Detroit Tigers

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Posted by pompos 04/22/2009 @ 16:15

Tags : detroit tigers, mlb, baseball, sports

News headlines
Ramon Santiago sparks Tigers' comeback win over A's -
DETROIT -- Ramon Santiago, driving in runs at a totally unexpected pace, turned around a game that appeared headed to defeat here this afternoon. Santiago hit a three-run home run and a run-scoring triple to spark the Detroit Tigers' 11-7 win and...
Rincon becomes free agent -
The 30-year-old Juan Rincon posted a 5.23 ERA in 10 appearances with the Tigers this season. (Dave Sandford/Getty Images) By Jason Beck / DETROIT -- The Tigers announced Monday that reliever Juan Rincon had become a free agent after declining...
Porcello, Raburn pace Tigers past A's -
By Jason Beck / DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland continues to say he's sticking to the plan on Rick Porcello, no matter how well the 20-year-old progresses. The progress in his last three outings is going pretty well ahead of the plan....
Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman effective in rehab start - USA Today
(AP) — Detroit Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman gave up two runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings, over seven innings in his first rehab start. Bonderman also had four strikeouts in Single-A West Michigan's 13-6 victory over Great Lakes on...
Tigers' Magglio Ordonez to miss games next week -
by Steve Kornacki DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez will not be with the Detroit Tigers for games Tuesday and Wednesday with the Texas Rangers for what Tigers manager Jim Leyland termed "a personal issue" here today....
Flint Township woman gets surprise by throwing out first pitch at ... - The Flint Journal -
Goss, a breast cancer survivor, was chosen as the Tigers' honorary bat girl for Major League Baseball's "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer." DETROIT, Michigan -- When the Detroit Tigers went to bat against breast cancer Sunday, Stacy Goss of Flint...
Ramon, the One-Man Rally: Tigers 11, Athletics 7 - Bless You Boys
Surely powered by those slick shades, he batted 4-for-4 today with a triple, home run, and four RBIs this afternoon, leading the Detroit Tigers to a comeback 11-7 win over the Oakland Athletics. After what Tigers fans went through last season with...
Triple Twin-Killing - New York Daily News
A better parallel might be 1988, when the Yankees got three walkoff wins in four days against the Detroit Tigers. Only one other time in the last half-century have the Yanks had three wins in their final home at-bat in a single series, and that was all...

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers logo.svg

The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team based in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in 1894.

The Tigers constructed Bennett Park at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Avenue and began playing there in 1896.

In 1912, the team moved into Navin Field, which was built on the same location. In 1938, a substantially-improved facility, Briggs Stadium, was built, and it was renamed Tiger Stadium, in 1961. The Tigers last won the World Series in 1984. From 2000 to the present, the Tigers have played in Comerica Park.

The club is a charter member of the American League, one of four clubs (with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians) still located in its founding city. Detroit is also the only member of the Western League, the AL's minor league predecessor, that remains in its original city. It was established as a charter member in 1894.

Detroit's first major league entry was the Detroit Wolverines, a member of the National League from 1881 through 1888. The nickname, now associated with the University of Michigan, came from Michigan's nickname, "The Wolverine State".

The Wolverines' best year was 1887. They won the National League pennant and an exhibition World Series, defeating the American Association champion St. Louis Browns, 10 games to 5. All fifteen scheduled games of the series were played, as the clubs toured ten different cities.

The leading players were Hardy Richardson, Jack Rowe, Deacon White, pitcher Charlie Getzein and Hall of Famers "Big Sam" Thompson and Dan Brouthers. Thompson won the 1887 NL batting championship, making him the only NL batting winner from the traditionally AL city.

Despite the championship, the team did not draw enough fans to stay solvent at the major league level, as Detroit was at the time one of the smallest cities in the National League and its rapid industry-fueled growth was still several years in the future. Hall of Fame manager Ned Hanlon played all eight seasons in center field but there was high turnover otherwise. After the 1888 season, the team disbanded and the city was relegated to minor league status. One new club formed and joined the International League in 1889, and promptly won the league championship. Their fans' joy came to an abrupt end when the league temporarily disbanded in mid-1890 and took the team with it. An attempt was made to revive the old Northwestern League in 1891, but it also collapsed in mid-season, and Detroit professional baseball took a short hiatus.

When the Western renamed itself the American League for 1900, it was still a minor league, but next year it broke with the National Agreement and declared itself major, openly competing with the National League for players, and for fans in three contested cities. For a few years there were rumors of abandoning Detroit to compete for Cincinnati or Pittsburgh but the two leagues made peace in 1903 after similar moves into St. Louis and New York.

The Tigers played their first game as a major league team at home against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 25, 1901, with 10,000 fans at Bennett Park. (Richard Bak, A Place for Summer: A Narrative History of Tiger Stadium, 1998, pp.73-74) After entering the ninth inning behind 13-4, the team staged a dramatic comeback to win 14-13. That team finished third in the eight-team league.

Detroit's blue laws prevented baseball from being played at Bennett Park on Sundays. Owner James D. Burns built a ballpark on his own property named Burns Park where the Tigers played their Sunday home games for the 1901 and 1902 seasons.

Eleven years later, an elegant stadium was constructed on the site of Bennett Park and named Navin Field for owner Frank Navin. In 1938 it was improved and named Briggs Stadium and renamed "Tiger Stadium" in 1961. Tiger Stadium was used by the Tigers until the end of the 1999 season; from 2000 they have played in Comerica Park.

There are various legends about how the Tigers got their nickname. One involves the orange stripes they wore on their black stockings. Tigers manager George Stallings took credit for the name; however, the name appeared in newspapers before Stallings was manager. Another legend concerns a sportswriter equating the 1901 team's opening day victory with the ferocity of his alma mater, the Princeton Tigers.

Richard Bak, in his 1998 book, A Place for Summer: A Narrative History of Tiger Stadium, pp.46-49, explains that the name originated from the Detroit Light Guard military unit, who were known as "The Tigers". They had played significant roles in certain Civil War battles and in the 1898 Spanish-American War. The baseball team was still informally called both "Wolverines" and "Tigers" in the news. The earliest known use of the name "Tigers" in the media was in the Detroit Free Press on April 16, 1895. Upon entry into the majors the ballclub sought and received formal permission from the Light Guard to use its trademark and from that day forth it is officially the Tigers.

In 1905, the team acquired Ty Cobb, a fearless player with a mean streak, who came to be regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. The addition of Cobb to an already talented team that included Sam Crawford, Hughie Jennings, Bill Donovan and George Mullin quickly yielded results, as the Tigers won their first American League pennant in 1907.

Cobb and the Tigers lost in the 1907 Fall Classic against the Chicago Cubs. With the exception of Game 1, which ended in a rare tie, the Tigers failed to score more than one run in any game and lost four straight. The Cubs would deny Detroit the title again in '08, holding Detroit to a .209 batting average for the series, which the Cubs again won in five games. It was hoped that a new opponent in the 1909 Series, Pittsburgh, would yield different results, but the Tigers were blown out 8-0 in the decisive seventh game at Bennett Park.

In 1915, the Tigers won a then-club record 100 games but narrowly lost the American League pennant to the Boston Red Sox who won 101 games. The 1915 Tigers were led by an outfield consisting of Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, and Bobby Veach that finished #1, #2, and #3 in RBIs and total bases. Cobb also set a stolen base record with 96 steals in 1915 that stood until 1962. Baseball historian Bill James has ranked the 1915 Tigers outfield as the greatest in the history of major league baseball. The only team in Tigers' history with a better winning percentage than the 1915 squad was the 1934 team that lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the teens and twenties, Cobb remained the marquee player on many Tigers teams that would remain mired in the middle of the American League. Cobb himself took over managerial duties in 1921, but during six years at the helm, his Tigers never had a record better than 86–68.

