History of the Tigers: 1971-1980

Detroit Tigers history

Welcome back to another post, today is another installment in the History of the Tiger series, where we look back on the Detroit Tigers history. This post will be focused on the years 1971-1980. To stay updated on future posts, make sure to like my facebook page here and follow my Twitter here. You can join my Discord here. And you can view the rest of the posts for this series here. Thanks!

1971-1973: New Managers and Winning Success

In 1971, the Tigers finished second in the three-year-old Eastern Division. They hired new manager Billy Martin, and finished  20 games over .500 but still 10 games back of first place. Norm Cash hit .283 with 32 homers and 91 RBI, while Mickey Lolich won 25 games and had a 2.92 ERA but did not win the Cy Young.

The next year, the Tigers won the Eastern Division but lost 3 games to 2 in a best of 5 AL Championship Series against the Oakland A’s. Al Kaline hit 10 homers and drove in 32 runs with a .313 average, and Mickey Lolich finished with a 22-14 record and a 2.50 ERA.

In 1973, the Tigers went 85-77, but they fired Billy Martin as manager on August 30 and Joe Schultz became their manager. Willie Horton hit .316 with 17 homers and 53 RBI, and Joe Coleman went 23-15 with a 3.53 ERA.

1974-1977: Losing Seasons Every Year

After the 1973 season, the Tigers hired Ralph Houk as their new manager. He didn’t seem to have much success, because the Tigers finished last in the AL East, 19 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. Bill Freehan hit .297 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI. John Hiller led the pitching staff with 17-14 record and 2.64 ERA. October 2nd, 1974 was the last game that Al Kaline played. He finished his career with 3007 hits and 399 home runs.

In 1975, the Tigers kept Ralph Houk as their manager, and then had their 5th worst season in team history, with a record of 57-102. They finished 37.5 games back of first place in the AL East. Willie Horton led the team in hitting with a .275 average, 25 home runs, and 92 RBI. Mickey Lolichw as the Tigers best pitcher with a 12-18 record and 3.78 ERA.

The Tigers once again had Ralph Houk as their manager for the 1976 season, and the Tigers definitely improved, as they had a 74-87 record. Rusty Staub led the team in hitting with a .299 average, 15 home runs, and 96 RBI, while Mark Fydrich was the Tigers best pitcher with a 19-9 record and 2.34 ERA.

In 1977, the Tigers were 74-88, which was pretty much the same as the 1976 season. Rusty Staub once again led the team in hitting with a .278 average, 22 home runs, and 101 RBI. And Dave Rozema led the pitching staff with a 15-7 record and 3.09 ERA.

1978-1980 Finally Winning and Sparky Arrives

In 1978, the Tigers finally had a winning record, finishing 86-76. But they still finished 5th in the AL East because the Yankees, Brewers, Red Sox, and Orioles all won 90 games. Rusty Staub was once again their best hitter with .273 average, 24 home runs, and 121 RBI. And Jack Billingham led the pitching with a 15-8 record and 3.88 ERA.

In 1979, Les Moss became the manager of the Tigers and started 27-26. He was not fired for being a bad manager, but because manager Sparky Anderson became available, and the Tigers wanted to hire him. Dick Tracewski managed 4 games until Anderson’s arrival. The Tigers ended up finishing the season 85-76. Steve Kemp was their top hitter with a .318 average, 26 homers, and 105 RBI, while Jack Morris led the pitching with a 17-7 record and 3.28 ERA.

In the final season of this post, the Tigers finished 84-78, and 4th in the AL East. Steve Kemp led the team in hitting with a .293 average, 21 home runs, and 101 RBI, while Aurelio Lopez led the pitching with a 13-6 record and 3.77 ERA.

I hope you enjoyed this post in the History of the Tigers series and I look forward to making the last couple of posts in this series soon!

History of the Detroit Tigers: 1961-1970: Championship and Division Play Starts!

Detroit Tigers history

Welcome back to another post in this series about Detroit Tigers history. I know it has been a long time since I have posted in it, but I will be finishing the series this summer and then starting a new one on one of the other Detroit sports teams when this series is finished. But today we will be talking about the Tigers from the period of 1961-1970.

To stay updated on future posts, follow my Twitter here,  like my Facebook page here, and you can join my Discord here. You can view the other posts in this series here.

