1901: On April 24th the Tigers prepared to take to the field for their first official American League game, as a standing room only crowd was anticipated at Bennett Park, but unpredictable weather postponed the opening by a day. The next day in front of 10,000 fans, the Tigers entered the ninth inning trailing Milwaukee, 13-4. A series of hits and miscues followed, moving the score to 13-12 with two runners on, and two out, as Frank “Pop” Dillon faced reliever Bert Husting. The left-handed hitter rapped a two run double to complete a 14-13-comeback win. The Tigers would go on to finish their inaugural season in third place with a solid 74-62 record.
1902: The Tigers would not do as well in their second season as they struggled all year and finished in seventh place with a record of 52-83.
1903: The Tigers struggles continued as they finished 25 games out in fifth place with a record of 65-71.
1904: The Tigers post their third straight losing season finishing in seventh place with a record of 62-90.
1905: On August 30th Tyrus Raymond Cobb made his Major League debut with Tigers. Over the next 22 years he would be a fixture in the Tigers lineup setting many different records along the way and earning the reputation as the dirtiest player that ever lived. The Georgia Peach as he was known would sharpen his spikes before each game and slide feet up with the intent of drawing blood from opposing players. Cobb would constantly get in fights with both teammates an opponent and would be the most hated player in baseball. In Cobb’s first season the Tigers would improve from a 90-loss season to finish in third Place with a 79-74 record.
1906: In Ty Cobb’s first full season the Tigers suffers a family tragedy, affecting his on the field performance as the Tigers fall to 6th Place with a disappointing 71-78 record.
1907: With a .350 batting average Ty Cobb wins the first of nine straight batting titles. The Tigers also see the emergence of two other individuals, neither of them players, who would both play significant roles in turning the fortunes of the young Tigers. One was Frank Navin, who began as a bookkeeper with the franchise in 1902 before acquiring a full half interest ownership in the club and becoming team president. After Ban Johnson’s retirement in 1927, Navin came to be regarded by many as the most powerful man in the American League. The other was Hughie Jennings, a keen judge of talent who would lead the club to three consecutive league championships as one of the most colorful managers in major league history. That same 1907 season, the Tigers won their first pennant, taking the American League by one and half games with a mark of 92-58. However, the Tigers would go on to be swept in four straight after tying the first game of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Among the World Series disappointments is Ty Cobb who only hits .200 in the Fall Classic.
1908: Thanks to Ty Cobb taking his second straight batting title, along with winning the RBI crown the Tigers win 90 games and their second straight pennant by only a half a game. In the World Series the Tigers face the Chicago Cubs in the World Series for the second year in a row. However like the previous year the Tigers don’t put up much of a fight winning only one game and being shutout in the final two games. However, Cobb does put up better numbers with a .368 average including four hits in the Tigers lone win in Game 3.
1909: Ty Cobb leads the way again capturing the Triple Crown, and leading the Tigers to a 98-54 record for the 3rd straight AL Pennant. In the World Series the Tigers face the Pittsburgh Pirates who are lead by Honus Wagner, who is as close to a polar opposite to Cobb as they come. This would set the stage for one of the best early World Series. The Pirates would take Game 1 thanks to a game saving catch by Tommy Leach. The Tigers would bounce back to take Game 2 in a game highlighted by Ty Cobb’s steal of home. In Game 3 the Pirates led by Honus Wagner’s three hits and RBI hold off the Tigers late rally to take a 2-1 series lead. The Tigers would even the series in Game 4 thanks to George Mullins shutout. However the Tigers would face the brink in Game 6 after Fred Clarke’s three-run Homer broke open a tie game in Game 5. The Tigers would bounce back once again to force the first Game 7 in World Series history. However it was not meant to be as the Bucs scored eight runs as the Tigers walked the plank in the Series for the third year in a row.