In 1921, the Tigers amassed 1724 hits and a team batting average of .316 -- the highest team hit total and batting average in American League history. (The Elias Book of Baseball Records, 2008, p.88) That year, outfielders Harry Heilmann and Ty Cobb finished #1 and #2 in the American League batting race with batting averages of .394 and .389. As early proof of the baseball adage that good pitching beats good hitting, the downfall of the 1921 Tigers was the absence of good pitching. The team ERA was 4.40, and they allowed nine or more runs 28 times. Without pitching to support the offense, the 1921 Tigers finished in sixth place in the American League, 27 games behind the Yankees with a record of 71-82.

The Tiger teams of the 1930s were consistently among the league's best with "Black Mike" Mickey Cochrane behind the plate, slugger Hank Greenberg at first, and consistent Charlie Gehringer, "The Mechanical Man", at second.

They would lose again in the 1934 World Series in seven games to the Gashouse Gang St. Louis Cardinals. Again, when the chips were down in the deciding game, Detroit folded, giving up seven third-inning runs and losing Game Seven 11–0 at Navin Field (Tiger Stadium). The game was marred by an ugly incident. After spiking Tiger third baseman Marv Owen in the sixth inning, the Cardinals' Joe "Ducky" Medwick had to be removed from the game for his own safety by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis after being pelted with fruit and garbage from angry fans in the large temporary bleacher section in left field.

The Tigers eventually won the World Series the following year, defeating the Cubs 4 games to 2 to win the 1935 World Series, which concluded with Goose Goslin's dramatic game-ending single, scoring Cochrane to seal the victory. See 1935 Detroit Tigers season.

The Tigers returned to the middle of the American League in the late 30s except in 1940 when they again won the pennant but lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

With the end of World War II and the timely return of Hank Greenberg and others from the military, the Tigers took the 1945 American League pennant. With Virgil Trucks, Hal Newhouser and Dizzy Trout on the mound and Greenberg leading the Tiger bats, Detroit responded in a Game 7 for the first time, staking Newhouser to a 5–0 lead before he threw a pitch en route to a 9–3 victory over the Cubs. Because many baseball stars had not yet returned from the military, some baseball scholars have deemed the '45 Series to be among the worst-played contests in Series history. For example, prior to the Series, Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown was asked who he liked, and he answered, "I don't think either one of them can win it!" (The Chicago Cubs, by Warren Brown, 1946) But the Cubs had no answer to Greenberg, and the Series went Detroit's way.

After their 1945 Series win, the Tigers sank back to the middle of the pack in the American League for most of the 1950s. Notwithstanding Detroit's fall in the standings, the decade saw the debut of outfielder Al Kaline. He would hit over .300 eight times in his career, and featured one of the league's best arms in right field. But the Tigers suffered on the field because they were the 15th of the then-16 MLB teams to field an African-American player – in the Tigers' case, an Afro-Caribbean player, Ozzie Virgil, Sr., who integrated the Tigers in 1958. Only the Boston Red Sox trailed the Tigers in integrating their roster.

However, Detroit began its slow ascent back to success with an outstanding 1961 campaign, which saw them win 101 games. They still finished eight games behind the Yankees, one of the few times a team had failed to reach the postseason despite winning over 100 games. First baseman Norm Cash had the best batting average in the American League, a remarkably high .361. He never hit over .286 before or after the '61 season. The 1961 club featured two nonwhite starters, Jake Wood and Bill Bruton, and later in the 1960s, black players such as Willie Horton, Earl Wilson, and Gates Brown would contribute to Detroit's rise in the standings. Pitchers Mickey Lolich and Denny McLain also entered the rotation during the middle of the decade.

As this winning nucleus developed, Detroit repeatedly posted winning records throughout the 1960s. The team even managed a third-place finish during a bizarre 1966 season, in which manager Chuck Dressen and acting manager Bob Swift were both forced to resign their posts because of health problems. Both men died during the year – Dressen in August because of a kidney infection, Swift in October due to cancer. Thereafter, Frank Skaff took over the managerial reins until the end of the season. Skaff was replaced by Mayo Smith in 1967, perhaps the last step before World Series contention. Indeed, in 1967 the Tigers were involved in one of the closest pennant races in history. They needed to sweep a doubleheader from the California Angels on the last day of the season to force a one-game playoff with the Boston Red Sox. They won the first game but lost the second, giving the Red Sox the flag with no playoff. Detroit finished the season at 91-71, a single game behind Boston.

The Tigers again reached the World Series in 1968. The team grabbed first place away from the Baltimore Orioles on May 10 and would not relinquish the position, clinching the pennant on September 17 and finishing with a 103-59 record. In a year that was marked by dominant pitching, starter Denny McLain went 31-6, the first time a pitcher had won 30 or more games in a season since the St. Louis Cardinals' Dizzy Dean accomplished the feat in 1934; no pitcher has accomplished it since. McLain was unanimously voted American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner for his efforts.

In the 1968 World Series, the Tigers met the defending World champion St. Louis Cardinals, led by starter Bob Gibson (who had posted a record 1.12 ERA during the regular season) and speedy outfielder Lou Brock. In Game 1, Gibson completely shut down the Detroit lineup, striking out 17 batters, still a World Series record. However, due in no small part to pitcher Mickey Lolich's victories in Games 2 and 5, the Tigers climbed back into the Series and forced a seventh game. Many fans believe the turning point in the Series came in Game 5, when Willie Horton threw out Lou Brock from left field, and catcher Bill Freehan blocked the plate. The Tigers, who had been behind, came back to win that game. In Game 7 at Busch Memorial Stadium, Lolich faced Gibson on just two days' rest, and both men pitched brilliantly, putting zeros up on the scoreboard for much of the game. However, in the top of the seventh, an exhausted Gibson finally cracked, giving up singles to Norm Cash and Willie Horton. Jim Northrup then struck the decisive blow, lashing a triple to center field that scored both Cash and Horton; Northrup himself was then brought home by a Bill Freehan double. Detroit added an insurance run in the ninth, and a home run by Mike Shannon was all the Cardinals could muster against Lolich as the Tigers took the game, 4–1, and the Series, 4–3. For his three victories that propelled the Tigers to the World championship, Lolich was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.

1969 saw both leagues realign into two divisions, and the Tigers were placed in the American League East. That year, Detroit failed to defend its '68 title, finishing second in the division to a very strong Baltimore team which had won 109 games. Smith was let go after the 1970 season, to be replaced by Billy Martin. After another second-place finish in 1971, the Tigers captured their first AL East title in 1972. Oddities of the schedule due to an early-season strike allowed the Tigers to win the division by just ½ game, just as they had in 1908.

In the 1972 American League Championship Series, Detroit faced the American League West division champion Oakland Athletics, who had become steadily competitive ever since the 1969 realignment. In Game 1 of the ALCS in Oakland, Lolich, the hero of '68, took the hill and went nine innings. Al Kaline hit a solo homer to break a 1-1 tie in the 11th inning, only to be charged with an error on Gonzalo Marquez's game-tying single that allowed Gene Tenace to score the winning run. Blue Moon Odom shut down Detroit 5-0 in Game 2. As the series returned to Detroit, the Tigers caught their stride. Joe Coleman held the A's scoreless on seven hits in Game 3, a 3–0 Tiger victory. In Game 4, Oakland scored two runs in the top of the 10th and put the Tigers down to their last three outs. Detroit pushed two runs across the plate to tie the game before Jim Northrup came through in the clutch again. His single off Dave Hamilton scored Gates Brown and evened the series at 2 games apiece. A first-inning run on a Gene Tenace passed ball gave Detroit an early lead in the deciding fifth and final game in Detroit but Reggie Jackson's steal of home in the 2nd tied it up. A Gene Tenace single to left field gave Oakland a 2–1 lead in the fourth inning, and thanks to four innings of scoreless relief from Vida Blue they took it all the way to the World Series.