1961-1962: Good Success

After the 1960 season, the Tigers decided to hire Bob Scheffing as their manager, and Rick Ferrell as their GM. In their first season, the Tigers won 101 games and finished just 8 games behind the Yankees. Norm Cash won the AL batting crown, as he hit .361 with 41 homers and 132 RBI. Frank Lary lead the pitching with a 23-9 record and a 3.24 ERA.

The next year, the Tigers once again had a good season, going 85-76, but they still only finished third in the AL. Al Kaline hit .304 with 29 home runs and 94 RBI, while Jim Bunning led the pitching with a 19-10 record and a 3.59 ERA.

1963-1965: Average Seasons

in 1963, after the Tigers started off winning just 24 of their first 60 games, the Tigers fired Bob Scheffing and hired Chuck Dresson on June 18. He led the team to a 79-83 record, despite coming in to manage a team 12 games under .500. Al Kaline hit .312 with 27 homers and 101 RBI, and Hank Aguirre was their best pitcher with a 14-15 record and a 3.67 ERA.

The next year, the Tigers were 85-77, as they finished 4th in the AL. Bob Scheffing joined Ernie Harwell in the radio booth of WKMH. Bill Freehan hit .300 with 18 homers and 80 RBI. And Dave Wickersham had a 19-12 record and 3.44 ERA.

In 1965, the Tigers finished 16 games over .500 despite changing managers throughout the year. During spring training, Chuck Dressen had problems with his heart, so Bob Swift had to step in until Dressen returned on May 31. Willie Horton hit .273 with 29 homers and 104 RBI. And Hank Aguirre was 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA.

1966

In 1966, the Tigers won one less game than the previous year but still moved up to third in the AL. Chuck Dressen managed until May 16, but was sidelined with a heart attack and ended up dying in August. Bob Swift took over for the Tigers when Dressen was sidelined, and Swift was appearing to be doing a good job leading the team until he went to the hospital during all-star break and a test showed he had lung cancer. Unfortunately, he would die in October after the season. Frank Skaff took over for the team after Swift was sidelined.

Al Kaline lead the team in hitting with a .288 average,  29 homers and 88 RBI. And Denny McLain led the team in pitching with a 20-14 record and 3.92 ERA.

1967-1968 New Leader and Championship

After the 1966 season, Mayo Smith was hired as the new manager of the Tigers, He quickly led the team to a 91 win season, and they finished tied for 2nd in the AL. Al Kaline had a breakout year with a .308 average, 25 homers and 78 RBI. And Earl Wilson was a great pitcher with a 22-11 record and 3.27 ERA.

In 1968, the Tigers won the pennant, and eventually, beat the St Louis. Cardinals in a 7 game World Series. Mickey Lolich won the World Series MVP after pitching 3 complete games and winning all three. During the regular season, Willie Horton batted .285 with 36 home runs and 85 RBI. Denny McLain won the Cy Young and AL MVP after an amazing 31-6 record and 1.96 ERA.

1969-1970 Division Play

After the 1968 MLB season, the league decided that the AL and NL would each be split into 2 divisions, and the 2 teams that won their divisions in each league would play in a best of 5 league championship series. In the 1969 season, the Tigers won 90 games, but they still finished 19 games back of an amazing 109-53 Baltimore Orioles team. Jim Northrup led the team in hitting with a .295 average 25 home runs and 66 RBI. And Denny McLain once again led the team in pitching with a 24-9 record and 2.80 ERA. He won the AL Cy Young again.

In 1970, the Tigers went back to mediocrity with a 79-83 record, good for 4th in the 6 team AL East. Willie Horton hit 17 home runs and drove in 69 RBI while batting .305, and Les Cain was their best pitcher with 12-7 record and 3.84 ERA.

This wraps up another decade in Tigers history. Make sure you stay tuned for more posts in the History of the Tigers series.

Detroit Tigers History Part 6: 1951-1960

Detroit Tigers History

Welcome back finally to the History of the Tigers series. I’m sorry that I stopped posting this back in September but now I am going to finish it before the MLB Season starts. This post will focus on the Detroit Tigers history from 1951-1960. To stay updated on future posts, follow my Twitter here and like my Facebook page here. To see all of the Detroit Tigers history posts, click here.

