin — 29
    1936 — Tommy Bridges — 23
    1943 — Dizzy Trout — 20
    1944 — Hal Newhouser — 29
    1945 — Hal Newhouser — 25
    1946 — Hal Newhouser — 26
    1948 — Hal Newhouser — 21
    1956 — Frank Lary — 21
    1957 — Jim Bunning — 20
    1967 — Earl Wilson — 22
    1968 — Denny McLain — 31
    1969 — Denny McLain — 24
    1971 — Mickey Lolich — 25
    1981 — Jack Morris — 14*
    1991 — Bill Gullickson — 20
    2009 — Justin Verlander — 19
    2011 — Justin Verlander — 24
    2013 — Max Scherzer — 21
    2014 — Max Scherzer — 18**

    * The 1981 season was shortened by a labor dispute.
    ** Tied with two players

  • Strikeouts
    1935 — Tommy Bridges — 163
    1936 — Tommy Bridges — 175
    1944 — Hal Newhouser — 187
    1945 — Hal Newhouser — 212
    1949 — Virgil Trucks — 153
    1959 — Jim Bunning — 201
    1960 — Jim Bunning — 201
    1971 — Mickey Lolich — 308
    1983 — Jack Morris — 232
    2009 — Justin Verlander — 269
    2011 — Justin Verlander — 250
    2012 — Justin Verlander —  239
    2014 — David Price — 271*
    2016 — Justin Verlander — 254

    * Also played with Tampa Bay Rays

  • Earned Run Average
    1902 — Ed Siever — 1.91
    1944 — Dizzy Trout — 2.12
    1945 — Hal Newhouser — 1.81
    1946 — Hal Newhouser — 1.94
    1962 — Hank Aguirre — 2.21
    1976 — Mark Fidrych — 2.34
    2011 — Justin Verlander — 2.40
    2013 — Anibal Sanchez — 2.57
    2015 — David Price — 2.45*

    *Also played for Blue Jays

Playing for the Championship

This ticket stub is from the 1945 World Series between the Tigers and Chicago Cubs. The Tigers won Game 2 by a score of 4–1. Virgil Trucks got the victory, and Hank Greenberg slugged the game-winning three-run homer. (Author’s Collection)

1907 Chicago Cubs Lost 4–0
1908 Chicago Cubs Lost 4–1
1909 Pittsburgh Pirates Lost 4–3
1934 St. Louis Cardinals Lost 4–3
1935 Chicago Cubs Won 4–2
1940 Cincinnati Reds Lost 4–3
1945 Chicago Cubs Won 4–3
1968 St. Louis Cardinals Won 4–3
1984 San Diego Padres Won 4–1
2006 St. Louis Cardinals Lost 4–1

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