Martin did not survive the 1973 season as manager and the Tigers spent much of the next decade in the middle or lower ranks of the AL East. In 1974, Ralph Houk, who managed the dominant Yankee teams of the early 1960s, was named manager of the Tigers. "The Major" served in that capacity for five full seasons, through the end of the 1978 season. The roster of players who played under Houk were mostly aging veterans from the 1960s, whose performance had slipped from their peak years. Perhaps the biggest signal of decline for the Tigers was the retirement of Kaline following the 1974 season, after he notched his 3000th career hit. Kaline finished with 3007 hits and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980.

Tiger fans were provided a glimmer of hope when rookie Mark Fidrych made his debut in 1976. Fidrych, known as "the Bird", was a colorful character known for talking to the baseball and other eccentricities. During a game against the Yankees, Graig Nettles responded to Fidrych's antics by talking to his bat. After making an out, he later lamented that his Japanese-made bat didn't understand him. Fidrych was the starting pitcher for the American League in the All Star Game played that year in Philadelphia to celebrate the American Bicentennial. He finished the season with a record of 19-9 and an American League-leading ERA of 2.34. Fidrych was the lone bright spot that year, with those Tigers finishing next to last in the AL East in 1976.

The first major news of the 1984 season actually came in late 1983, when broadcasting magnate John Fetzer, who had owned the club since 1957, sold the team to Domino's Pizza founder and CEO Tom Monaghan. (Richard Bak, A Place for Summer, 1998, p.332) The sale of the franchise caught everyone by surprise, as the negotiations culminating in the sale of the franchise were conducted in total secrecy. There were no rumors or even speculation that Fetzer had put the franchise up for sale.

The 1984 team started out at a record 35-5 pace (including Jack Morris throwing a no-hitter early in the season against Chicago en route to the Tigers' 9-0 start) and cruised to a franchise-record 104 victories. They featured the great double play combination of shortstop Alan Trammell and second baseman Lou Whitaker; the duo would play together a record 19 seasons. The team also included Darrell Evans, Dave Bergman, Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, Tom Brookens, Larry Herndon, Morris, Dan Petry, Dave Rozema, Johnny Grubb, Aurelio Lopez ("Señor Smoke") and relief ace Willie Hernandez, who won the 1984 American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player just one year after pitching on the Philadelphia Phillies' National League championship club.

In the NLCS, a San Diego rally from 2-0 down prevented a fifth Cubs-Tigers series and meant the Tigers would open the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres in Trammell's home town (had the Cubs won the NLCS, Detroit would have been awarded home-field advantage in the World Series, as NBC insisted on all midweek games starting at night, something that would have been impossible at the time at Wrigley Field).

In Game 1, Larry Herndon hit a two-run home run that gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Morris pitched a complete game with 2 runs on 8 hits, and Detroit took first blood. The Padres evened the series the next night despite pitcher Ed Whitson being chased after two-thirds of an inning after giving up three runs on five Tiger hits. Tiger starter Dan Petry exited the game after four and one-third innings when Kurt Bevacqua's three-run homer gave San Diego a 5-3 lead they would hold onto.

When the series returned to the Motor City, the Tigers took charge. In Game 3, a two-out rally in the second inning led to four runs and the yanking of Padre starter Tim Lollar after one and two-thirds innings. The Padres, plagued by poor starting pitching throughout the series, never recovered and lost 5-2. Eric Show continued the parade of bad outings in Game 4, getting bounced after two and two-thirds innings after giving up home runs to Series MVP Trammell in his first two at-bats. Trammell's homers held up with the help of another Morris complete game, and the Tigers held a commanding lead.

In Game 5, Gibson's two-run shot in the first inning would be the beginning of another early end for the Padres' starter Mark Thurmond. Though the Padres would pull back even, chasing Dan Petry in the fourth inning in the process, the Tigers retook the lead on a Rusty Kuntz sacrifice fly, and doubled it on a solo homer by Parrish.

A "Sounds of the Game" video was made during the Series by MLB Productions and played on TV a number of times since then. When Kirk Gibson came to bat in the eighth inning, in a situation that might call for San Diego reliever Goose Gossage to pitch around him, Anderson was seen and heard yelling to Gibson, "He don't want to walk you!" and making a swing-the-bat gesture. As Anderson had suspected, Gossage threw a fastball inside, and Gibson was ready. He "swung from the heels", and launched it into Tiger Stadium's right field upper deck, effectively clinching the series.

Tony Gwynn flied out to Larry Herndon to end the game and send Detroit into a wild victory celebration.

The team led its division wire-to-wire, from opening day and every day thereafter, culminating in the World Series championship. This had not been done since the 1927 New York Yankees.

After a pair of third-place finishes in 1985 and 1986, the 1987 Tigers faced lowered expectations - which seemed to be confirmed by an 11–19 start to the season. The team hit its stride thereafter and gradually gained ground on its AL East rivals. This charge was fueled in part by the acquisition of pitcher Doyle Alexander from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league pitcher John Smoltz. Alexander started 11 games for the Tigers, posting 9 wins without a loss and a 1.53 ERA. Smoltz, a Lansing, Michigan native, went on to have a long and still productive career with the Braves, winning the Cy Young Award in 1996.

Despite their improvement, they entered September neck-and-neck with the Toronto Blue Jays. The two teams would square off in seven hard-fought games during the final two weeks of the season. All seven games were decided by one run, and in the first six of the seven games, the winning run was scored in the final inning of play. At Exhibition Stadium, the Tigers dropped three in a row to the Blue Jays before winning a dramatic extra-inning showdown.

The Tigers entered the final week of the 1987 season 3.5 games behind. After a series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Tigers returned home trailing by a game and swept the Blue Jays. Detroit clinched the division in a 1-0 victory over Toronto in front of 51,005 fans at Tiger Stadium on Sunday afternoon, October 4. Frank Tanana went all nine innings for the complete game shutout, and outfielder Larry Herndon gave the Tigers their lone run on a second-inning home run. Detroit finished the season a Major League-best 98-64, two games ahead of Toronto.

In what would prove to be their last postseason appearance until 2006, the Tigers lost the 1987 American League Championship Series to the Minnesota Twins (who in turn won the World Series that year) four games to one. The Twins won the Series at Tiger Stadium 9-5.

Despite their 1987 division title victory, the Tigers proved unable to build on their success. In 1988, the team spent much of the season in first place in the AL East, only to slump late in the season and finish second at 88-74, one game behind division-winning Boston. In 1989 the team collapsed to a 59-103 record, worst in the majors. The franchise then attempted to rebuild using a power-hitting approach, with sluggers Cecil Fielder, Rob Deer and Mickey Tettleton joining Trammell and Whitaker in the lineup (fitting for the team with the most 200+ home run seasons in baseball history). In 1990, Fielder led the American League with 51 home runs (becoming the first player to hit 50 since George Foster in 1977), and finished second in the voting for AL Most Valuable Player. He hit 44 home runs in 1991, and would hit at least 28 in the next four seasons. Behind the hitting of Fielder and others, the Tigers improved, posting winning records in 1991 (84-78) and 1993 (85-77). However, the team lacked quality pitching (despite Bill Gullickson's 20 wins in 1991), and its core of key players began to age, setting the franchise up for decline. Their minor league system was largely barren of talent, as well, producing only a few everyday players (Travis Fryman, Bobby Higginson) during the 1990s. In 1992, the franchise was sold to Mike Ilitch, who also owns the Detroit Red Wings and is President and CEO of Little Caesars Pizza.