Detroit Tigers History 1951-1954: Tough Years

In 1951, the Tigers finished 8 games under .500, a huge change from the 95 win team of 1950. They did not change any staff besides adding Paul Williams to the radio booth along Ty Tyson. The Tigers also hosted the All-Star game, as it was the City of Detroit’s 250th birthday in 1951. George Kell was their best hitter with a .319 average, 2 homers, 59 RBI and 36 doubles. Fred Hutchinson was their top pitcher with a 10-10 record and a 3.68 ERA.

In 1952, the had the second-worst season in team history with a record of 50-104. Walter Briggs Jr. became the owner of the team after his dad died in January before the regular season started. Charlie Gehringer became the GM of the team, and Fred Hutchinson, a player, took over for Red Rolfe in July. These were clearly not the best times for the Tigers. Van Patrick became the TV and radio commentator. Walt Dropo may have only hit .279, but he was clearly the best power hitter on the team with 23 homers and 70 RBI. And Hal Newhowser was their best pitcher with a 9-9 record and 3.74 ERA. Virgil Trucks threw 2 no-hitters but had a horrendous 5-19 record.

1953 was another rough one for the Tigers. They went 60-94, 6th in the American League. Dizzy Trout joined the radio booth with Van Patrick. Ray Boone was the top hitter with a .312 average, 22 homers and 93 RBI. Ned Garver was their best pitcher with an 11-11 record and 4.45 ERA. Al Kaline started his career this season, only appearing in 30 games and hitting .250.

1954 was yet another hard season for the Tigers, but every year since 1951 they were making slight progress. The team went 68-86 and hired Muddy Ruel as their new GM. Harvey Kuenn was the team’s top hitter with a .306 average, 5 homers and 48 RBI. Steve Gromek was their top pitcher with an 18-16 record and 2.74 ERA. Following Al Kaline more, he hit .276 with 4 homers and 43 RBI.

Detroit Tigers History 1955-1960

In 1955, the Tigers finally got back to a winning record, going 79-75. This was Buck Harris’s first year as the manager of the team, and he proved to be better than Frank Hutchinson. Al Kaline had his breakout season, hitting .340 with 27 home runs and 102 RBI. Steve Gromek led the way pitching with a 13-10 record and a 3.98 ERA. The Tigers were finally starting to look like a team that could compete for titles, and they had found their star player.

1956 was another good year for the Tigers, but they still did not have enough power to beat the Yankees. Fred Knorr and John Fetzer joined Walter Briggs Jr. in owning the team. They finished 5th, with an 82-72 record. Harvey Kuenn was the top hitter on the team with a .332 average, 12 homers and 88 RBI. Frank Lary was their best pitcher with a 21-13 record and 3.15 ERA.

In 1957, Walter Briggs Jr. and John McHale became GM’s of the team. Briggs no longer was a part owner of the team. Jack Tighe also became the manager. They finished 78-76, good for 4th in the AL. Al Kaline hit .295 with 23 homers and 90 RBI, while Jim Bunning went 20-8 with a 2.69 ERA.

1958 was a year in which the Tigers finished exactly at .500, with a 77-77 record, 5th in the AL. Bill Norman took over as manager mid-season for Jack Tighe, and Walter Briggs Jr. was no longer a GM with John McHale.  Al Kaline batted .313 with 16 homers and 85 RBI. Leading the pitchers was Frank Lary with a 16-15 record and 2.90 ERA.

In 1959, the Tigers started 2-15 and fired Bill Norman on May 2. Jimmy Dykes took over as the new manager, and he helped the team recover to a 76-78 record, 4th in the AL. Rick Ferrell and Bill DeWitt took over the GM spot. Al Kaline batted .327 with 27 homers and 94 RBI, and Don Mossi went 17-9 with a 3.36 ERA.

We finish this post in 1960. Bill DeWitt was now the only owner on the team, and as a result of a trade and travel issues, the Tigers had 3 managers in one year. On August 3rd, the Tigers traded Jimmy Dykes, their manager, to the Cleveland Indians for Joe Gordon! Billy Hitchcock, the third manager the Tigers had that season, was their interim manager for 1 game after the trade of managers happened because Joe Gordon had not yet arrived yet. The 1960s ended on a high note, however, as Ernie Harwell joined the radio booth, and we know how great he became. The Tigers went 71-83, 6th in the AL. Norm Cash was their best hitter with a .286 average, 18 homers, and 63 RBI. And Frank Lary led the pitching with a 15-15 record and 3.51 ERA.

