Tigers Time

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Without question the Detroit Tigers are the most unsung of the four teams that made it to the League Championship Series. The Yankees have won with great regularity. The Cardinals are reigning World Champs and the most successful National League team. The Giants are one of the most storied of NL franchises, particularly between 1885 and 1965. But Detroit? For most of its history Detroit has been a  run of the mill member of the American League.

The announcers last night spent a lot of time reminding us that this will be Detroit’s 11th World Series (out of 107). They managed to win four of them (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984) losing the other (1907-09, 1934, 1940, and 2006). They’ve been sporadically good, note how their championships tended to clump prior to 1946, but mostly they’ve been also rans.

That’s really kind of a shame. The Tigers have produced a pretty fair set of players over the 112 seasons they’ve played. Take a look at this outfield: Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Al Kaline. Then add in this infield: Hank Greenberg, Charley Gehringer, Alan Trammel, George Kell. Toss in Bill Freehan behind the plate and Harry Heilman DHing and you’ve got a pretty good set of hitters. The pitching isn’t as stout, but Hal Newhouser, Jack Morris, Dizzy Trout, Frank Lary, Mickey Lolich, Denny McLain, and Justin Verlander make a nice set of mound men. You’d think a team with this kind of talent (and I left out guys like Norm Cash and Willie Horton) would be better known.

So good luck to the Tigers whoever they play. If it’s St. Louis, it will be the fourth time (the Cards lead 2-1). If it’s the Giants, it will be the first time the two franchises have squared off. May it be a great Series and may Detroit play well, win or lose.


4 Responses to “Tigers Time”

  1. footinthebucket Says:


    Yes, the Detroit Tigers, despite having a great history, have often had mediocrity during much of their career. I’m rooting for them, just as I rooted for them last year until they were eliminated by the Rangers. How can one hate a team that has a character like Jim Leyland as a manager?

    In MY memory, the Tigers went from being on the top of the world in 1968 to spending almost the entire 1970’s towards or at the bottom of the American League’s Eastern Division.

    They weren’t very good from 1951 through 1961, either, that’s for sure, which is what may have prompted Mad Magazine, in 1961 to publish the following parody of William Blake’s famous 1794 poem, “The Tyger,” with the most memorable part being “Tyger Tyger burning bright! In the forests of the night!”

    So as long as we’ve been on this poetry kick lately, “V”, I present you with this:

    Entitled “Tigers, Tigers Burning Bright”, from Mad Magazine, 1961:

    Tigers, Tigers burning bright
    In the ball parks of the night
    Your pitching’s fair, your field adroit,
    So why no pennants for Detroit?

    You blaze around the big league parks
    With bats that fairly give off sparks,
    But when they total up the score…
    You’ve lost again to Baltimore.

    The Cleveland Indians go to work.
    They beat you good; so does New York.
    When Boston adds a mortal blow,
    All you can shout’s “Look out below!”

    Tigers, Tigers, burning bright
    In the ball parks of the night.
    Someday the fans will get their fill
    And ship the team to Louisville.

    Ironically, the Tigers had a spectacular season in 1961, the year this was published in Mad Magazine, going 101-61. Of COURSE, the YANKEES went 109-53, leaving the Tigers in second place, eight games back!


  2. footinthebucket Says:

    Your welcome, V. Not only that, but it had a terrifically funny drawing to go along with it (as only Mad Magazine could). Too bad I can’t put the drawing on here.


  3. William Miller Says:

    They’ve also had some of baseball’s more interesting stories / characters, like Mark “The Bird” Fidrych and Ron LeFlore (who was in jail before he became a star ball player.)

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