From 1994 to 2005, the Tigers did not post a winning record. This was by far the longest sub-.500 stretch in franchise history; prior to this, the team had not gone more than four consecutive seasons without a winning record. The team's best record over that time was 79-83, recorded in 1997 and 2000. In 1996, the Tigers lost a then-team record 109 games. In 2003, the Tigers shattered that mark, losing an American League-record 119 games, eclipsing the previous record of 116 losses set by the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics. On August 30, 2003, the Tigers' defeat at the hands of the Chicago White Sox caused them to join the 1962 New York Mets as the only modern MLB teams to lose 100 games before September. They avoided tying the 1962 Mets' modern MLB record for losses (120) only by winning five of their last six games of the season, including three out of four against the Minnesota Twins (who had already clinched the Central Division, into which the Tigers had moved in 1998, and were resting their stars).

The collapse of the franchise was blamed by many on then-general manager Randy Smith. Under Smith, the franchise's minor-league system struggled, providing little help to the major-league club. Smith and then-manager Phil Garner were fired by the club on the same day in 2002, only six games into the season, all of which were Tiger losses.

In 2000, the team left Tiger Stadium, then tied with Fenway Park as the oldest active baseball stadium, in favor of the new Comerica Park. This capped an argument lasting more than a decade about whether or not a new stadium was needed to keep the club competitive.

Soon after it opened, Comerica Park drew criticism for its deep dimensions, which made it difficult to hit home runs; the distance to left-center field (395 ft), in particular, was seen as unfair to hitters. This led to the nickname "Comerica National Park." In 2003, the franchise largely quieted the criticism by moving in the left-center fence to 370 feet, taking the flagpole in that area out of play, a feature carried over from Tiger Stadium. In 2005, the team moved the bullpens to the vacant area beyond the left-field fence and filled the previous location with seats.

In late 2001, Dave Dombrowski, former general manager of the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins, was hired as team president. In 2002, the Tigers started the season 0-6, prompting Dombrowski to fire the unpopular Smith, as well as manager Phil Garner. Dombrowski then took over as general manager and named bench coach Luis Pujols to finish the season as interim manager. The team finished 55-106. After the season was over, Pujols was let go.

Dombrowski hired popular former shortstop Alan Trammell to manage the team in 2003. With fellow '84 teammates Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish on the coaching staff, the rebuilding process began. The 2003 season was a complete morass; Dombrowski gave Trammell another chance the following season. The Tigers came within one loss of tying the 1962 New York Mets for the most losses in modern major league history. For this reason, they have been described as possibly "the worst team of all time without a good excuse." Mike Maroth went 9-21 for the 2003 Tigers and became the first pitcher to lose 20 games in more than 20 years. Tigers' pitchers Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman (6-19), and Nate Cornejo (6-17) were #1, #2, and #3 in the major leagues in losses for 2003 -- the only time in major league history that one team has had the top three losers.

Designated hitter/left fielder Dmitri Young is the one member of the 2003 Tigers to have a truly good year, with a .297 batting average, 29 home runs, and .537 slugging percentage. According to Win Shares, the Tigers would have had about six fewer wins without him.

While the 2003 Tigers rank as the third worst team in major league history based on loss total, they fare slightly better based on winning percentage.

Under Dombrowski, the Tigers demonstrated a willingness to sign marquee free agents. In 2004, the team signed or traded for several talented but high-risk veterans, such as Iván Rodríguez, Ugueth Urbina, Rondell White and Carlos Guillén, and the gamble paid off. The 2004 Tigers finished 72-90, a 29-game improvement over the previous season, and the largest improvement in the American League since Baltimore's 33-game improvement from 1988 to 1989. However, the team was still sub-.500.

Prior to the 2005 season, the Tigers spent a large sum for two prized free agents, Magglio Ordóñez and Troy Percival. On June 8, 2005, the Tigers traded pitcher Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramon Martinez to the Philadelphia Phillies for Plácido Polanco (and later signed him for 4 years). The Tigers stayed on the fringes of contention for the American League wild card for the first four months of the season, but then faded badly, finishing 71-91. The collapse was perceived as being due both to injuries and to a lack of player unity; Rodriguez in particular was disgruntled, taking a leave of absence during the season to deal with a difficult divorce. Trammell, though popular with the fans, took part of the blame for the poor clubhouse atmosphere and lack of continued improvement, and he was fired at the end of the season.

A highlight of the 2005 campaign was Detroit's hosting of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, its first since 1971. In the Home Run Derby, Rodriguez finished second, losing to the Phillies' Bobby Abreu.

In October 2005, Jim Leyland, who managed Dombrowski's 1997 World Series-winning Marlins club, replaced Trammell as manager; two months later, in response to Troy Percival's '05 arm problems, closer Todd Jones, who had spent five seasons in Detroit (1997-2001), signed a two-year deal with the Tigers. Veteran left-hander Kenny Rogers also joined the Tigers from Texas in late 2005. These offseason additions set the stage for the resurgence of "Tiger Fever" in Detroit and its environs the following year.

After years of futility, the 2006 season showed signs of hope. After an early season tirade by Jim Leyland, the team exploded and quickly rose to the top of the AL Central. The team reached a high point when they were 40 games over .500, but a second half swoon started to raise questions about the team's staying power. On August 27, a 7–1 victory over the Cleveland Indians gave the Tigers their 82nd victory and their first winning season since 1993. On September 24, the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 11–4 to clinch their first playoff berth since 1987. A division title seemed inevitable. All that was required was one win in the final five games of the season, which included three games against the Royals, whom the Tigers had manhandled much of the season. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost all five games and the division title went to the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers were the AL wild card winner, the first time a team from the AL Central had won the honor. The playoffs saw the Tigers beat the heavily favored New York Yankees 3 games to 1 in the ALDS and sweep the Oakland Athletics to advance to the World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the offseason, the Tigers traded for outfielder Gary Sheffield, who had been a part of the 1997 Marlins team managed by Jim Leyland, and signed third baseman Brandon Inge, starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman and shortstop Carlos Guillén to four-year contracts. The Tigers returned 22 of 25 players from their World Series roster.

In addition to free-agent acquisitions, Dombrowski has developed a productive farm system, Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya being the most notable rookie contributors to the 2006 team. Andrew Miller, who was drafted in 2006, was called up early in the 2007 campaign and pitched in the starting rotation, and minor-leaguer Cameron Maybin, an athletic five-tool outfielder, was ranked #6 in Baseball America's 2007 Top-100 Prospects.

The Tigers suffered from injuries in the 2007 season, especially to their pitching staff. Kenny Rogers did not start until late June because of a blood-clot removal in his throwing arm. Other pitchers who were injured included Tim Byrdak, Edward Campusano, Fernando Rodney, Jair Jurrjens,and Joel Zumaya. Early in April, the Tigers also lost their backup catcher, Vance Wilson, for the season. Wilfredo Ledezma and Mike Maroth were traded to Atlanta and St. Louis, respectively.

On June 12, Justin Verlander pitched a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the first Tiger no-hitter since Jack Morris in 1984 against the Chicago White Sox on the year the Tigers won the 1984 World Series, and the first no-hitter at home by a Tiger since Virgil Trucks did it in 1952. It was also the first in Comerica Park history.

Five players represented Detroit in the 2007 MLB All-Star Game. Carlos Guillén, Magglio Ordóñez, Plácido Polanco, Iván Rodríguez and Justin Verlander joined American League manager Jim Leyland in the All-Star game.