Thanks for reading this History of the Tigers post and I hope you read the next one next Friday!

History of the Tigers 5: 1941-1950. A Second Title!

Today will be the fifth post in the History of the Tigers series, and we will be looking at the years 1941-1950. To stay updated on new posts and sports news, follow my Twitter, and like my Facebook page.

1941-1943

In 1941, the Tigers finished tied for 4th in the AL, and they were 26 games behind the first place Yankees. Barney McCosky was their best hitter, with a .324 average, 3 home runs and 55 RBI’s. Their best pitcher was Al Benton, with a record of 15-6 and 2.97 ERA. At the end of the 1942 season, the Tigers were 5th, with a record 8 games under the .500 mark. Once again the Yankees won the AL. Barney McCosky hit .293 with 7 home runs and 50 RBI’s, and Virgil Trucks had a record of 14-8 and a 2.74 ERA. In the 1943 season, the Tiger hired Steve O’Neill as their manager. They finished 5th again, but this time they were 2 games over .500. The Yankees won the AL again. Dick Wakefield hit .316 with 7 homers and 79 RBI’s, while Tommy Bridges had a record of 12-7 and a 2.39 ERA.

1944-1945

In 1944 the Tigers finished 2nd in the AL, just one game behind the St. Louis Browns. They finished with a record of 88-66. Their best hitter was Dick Wakefield, with an average of .355, 12 homers, and 55 RBI’s. Pitching was led by Hal Newhouser, with a 29-9 record and a 2.22 ERA. He was named the American League MVP.

In 1945, the Tigers won their 2nd World Series title! They beat the Chicago Cubs in 7 games to claim the championship. Roy Collinbine lead the team in hitting with a .277 average, 18 homers and 93 RBI’s.  In the pitching category, Hal Newhouser was amazing again, with a 25-9 record and a 1.81 ERA, winning his second consecutive MVP.

1946-1948

In 1946, the Tigers had a great record, they just didn’t win the pennant because the Boston Red Sox had an amazing season. The Tigers finished with a record of 92-62, but they were still 12 games behind the Red Sox. Hank Greenberg returned to the Tigers in 1945 after World War II service, and in 1946 he had a power season. He hit .277 with 44 home runs and 127 RBI’s. Hal Newhouser pitched well again, with a 26-9 record and a 1.94 ERA. In 1947, the Tigers had another winning season, but they were still 12 games behind the Yankees. They were on local television for the first time, on WWDT with Harry Heilmann, Ty Tyson, and Paul Wilson. George Kell hit .320 5 home runs and 93 RBI’s. Hal Newhouser had a 17-17 record and a 2.87 ERA. The next season, the Tigers fell all the way to 5th place in the AL.  They changed their TV station to WWJ, but they had the same commentators. They were 78-76, and 18.5 games behind the Indians. Hoot Evers had a .314 average, 10 home runs and 103 RBI’s. On the pitching side, Hal Newhouser had a 21-12 record and a 3.01 ERA.

1949-1950

In the second to last season of this post, the Tiger finished fourth. They hired Red Rolfe to be their new manager. They were 20 games over .500 and 10 games behind the pennant winning Yankees. Vic Wertz had a .304 average 20 home runs and 133 RBI’s. Hal Newhouser once again was the Tigers best pitcher, with an 18-11 record and a 3.36 ERA. In the final season of this post, the Tigers were close to winning the AL season all year, but they ended up finishing three games behind the championship winning Yankees. George Kell was the best hitter again, with a .340 average 8 home runs and 101 RBI’s, and Fred Hutchinson had a 17-8 record and a 3.96 ERA.

Thank you for reading the 5th part of this History of the Tigers series and make sure to read the next post next Friday, covering the years 1951-1960!

History of the Tigers 4: 1931-1940. World Series Victory!

In today’s History of the Tigers, we will be looking at the years 1931-1940, when the Tigers finally broke through to win a World Series. Make sure that you check out my previous posts about the History of the Tigers here, follow my Twitter, and like my facebook page.