As of July 18, the Tigers had sold 2,712,393 tickets at Comerica Park for the 2007 season, setting a new single-season home attendance record for the team. The previous record had been 2,704,794 customers at Tiger Stadium in 1984. The team would draw 3,047,133 customers over the entire season, the third-highest attendance in the American League for 2007. The Tigers were officially eliminated from playoff competition on September 26, 2007, when the New York Yankees clinched a playoff berth for the 13th consecutive year.

The Tigers' rivalries with other baseball franchises have changed throughout the years, with no one rivalry standing out. Some rivalries are with nearby teams, including the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals ,and Toronto Blue Jays - the latter a holdover from when the Tigers competed in the AL East. There are numerous Tigers fans in Ontario, as evidenced by Detroit's proximity to Windsor and the fact that the Tigers once had a minor league team in London. Sarnia, Ontario also has a large Detroit Tigers fanbase. Some are rivalries for first place during the regular season, with all American League teams until 1969, with American League East teams from 1969 to 1997, and with American League Central teams from 1998 until the present. Finally, some are rivalries with National League teams the Tigers have faced repeatedly in the World Series, the Chicago Cubs (four times) and St. Louis Cardinals (three times). Had the Cubs beat the Padres in the 1984 NLCS, they would have faced the Tigers for a fifth time in the World Series. In recent years the Tigers had rivalries with American League Central teams. In the early 2000s, the Tigers had many altercations with the Kansas City Royals. Many games against Kansas City resulted in bench clearing brawls. In 2007, the Tigers were bested by the Cleveland Indians for the division title.

During the 1968 season, the team was cheered on by the phrase, "Go Get 'Em Tigers." The previous year, "Sock It To 'Em, Tigers!" was also popular in the city as the Tigers' close pennant race with Boston coincided with the release of the single "Sock It To Me, Baby!" by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.

During the 1984 World Championship Run, the team was cheered on to the well known cry, "Bless You Boys," a phrase coined (in sarcasm) by Al Ackerman, a Detroit sports anchor legend.

For the 2006 season, with the team going into July with the best record in baseball, the phrase "Restore the Roar" (a phrase first introduced in 1990 by then-Detroit Lions Head Coach Wayne Fontes) began to catch on, referring to the fact that the Tigers had not had a winning season since 1993 and seem to be returning to their former glory. Another 2006 phrase found in several Detroit commercials was "Who's your Tiger?". A popular rally cry for the Detroit Pistons has also been adapted for the Tigers, resulting in "Deee-troit Base-ball!".

A second rally cry has also now begun to catch on in the Tigers' dugout. In a June game vs. the New York Yankees, Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson was featured on FSN Detroit's "Sounds of the Game", in which the TV station will mic a player on the bench or a coach. To appease the fans, Nate began to stuff Big League Chew bubble gum into his mouth, hoping to spark a late-inning rally. The trend has caught on, with Jeremy Bonderman, Zach Miner and Justin Verlander all chewing from time to time. The Tigers came back to tie the game, and the phrase "It's Gum Time" has become a new "Rally-cap" for all of Tigertown.

Additionally, the chant of a local panhandler who patrols the streets around Comerica Park yelling out "Eat 'Em Up Tigers! Eat 'Em Up!", has begun to make its way into the park. The chant originated in 1968 when the Tigers won their third World Series, "Eat 'em Up" referring to the St. Louis Cardinals. People have even been seen wearing homemade shirts with the cheer written on the back as far away as Miller Park in Milwaukee.

During the 2006 playoffs the phrase "Team of Destiny" appeared on several home made signs, and became a rallying cry for the post season. The signs featured the blackletter "D" in place of the standard "D" in destiny.

The Tigers have worn essentially the same home uniform since 1934 - solid white jersey with navy piping down the front and a blackletter (Old English) "D" on the left chest, white pants, navy hat with white Old English "D". When they play away, the D on their hats is orange, and the pin on top is orange as well, with the word "DETROIT" across the shirt. A version of the team's Old English D was first seen on Tigers uniforms in 1904, after using a simple block D in 1903. The Old English D appeared frequently after that until being established in 1934. In 1960, the Tigers changed their uniform to read "Tigers", but the change only lasted one season before the traditional uniform was reinstated.

In 1995, the Tigers introduced an alternate jersey, solid navy with the team's alternate logo (a tiger stepping through the "D") on the chest. It was worn a few times and then abandoned.

The Tigers are the only team in Major League Baseball to have a color on their road uniforms that is not on their home uniforms (orange).

The Tigers use slightly different versions of the initial logo on the cap and jersey.

For unknown reasons, the Tigers wear their home hats with their road uniforms during Spring Training.

Players with retired numbers (and Ty Cobb) also have statues of themselves that sit behind their names, which are painted on the left-center field wall.

National Avenue, which runs behind the third-base stands at the Tigers' previous home Tiger Stadium, was renamed Cochrane Avenue for Mickey Cochrane. Cherry Street, which runs behind the left-field stands at Tiger Stadium, was renamed Kaline Drive for Al Kaline.

Cochrane's number 3 has not been retired for him nor has it been retired for Dick McAuliffe or Alan Trammell. The number 3 was taken out of circulation after Alan Trammell's retirement, and again after his dismissal as manager, but Gary Sheffield began wearing #3 with Trammell's public approval upon joining the team before the 2007 season (Sheffield had previously worn the numbers 1, 5, 10, and 11). Sheffield was released from the Tigers prior to the 2009 season, and the number was not reissued. The number 1, last worn by Lou Whitaker, has also not been retired nor has it been issued since Whitaker retired in 1995. The Number 47, last worn by Jack Morris, has also not been retired, nor has it been issued since Morris left the Tigers after the 1990 season. Number 11, last worn by former manager Sparky Anderson, has not been retired nor reissued since his 1995 retirement.

The Tigers' current flagship radio stations are Detroit sister stations WXYT-AM (1270 AM) and WXYT-FM (97.1 FM). Dan Dickerson does play-by-play and former Tigers catcher Jim Price does color commentary. Games are carried on both stations unless a conflict with Detroit Lions or Detroit Red Wings coverage arises, in which case only WXYT-AM serves as the Tigers' flagship.

The Tigers' current exclusive local television rights holder is Fox Sports Detroit. Mario Impemba does play-by-play and Rod Allen does color commentary. Since 2008, the only locally produced game aired on broadcast television is the Tigers' home opener, which is aired on WJBK-TV, simulcasted from Fox Sports Detroit.

From 1964–2000, the Tigers' flagship station was Detroit's WJR, a maximum power clear channel station that can be heard in the entire Great Lakes region and much of the Midwest.

Former Tigers telecasters include WJBK-TV, WKBD-TV, WWJ-TV, WDIV-TV and the defunct channels PASS Sports and ON-TV affiliate WXON-TV (as well as its current incarnation WMYD-TV).

Until the end of the 2007 season, Fox Sports Detroit shared rights with several Detroit stations, most recently WJBK-TV, which simulcasted games on a small network of broadcast stations across Michigan and Northwestern Ohio. This ended when Fox Sports Detroit signed a 10 year exclusive contract with the team in March of 2008.

Past Tigers broadcasters include Ty Tyson, Harry Heilmann, Paul Williams, Van Patrick, Dizzy Trout, Mel Ott, George Kell, Bob Scheffing, Ray Lane, Larry Osterman, Paul Carey and Don Kremer, Al Kaline, Joe Pelligrino, Mike Barry, Larry Adderly, Norm Cash, Hank Aguirre, Bill Freehan, Jim Northrup, Rick Rizzs, Bob Rathbun, Fred McLeod, Frank Beckmann, Lary Sorensen, Josh Lewin, Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish, and Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell, who called Tiger baseball from 1960-1991, then 1993-2002.

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1935 Detroit Tigers season

Hank Grenberg

The 1935 Detroit Tigers won the 1935 World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 2. The season was their 35th since they entered the American League in 1901. It was the first World Series championship for the Tigers.

As the 1934 Detroit Tigers won a club-record 101 games, the team made few changes in the off-season to alter their winning combination.

The Detroit infield of the 1934-1935 seasons was one of the best-hitting combinations in MLB history. With Hank Greenberg at first, Charlie Gehringer at second, Billy Rogell at shortstop, and Marv Owen at third, the 1934 Tigers infield collected 462 RBIs (139 by Greenberg, 127 by Gehringer, 100 by Rogell, and 96 by Owen) and 179 doubles (63 by Greenberg, 50 by Gehringer, 34 by Owen and 32 by Rogell). The Tigers returned the same infield for the 1935 season.

Marv Owen was the one Tiger starter whose performance dropped off significantly from 1934 to 1935. In 1934, Owen had batted .317 with 96 RBIs and finished 9th in the AL MVP voting. In 1935, his average dropped 54 points to .263, and his RBI production fell to 71. Owen is remembered for a famous incident in Game 7 of the 1934 World Series. Joe Medwick tripled in the 6th inning with the Cardinals ahead by 7 runs. He slid hard into Owen at third, knocking him down. The two fought, and Detroit fans pelted Medwick with fruit and garbage when he returned to left field. As the fan reaction escalated, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis ordered Medwick removed from the game. Owen batted just .069 (2-29) in the 1934 World Series and .050 (1-20) in the 1935 World Series. He set a post-season record for the most consecutive plate appearances between hits with 31.

In the outfield, Hall of Famer Goose Goslin played in left field. Pete Fox played in right field. And the speedy Jo-Jo White and Gee Walker shared responsibility for center field, with White playing in 98 games.

Pete Fox led the way among the outfielders, batting .321 with 116 runs scored, 38 doubles, and 15 home runs. Fox also had a 29-game hitting streak in June and July. During the hitting streak, Fox drove in 10 runs in a double-header against the St. Louis Browns. During the six-game 1935 World Series, Fox also led the team in hits (10), RBIs (4), and batting average (.385).

Goose Goslin had a good year with 109 RBIs, 172 hits, and 34 doubles. After leading the Senators to American League pennants in 1924, 1925, and 1933, owner Clark Griffith traded Goslin to Detroit before the 1934 season. Griffith told Goose he simply couldn't afford to pay his salary. With stars Goslin, Gehringer and Greenberg, the 1934 and 1934 Tigers became known as the “G-Men.” Goslin was the hero of the 1935 World Series, as he drove in the winning run in Games 6. With the game tied 3-3, Goslin came to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs and Mickey Cochrane on 2nd base. Goslin hit a walk-off single to right, scoring Cochrane, as the Tigers won the Series.

The Tigers fourth outfielder, Gee Walker played 45 games in center field but also covered 29 games in left and 11 games in right. Known as "The Madman from Mississippi," Walker was a fiery competitor and a clown. He hit over .300 for the 1935 Tigers, but his reputation for being inattentive and overzealous on the basepaths drew the ire of manager Mickey Cochrane. During the 1934 World Series, he was picked off first while arguing with the Cardinals' bench. On another occasion, he tried to steal a base while the batter was being given an intentional walk.

The pitching staff was led by starters, Tommy Bridges, Schoolboy Rowe, Alvin Crowder, and Elden Auker.

Tommy Bridges was the only 20-game winner with a record of 21-10. In 34 starts, Bridges threw 23 complete games. He led the American League with 163 strikeouts, and his 3.51 ERA was 6th best in the league. He finished the season 11th in the American League MVP voting. In a nationwide poll, Bridges was named the No. 2 sports hero of 1935, behind Notre Dame football player Andy Pilney.

After making a big splash in 1934 with an American League record 16 consecutive wins, Schoolboy Rowe had another big year in 1935. Schoolboy had become a fan favorite not only for his pitching performance in 1934 but for his nationally publicized romance. While appearing on the Eddie Cantor radio show, Rowe famously asked his fiancee, "How'm I doing, Edna honey?" The line endeared Schoolboy to the nation, and also resulted in relentless teasing from opposing players and fans. Schoolboy and Edna married after the 1934 season and had their first child during the 1935 season. Schoolboy led the league in 1935 with six shutouts and finished the season with a 19-13 record in 34 starts. Despite a 2.51 ERA in the 1935 World Series, Rowe had a 1-2 record. He was the losing pitcher in Game 1, despite striking out 8 batters, pitching a complete game and allowing only 2 earned runs. In Game 3, Rowe got the win, pitching 4 innings in relief. But Game 5 was another tough loss, as Schoolboy threw a complete game and allowed 2 earned runs, but the Tigers scored only once.

The Tigers' #4 starter was 36-year-old Alvin Crowder, who served in the U.S. Army during its occupation of Siberia after World War I. (Tom Deveaux, "The Washington Senators, 1901-1971" (McFarland 2001), p. 105.) Crowder, known as "General," was 16-10 in his 32 starts. The General pitched a complete game in Game 4 of the 1935 World Series for a 2-1 victory. Crowder pitched in three World Series consecutively (1933-1935), posting a record of 1-2 with 3.81 ERA in 26 innings pitched.

After losing the 1934 World Series in a close seven-game series with the Gashouse Gang from St. Louis, the Detroit Tigers were determined to win the first baseball championship for the City of Detroit since the Detroit Wolverines won the National League pennant in 1887.

The season started out poorly. Schoolboy Rowe lost on Opening Day, and the Tigers were 2-9 after two weeks of play. At the end of April, the Tigers were in last place. By the end of May, the Tigers had started to turn things around but still had a mediocre 20-18 record.

On June 25, 1935, the Yankees were in first place, and the Tigers were still playing unexceptionally with a record of 33-28. However, the Tigers got red hot after that, going 35-10 between June 26 and August 15, 1935. During that period, they put together win streaks of 10 games (June 30 to July 7) and 9 games (July 31 to August 11). On July 26, 1935, the Tigers passed the Yankees and moved into first place.

The team remained hot through Labor Day, having a record of 85-44 on September 7, 1935. But the Tigers' bats went cold for the last three weeks of the season, as the team went 8-14 to end the season. Despite having a ten-game lead over the Yankees on September 8, 1935, the Tigers let the Yankees back into the race, eventually winning by three games.

On September 21, 1935, the Tigers clinched the American League pennant by winning both games of a double-header against the St. Louis Browns. Tommy Bridges won the opener, 6-2, and Elden Auker pitched a complete game shutout to win the second game, 2-0. After clinching the pennant, the Tigers finished the season by losing 6 of their last 7 games.

Detroit's final regular season record was 93-58, placing them three games ahead of the second place New York Yankees. For the season, the 1935 Tigers outscored their opponents 919 to 665.

The 1935 World Series featured the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs, with the Tigers winning in six games for their first championship in five World Series appearances. They had lost in 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1934.

The Cubs had the better regular season record and had a 21-game win streak during the pennant stretch. The Tigers, on the other hand, went 8-14 in their last 22 games. Based on momentum, it appeared the Cubs would roll past the Tigers.

The Cubs won Game 1, 3-0, on 4-hit shutout by pitcher Lon Warneke. Schoolboy Rowe took the loss.