1931-1933

In 1931, the Tigers did not have a successful season, as they finished 32 games under .500, and they also were 47 games out of first place, in seventh place in the American League. Their best hitter statistically was John “Rocky” Stone, with an average of .327, 10 homers and 76 RBI’s. Their best pitcher was George Uhle, with a record of 11-12 and an ERA of 3.50. In 1932, the Tigers finished over .500 with a record of 76-75, but they were still 29.5 games behind the first place Yankees. Gee Walker hit very well, with an average of .323, 8 homers and 78 RBI’s. Tommy Bridges was their best pitcher, with a record of 14-12 and an ERA of 3.36. In 1933, the Tigers fired manager Bucky Harris during the season and made third base coach Del Baker interim manager for the remainder of the season. They finished 4 games under .500, and 25 games behind the Washington Senators. Charlie Gehringer was their best hitter, with an average of .325, 12 homers and 105 RBI’s. Tommy Bridges once again went 14-12 and had an ERA of 3.09.

1934-1935

In 1934, the Tigers hired a new manager, and they immediately saw that they had picked a great leader. Mickey Cochrane was a competitive manager who was also a great catcher. The Tiger won the American League, and they won 101 games. They also were broadcast on a second radio station for the first season. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost in the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games. Charlie Gehringer hit .356 with 11 homers and 127 RBI’s, and Schoolboy Rowe went 24-8 with an ERA of 3.45. In 1935, the Tigers broke through to win their first World Series ever. In the regular season, they won 93 games, and they beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, 4 games to 2. Hank Greenberg hit .328, belted 36 home runs and drove in 170 runs. Elden Auker had a record of 18-7 and a 3.83 ERA.

1936-1938

In 1936, Walter Briggs Sr. became the Detroit Tigers full owner. He had been a part owner of the Tigers since 1919, and in 1936 he became the sole owner. The Tigers finished 12 games over .500, but they were still 19.5 games out of first place. Charlie Gehringer hit .354 with 15 homers and 116 RBI’s. In pitching, Schoolboy Rowe had a 19-10 record and a 4.51 ERA. In 1937, the Tigers continued their run of winning seasons, as they won 89 games, but once again the Yankees beat them out in the American League. Charlie Gehringer once again had an amazing season, batting .371 with 14 homers and 96 RBI’s. Elden Auker was their best pitcher, with a 17-9 record and a 3.88 ERA. In the 1938 season, the Tigers won 84 games and lost 70, and Hank Greenberg competed for the single season home run record. He had 58 homers going into the final weekend, but he couldn’t hit enough to tie or beat Babe Ruth’s then-record of 60. He was the first player to win the American League MVP unanimously though. He hit .315 with 58 home runs and 146 RBI’s. In the pitching category, Tommy Bridges had a 13-9 record and an ERA of 4.59.

1939-1940

In the penultimate season of this decade, 1939, the Tigers once again had a record of 84-70 and were fourth in the AL. Hank Greenberg was their best hitter again, with a .312 average, 33 home runs and 112 RBI’s. Tommy Bridges was their best pitcher again, with a record of 17-7 and a 3.50 ERA. In the final season of this post’s coverage, the Tigers were the American League Champions with a record of 90-64, just 1 game ahead of the Cleveland Indians and 2 games ahead of the New York Yankees. Del Baker became their manager. However, they lost in the World Series 4 games to 3 to the Cincinnati Reds. Hank Greenberg hit .340 with 41 home runs and 150 RBI’s, and Bobo Newsome had a record of 21-5 and a 2.83 ERA.

Thank you for reading the  4th History of the Tigers post and make sure you stay tuned for the next one coming out next Friday.

History of the Tigers 3: 1921-1930

In today’s installment of History of the Tigers, we will be looking at the years 1921-1930. This decade was marked by average play by the Tigers, with no World Series appearances.  The Tigers’ hometown was more successful, however, as the population of the City of Detroit grew 58% from 1921-1930. Although not as large of an increase as the prior decade, Detroit was still a quickly growing city.

If you enjoy this post, you can read the first 2 History of the Tigers entries here.  Please check out my facebook page and follow my twitter. Thank you!

1921

The Tigers finished in 6th place in 1921, 27 games behind the American League leaders Yankees, with a record of 71-82. Despite their record, they got 1724 hits and had a batting record of  .316 as a team, both American League records. Detroit outfielders Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann were first and second in the American League batting average race, with Heilmann hitting .394 and Cobb hitting .389. But the reason the Tigers struggled so much was because of their pitching. Their team ERA was 4.40, and they allowed 9 or more runs 28 times.