The Tigers evened the Series in Game 2, with an 8-3 win, but the Tigers lost Hank Greenberg who fractured his left wrist when colliding with Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett. Greenberg had tried to score from first on a single. He finished the game, but he developed severe pain on the train ride to Chicago that night, and x-rays revealed fractures of two bones in his wrist. Greenberg was sidelined for the rest of the Series, and Mickey Cochrane was left to decide who could replace Greenberg. Initially, Cochrane decided to play first base himself and have backup catcher Ray Hayworth take over at catcher. But Tigers owner Frank Navin ordered Cochrane to move third baseman Marv Owen to first base and play utility infielder Flea Clifton at third base. Cochrane disagreed, as Clifton was the weakest hitter on the team, and Owen was in a slump. Navin insisted, and Owen went one for twenty in the Series, while Flea went 0-for-16 in the Series.

In Game 3, the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the 9th, but the Tigers won it with an unearned run in the 11th inning. In the 3rd inning, umpire George Moriarty (who had played for the Tigers from 1909-1915) called Phil Cavarretta out in a close play at second base. When the Cubs protested, Moriarty verbally abused the Cubs, and ejected Cubs' manager Charlie Grimm and player Bill Jurges. After the game, Grimm said: "If a manager can't go out and make a decent kick, what the hell is the game coming to? I didn't swear at him but he swore at us." Coach Roy Johnson accused Moriarty of making improper reflections on the Cubs' ancestry. Judge Landis later levied $200 fines on Moriarty‚ Grimm‚ and Jurges‚ for their conduct in the World Series.

In Game 4, Alvin Crowder pitched a 2-1 complete game victory. The Tigers won on an unearned run in the 6th inning.

In Game 5, Cubs' pitcher Lon Warneke kept the Cubs alive with 6 innings of shutout ball for his 2nd win. The Cubs won 3-1 on a 2-run home run by Chuck Klein off losing pitcher Schoolboy Rowe.

Delirious Detroit fans rushed onto Navin Field in celebration after Goslin's game-winning hit. The celebration spilled out onto Michigan Avenue and Trumbull. People from throughout Detroit flooded the central city in a celebration that newspapers reported went on until three in the morning. For a few hours, the worries of the Great Depression were gone and the only thing that mattered was the Tigers.

Detroit owner, Frank Navin, then 64 years old, had been running the organization for 30 years and had seen four of his teams win American League pennants, only to lose four World Series. On November 13, 1935, five weeks after the Tigers finally won the World Series, Navin suffered a heart attack while riding a horse and died.

Detroit's "champions" included Detroit's "Brown Bomber," Joe Louis, the heavyweight boxing champion; native Detroiter Gar Wood who was the champion of unlimited powerboat racing and the first man to go 100 miles per hour on water; Eddie "the Midnight Express" Tolan, a black Detroiter who won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter races at the 1932 Summer Olympics. The Detroit Lions also won the 1935 NFL Championship Game, and the Detroit Red Wings won the 1935–36 Stanley Cup championship, but the biggest celebration came when the Tigers won the World Series, as the "City of Champions" moniker took hold.

Baseball was hugely popular in Detroit during the Great Depression, as attendance at Navin Field in 1934 and 1935, accounted for nearly 25 percent of baseball's total paid attendance.

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1909 Detroit Tigers season

Heinie Beckendorf,Cabanas Cuban Baseball Card

The 1909 Detroit Tigers won the American League pennant with a record of 96-56, but lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1909 World Series, 4 games to 3. The season was their 9th since they entered the American League in 1901. It was the third consecutive season in which they won the pennant but lost the World Series. Center fielder Ty Cobb won the Triple Crown and pitcher George Mullin led the league in wins (29) and win percentage (.784).

Catching duties were split between Boss Schmidt (81 games) and Oscar Stanage (77 games).

Schmidt hit .265 in 1908, but his average dropped to .209 in 1909. As a young man, Schmidt worked in the coal mines and was a skilled brawler who fought an exhibition match with the heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson. Schmidt also beat Ty Cobb in at least two fights. In the second fight, Schmidt knocked Cobb unconscious but admired Cobb's resiliency, and the two became friends until Schmidt's death in 1932. Schmidt never wore shinguards and could force nails into the floor with his bare fists.

Stanage played for the Tigers from 1909-1920, catching 1,074 games for Detroit -- second only to Bill Freehan in team history. Stanage was a weak hitter but one of the best defensive catchers of the deadball era. Known for his strong throwing arm, Stanage threw out more baserunners than any other catcher in the 1910s. Stanage still holds the American League record for most assists by a catcher, with 212 in 1911, and his career average of 1.29 assists per game is the fifth best in major league history. Stanage was not as skilled with the glove; his 41 errors in 1911 was the most by a catcher for the 20th Century.

First baseman Claude Rossman played for the Tigers from 1907-1909. In 1908, Rossman had the best year of his career with 33 doubles (2nd in the AL), 219 total bases (3rd in the AL), and 48 extra base hits (3rd in the AL). On August 20, 1909, the Tigers traded him to the St. Louis Browns for Tom Jones. Rossman had a peculiar emotional quirk where he sometimes froze and could not throw the ball when he became excited. Runners would lead off first to draw a throw from the pitcher, then run to second when Rossman froze. He was 28 when he played his last major league game and died at age 46 in a New York hospital for the insane where he had been a patient for several years.

Second baseman Germany Schaefer was traded by the Tigers to the Washington Senators during the 1909 season for Jim Delahanty. Schaefer is remembered more for his antics than for his performance on the field, including trying to steal first base (from second base) and, coming to bat in the rain with a raincoat and boots (to persuade the umpire to call the games). Schaefer was a pioneer of baseball clowning, and his vaudeville act with teammate Charley O'Leary was inspiration for the MGM musical film "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. In 1919, a little over a year after Schaefer played his last game, he died at age 42 of tuberculosis at the sanitarium in Saranac Lake, New York.

Jim Delahanty took over at second base from Germany Schaefer in 1909. He played all seven games of the 1909 World Series, batting .346 with 4 RBIs.

Donie Bush was Detroit’s starting shortstop for thirteen seasons from 1909-1921. As a rookie in 1909, he led the American League in walks (88), sacrifice hits (52), and assists by a shortstop (567), finished second in the AL in runs scored (114), was third in the AL in on base percentage (.380), and set a major league record for stolen bases by a rookie (53) that stood for 89 years. His 52 sacrifice hits is the fourth highest single season total in major league history. He also led the AL in walks in five times and walked more than any other major league player from 1910-1919. Bush was also the surprise hitting star for Detroit in the World Series, hitting .318 with a .438 on-base percentage, picking up 7 hits, 5 bases on balls, 3 sacrifice hits, twice being hit by a pitch, scoring 5 runs and collecting 3 RBIs. Bush played all seven game of the World Series at shortstop, collecting 9 putouts, 18 assists, and 3 double plays (but also committing 5 errors).

Charley O'Leary was Detroit's starting shortstop from 1904-1907 and became a backup shortstop and utlity infielder from 1908-1912. In 1908, he shared third baseman duties with Moriarty and hit .202. On September 30, 1934, O'Leary pinch hit for the St. Louis Browns at age 51 and became one of the oldest players to collect a hit and score a run.

In 1909, Ty Cobb won the Triple Crown with a .377 batting average‚ nine home runs (all inside the park)‚ and 107 RBIs. (He not only led the AL in all three Triple Crown categories; he led all major league players in all three categories.) Cobb also led the major leagues with 216 hits and 76 stolen bases. Adding the stolen base title, Cobb was the only player ever to win a quadruple crown.

Right fielder Sam Crawford, known as “Wahoo Sam,” was one of the greatest sluggers of the deadball era and still holds the major league records for triples in a career (309) and for inside-the-park home runs in a season (12) and a career (51). He finished his career with 2,961 hits and a .309 batting average. Crawford was among the AL leaders in hits, RBIs, extra base hits, slugging percentage, and total bases every year for twelve consecutive years from 1905-1915. In 1909, Crawford hit .314 (4th in the AL) with a .452 slugging percentage (2nd in the AL), 97 RBIs (2nd in the AL), 35 doubles (1st in the AL), 14 triples (2nd in the AL), 266 total bases (2nd in the AL), six home runs (3rd in the AL), 55 extra base hits (1st in the AL), and 30 stolen bases.

Left fielder Matty McIntyre played for Detroit from 1904-1910. His best season was 1908, when he led the AL in: plate appearances (672), times on base (258), runs (105), and singles (131). McIntyre is also remembered as the leader of the "anti-Cobb" clique on the Tigers during Cobb's early years. Early in Cobb's rookie season, Cobb went after a flyball in McIntyre's left field territory. By cutting in front, Cobb caused McIntyre to drop the ball, infuriating McIntyre. McIntyre and his cohorts led a prolonged hazing campaign, locking Cobb out of an empty washroom, flicking food at Cobb, and nailing his shoes to the clubhouse floor.

Davy Jones played for the Tigers from 1906-1912. With Cobb and Crawford solidly entrenched in the outfield, Jones was forced to battle for the third outfield spot with Matty McIntyre each year from 1906-1910. As a speedy leadoff man, he was a reliable run scorer with Cobb and Crawford following him in the lineup. Jones' speed also made him a fine outfielder, with tremendous range In 1907, he led the AL with a .357 on base percentage and finished second in the AL with 101 runs. In his three World Series for the Tigers, Jones played in 18 games, had a .357 on base percentage, scored 8 runs, and had a home run in the 1909 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

George Mullin was the Tigers' leading pitcher in 1909, leading the major leagues with 29 wins and leading the AL with a .784 win percentage. Mullin holds the Detroit Tigers franchise record for innings pitched (in a career and in a season) and has the second most wins in the team's history. He also pitched the team's first no-hitter; had five 20-win seasons (including a league-leading 29 wins in 1909); helped the Tigers to three straight American League pennants (1907-1909); twice hit over .310 as a batter; and ranks 7th in major league history for fielding assists by a pitcher.

Ed Killian led the team (and was 4th in the AL) with a 1.71 ERA. Twice a 20 game winner (including a 25-13 season in 1907), Killian's career ERA of 2.38 is tied for 24th best in MLB history. Killian also holds the record for fewest home runs allowed, giving up only 9 in his entire career. At one point, Killian pitched a record 1001 innings (from Sept. 1903 - Aug. 1907) without allowing a home run.

Ed Willett had his best season in 1909 when he had a record of 21-10, ranking 3rd in the American League in wins and 5th in winning percentage (.677). He had an earned run average of 2.34 for the season and was among the AL leaders in games (41), innings (292-2/3), games started (34), complete games (25), bases on balls and hits allowed (88 and 239), as well as wild pitches (10) and hit batsmen (14).

Ed Summers had two great seasons for the Tigers, going 24-12 with a 1.64 ERA in his 1908 rookie season, and 19-9 with a 2.24 ERA in 1909. On September 25, 1908, Summers threw two complete game victories in a double header to help the Tigers clinch the AL pennant. On July 16, 1909, Summers pitched 18 scoreless innings of a tie game against the Washington Senators at Bennett Park.

Wild Bill Donovan was the Tigers ace in 1907 with a 25-4 record (the best win percentage in Tigers' team history), but in 1909 he went 8-7 in 17 starts. On May 7, 1906, Donovan stole second base, third base, and home on the front end of a double steal and also hit a triple in the same game. In June 1923, Donovan died in a train wreck.

Ralph Works was a pitcher for Tigers from 1909-1912. Works was called "Judge" by teammates for his scholarly countenance. Works had career record of 24-24 with a 3.79 ERA. His best season was 1911 when he went 11-5 in 30 games for the Tigers. He ranked No. 5 in the American League in winning percentage (.688) in 1911, No. 7 in shutouts with 3 and No. 8 in games finished with 10. Works died in of a self-inflicted gunshot would in Pasadena, California in 1941 at age 53. He died with his wife in an apparent double suicide.

Behind the antics was a great coaching mind. Connie Mack called Jennings one of the three greatest managers in history, along with John McGraw and Joe McCarthy.

The 1909 season was the third straight year the Tigers won the American League pennant. Their 1909 record of 98-54 was the team's best record to that point. Led by Ty Cobb, who won the Triple Crown and Sam Crawford, who led the league in doubles and extra base hits, they scored 66 more runs than any other team in the American League and outscored their opponents 666 to 493. They led the American League for most of the regular season, but remained in a close race with the Philadelphia Athletics, finally taking the pennant by 3-1/2 games.

The Tigers faced the Pittsburgh Pirates‚ winners of 110 games‚ in the World Series. The Series matched AL batting champion Ty Cobb against NL batting champion Honus Wagner. Detroit gave up 18 stolen bases in 7 games to the Pirates.

In Game 1, 27 year-old rookie Babe Adams faced George Mullin. There were only 11 hits in the game‚ but Fred Clarke’s home run led the Pirates to a 4-1 win.

In Game 2, Tigers’ pitcher Wild Bill Donovan led the team to a 7-2 win. Ty Cobb stole home as the Tigers scored three runs in the third inning.

In Game 3, the Pirates won, 8-6, behind three hits, three RBIs and three stolen bases by Honus Wagner. Nick Maddox was the winner over Ed Summers.

In Game 4, George Mullin pitched a 5-hit shutout for Detroit, a 5-0 victory. Ty Cobb drove in two runs with a double. Mullin struck out ten batters, and the Pirates committed six errors.

In Game 5, Pirates’ rookie Babe Adams threw his second complete game victory, an 8-4 win. Sam Crawford hit a home run and a double, but Fred Clarke’s three run home run gave the win to Pittsburgh.

In Game 6, George Mullin led the Tigers to a 5-4 win. The World Series would go to a seventh game for the first time. In Game 7, the Pirates won, 8-0, as Babe Adams got his third complete game victory of the 1909 World Series. Adams was the only rookie pitcher in the 20th Century to win a World Series Game 7. (John Lackey did it in 2002.) Fred Clarke walked four times, and Honus Wagner drove in two runs. The Pirates and Tigers combined for 34 errors (18 by the Tigers), a World Series record.

In November 1909, a group of players from the 1909 Tigers (not including Ty Cobb or Sam Crawford) toured Cuba and played 12 exhibition games against two integrated Cuban teams, Habana and Almendares. The tour drew wide attention in Cuba, where baseball was already very popular. Demonstrating the high level of play in Cuba, the Tigers lost 8 of the 12 games to the integrated Cuban baseball teams. To take advantage of the interest in the tour of the American baseball players, the Cabañas Company printed a series of baseball cards showing the members of the Almendares, Habana and Detroit baseball teams.

The Detroit roster, from a game played on November 18, 1909, consisted of the following players: Davy Jones, Charley O'Leary, George Moriarty, Matty McIntyre, Boss Schmidt, George Mullin, Heinie Beckendorf, R. Hopke and W. Lelivelt. In that game, Cuban pitcher, Eustaquio "Bombin" Pedroso no hit the Tigers for 11 innings‚ finally winning‚ 2-1. The only run for Detroit came on an error in the 7th inning. A squeeze bunt against Bill Lelivelt in the 11th inning scored the winner. A collection was taken up for Pedroso and fans‚ including several Tigers‚ contributed $300.

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Source : Wikipedia