1922-24

In 1922, the Tigers record was 79-75, and they finished 3rd in the American League, 15 games behind the Yankees. Ty Cobb hit .401, and Harry Heilmann hit 21 home runs, 18 behind American League leader Ken Williams. Their best pitcher was Herman Pillette, with a record of 19-12 and an ERA of 2.85. In 1923, the Tigers finished second in the American League, once again behind the Yankees. Their record was 83-71, and they were 16 games out of first place. Harry Heilmann hit .403 with 18 homers and 115 RBI’s, and Hooks Dauss had a record of 21-13 and a 3.62 ERA. In 1924, the Tigers got their next great player as Charlie Gehringer joined the club. The Tigers stayed in the race for the pennant until the last week of the season, and they were 6 games out of first. Their best batter was Harry Heilmann. He hit .346 with 10 homers and 114 RBI’s. In pitching, Rip Collins was the leader, with a record of 14-7 and a 2.96 ERA.

1925-1928

In 1925, the Tigers finished 8 games over .500, but they were 16 and a 1/2 games behind the Washington Senators. Harry Heilmann once again had a great season, hitting .393 with 13 home runs and 134 RBI’s. Hooks Dauss had another good season as well, going 16-11 with a 3.16 ERA. In 1926, the Tigers were on the radio for the first time. They were on WWJ, which was one of the first commercial radio stations in the United States. The Tigers did not perform better because of this radio coverage though, as they finished 6th in the AL, 12 games behind the Yankees. Henie Manush was the leader in batting, with an average of .378, 14 home runs and 86 RBI’s. In 1927, the Tigers lost an amazing player as Ty Cobb retired. He would later go on to sign with the Philidelphia Athletics in 1927. In the Tigers season, they finished in 4th place, 27.5 games back. Harry Heilmann hit .398 with 14 homers and 120 RBI’s. Earl Whitehill had a record of 16-14 and an ERA of 3.36. In 1928, the Tigers were all the way down to 6th place, 33 games behind the Yankees and 18 games under .500. Harry Heilmann hit .328 with 14 homers and 107 RBI’s. And Ownie Carroll had a record of 16-12 and an ERA of 3.27.

1929-1930

After two disappointing seasons with Ty Cobb’s replacement George Moriarty, the Tigers fired him and hired Bucky Harris, hoping for a more successful season. But the Tigers once again finished 6th with a record 70-84, 36 games out of first place. Bob Fothergill hit .354 with 6 homers and 62 RBI’s. George Uhle had a record of 15-11 with an ERA of 4.08. In the last season of the decade, the Tigers finished 5th and only 4 games under .500. They were 27 games behind the Athletics. Charlie Gehringer had a superior season, hitting .330 with 16 home runs and 98 RBI’s. George Uhle was one of only 7 pitchers with a winning record, but Vic Sorell was probably their best pitcher with a record of 16-11 and an ERA of 3.86.

Sources:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit

http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/history/timeline.jsp

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Tigers

History of the Tigers 2: 1911-1920

It’s Friday, which means the second installment of the History of the Tigers series. Today we are highlighting the years 1911-1920. Make sure you go to my Facebook Page here and follow my Twitter @BenNykanen here. I hope you enjoy Part 2 as much as Part 1!

The period from 1911-1920 was the period of the largest percentage of population growth in the history of Detroit. The city’s population grew from 465,766 residents in 1910 to 993,678 in 1920. This growth was due to the explosion of the automotive industry, and the migration of factory workers from the southern United States to urban areas in the north, including Detroit. Even with the great population growth, the city’s population remained almost entirely white. The Tigers, of course, were also entirely white. Baseball was nowhere near integration. In fact, the Negro Leagues were still mainly “barnstorming” teams. An organized Negro Leagues would not start until the next decade.

Unfortunately, this period of growth for the city of Detroit was not matched by success for the City’s only professional sports team, the Tigers.  In 1911, the Tigers missed the World Series by 12 games but still had a record of 89-65, and Ty Cobb continued his fantastic career by hitting .420, just two points shy of the American League record set by Nap Lajoie 10 years earlier. In 1912, the Tigers moved into a new stadium that was then called Navin Field, and they had a very bad season, finishing with a record of 69-84 and finishing 6th in the American League. The highlight of that season was when all of the players went on strike after Cobb was suspended for punching a fan in New York. The game was played by the Tigers with all sandlot players, and they lost 24-2.

In 1913, the Tigers had another disappointing season, going 66-87, good for just 6th in the American League again. The Tigers bounced back in 1914, winning 80 games, but that was still only good enough for 4th in the American League. But 1915 was the year when they recovered and showed their greatness again. The Tigers won 100 games, but manager Hughie Jennings remembered that season as “the biggest disappointment of his career” because of the Red Sox, led by Babe Ruth, who won the pennant with 101 wins. In 1916, the Tigers continued their winning ways with  87 wins, but the Red Sox claimed their second straight pennant.

1917 was a year where the Tigers were average, but not good enough to win the pennant because they were not good enough to finish first. In 1918, the Tigers went back to losing, going just 55-71 and finishing just 7th in the AL. 1919 was the Tigers final winning season in the decade, going 80-60, good enough for 4th in the Al. In their final season in this part, the Tigers had a horrible season with a record of 61-93, once again 7th in the AL.

I hope you enjoyed the second part of this History of the Tigers series. If you did, please share this article on social media or with your friends.

Sources: http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/history/timeline.jsp, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit

History of the Tigers #1: 1894-1910

This is the first entry of a new series starting on BSW, where every week we will be looking back at a decade of the Detroit Tigers history. This series will be posted every Friday, so make sure you look for it on the blog or on the BSW facebook page. Also, I will soon be starting a weekly series where you can vote for the topic you want me to write an article about, so make sure you stay tuned for that. Thanks!

When were the Tigers founded?

Most people think that the Tigers were founded in 1901, when they started playing as a major league team in the American League, but they were actually formed as a minor league club in 1894, when they played in the Western League. The Western League was renamed as the American League in 1900, but the Tigers still competed as a minor league club, as did the entire AL. The following year, the Tigers and the rest of the American League decided to compete at the major league level, directly competing with the existing National League (this is why you often hear the National League referred to as the “Senior Circuit”). Beginning in 1901,  the AL and NL fiercely competed for players and fans.

First Major League Game

On April 24, 1901, the Detroit Tigers prepared to play their first major league game in the American League. But the game was postponed, so the fans had to wait another day to see the Tigers play. On April 25, 1901, the Tigers officially made their AL debut. Going into the bottom of the 9th the Tigers were down 13-4. But the Tigers rallied back and they ended up winning with a walk off 2 run double from Frank “Pop” Dillon. The Tigers had a record of 74-61, which now would probably be good enough today to make the playoffs, but the World Series did not commence until 1903, and even then only the top team from each League competed, as the winner of the regular season in each League went directly to the World Series.

Losing then Winning

The Tigers had a very rough 3 years after that having a losing record in all 3 seasons and a combined record of 179-244. Those years must have been tough for Tiger fans, but in 1905 the future of the Tigers changed forever. And it came in the form of a skinny kid from Georgia. His name was Tyrus Raymond Cobb. The Tigers acquired Cobb from Augusta in the Sally League for Eddie Cicotte and $700, plus $50 for immediate delivery. Cobb played his first game with the Tigers on August 30, 1905. The Tigers had their second winning season ever that year, going 79-74. The next year the Tigers had a losing record of 71-78, but in 1907, the Tigers changed their manager from Bill Armour to Hughie Jennings. The Tigers needed a long term manager after they had changed their managing 5 times in their first 6 seasons in the American League. And Hughie Jennings was the man for the job. Known for his “Eh-yah’s” and hollering in the third base coaching box, Jennings led the Tigers to the pennant in his first season as their manager! The Tigers went 92-58 but lost to the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

The American League Dynasty

The Tigers were the best team in the American League for 3 straight years, making the World Series in 1907, 08, and 09. The problem is, they lost all 3 times. They were just 4-12-1 in the 3 World Series, and they couldn’t seem to beat the Cubs or Pirates. In the last season of this period of time, the Tigers had another impressive season, with a record of 86-68, but the Philidelphia Athletics went 102-48, and the Tigers finished 3rd in the American League.

I hope you enjoyed the first post in the new History of the Tigers series, and if you do, it would be greatly appreciated if you liked the Facebook post and liked my page so all your friends can see my page. Thank you!

 

Sources: All post-1900 info is provided by this website. Pre-1900 info is from here.  All records are from here.