1910: In one of the strangest races for the batting title ever Ty Cobb battles Cleveland’s Nap Lajoie to the final ay of the season. To add extra drama the Chalmer’s Automobile Company promised a car to the winner. With the Tigers out of the Pennant race Cobb decides to sit out the final games of the season thinking his crown was safe at .385. However Lajoie benefited from the hatred of Cobb and reached base every time in a double header against the St. Louis Browns. However one of the hits was ruled an error and Cobb held on to the batting title by one thousandth of a point. In the end Chalmer’s would gives both players a new car, as the Tigers finished in third place with an 86-68 record.
1911: There would be no doubt to the 1911 batting champion as Ty Cobb would bat a personal best .420 to win his fifth consecutive batting title. However, the Tigers would not be as successful finishing 13 and half games out of first in second Place with a solid 89-65 record.
1912: The Tigers begin play in their new stadium named after Frank Navin. The Stadium would change names, but would remain the home of the Tigers for the next 87 years. However, the story of the season comes during a game at New York in May, where Ty Cobb receives his typical heckling but this time goes in the stands to attack a fan that referred to him as a “half-nigger”. Cobb beats the fan relentlessly, and when he is finally pulled away it is learned that the fan has no hands as was virtually defenseless to Cobb’s attack. In response the American League suspends Cobb indefinitely for his vicious attack. Cobb’s Tiger teammates feeling he was in the right for being called such an insult decided to strike in protest of Cob’s suspension. With the players all walking out in support of Cobb the team is forced to field a bunch of players from a sandlot. The sandlot players lose to the Philadelphia Athletics 24-2 and the Tigers players are ordered back and fined by the American League. Cobb would eventually return after a week and would go on to win his sixth straight batting title with a .410 average, as the Tigers slipped to sixth Place with a 69-84 record.
1915: Ty Cobb wins the last of his nine straight batting titles as the Tigers win 100 games. However, they would fall a frustrating two and half games short of the American League Pennant.
1916: Despite hitting .371 Ty Cobb fails to win the batting crown, as the Tigers still put up a solid season finishing in third place with an 87-67 record.
1917: With a .383 average Ty Cobb regain the batting title. However, the Tigers would play mediocre baseball all season finishing in fourth place with a 78-75 record.
1918: Despite Ty Cobb winning the batting crown again with a .382 average the Tigers struggle all season finishing in seventh place with a disappointing record of 55-71.
1919: Ty Cobb wins his record 12th batting title in 13 years with an average of .384, as the Tigers finished in fourth place with an 80-60 record.
1920: Ty Cobb misses out on the batting crown as the Tigers struggle all season finishing in seventh place with a miserable record of 61-93.
1921: In his first year as player-manager Ty Cobb hits an impressive .389, but loses the batting crown to teammate Harry Heilmann. However, it does not translate into wins as the Tigers finish in sixth place with a 71-82 record.
1922: With a .401 batting average Ty Cobb hits over .400 for the third and final time in his career. However, he dose not come close to winning the batting title as St. Louis Browns George Sisler hits an incredible .420. The Tigers would experience frustration as team also finishing in third place with a 79-75 record.
1923: The Tigers climb up to second place but finish a distant 16 games behind the New York Yankees with a record of 83-71.
1924: The Tigers finish in third place in a tight three-team race for the American League Pennant with a solid, but unrewarding record of 86-68.
1925: The Tigers finish in fourth place with a record of 83-71.
1926: The Ty Cobb era comes to an end after 22 years in Detroit when The Georgia Peach is sold to the Philadelphia Athletics. Cobb would go on to retire after only two season in Philadelphia. He would end his career with 4,191 hits a record that stood for almost 60 years. He would also end his career with a lifetime batting average of .367 that may never be topped. In Cobb’s final season the Tigers would finish in sixth place with a record of 79-75.
1927: In their first year without Ty Cobb the Tigers still manage a respectable 81-72 record, while finishing in fourth Place.
1928: The Tigers would struggle all season finishing in sixth place with a poor record of 68-86.
1929: The Tigers finish in sixth place for the second straight season posting a record of 70-84.
1930: The Tigers continue to sit in the middle of the pack as they finish in fifth place with a record of 75-79.
1931: The Tigers struggle all season as they finish in seventh place with a terrible record of 61-93.
1932: The Tigers end a string of four consecutive losing seasons, with a 76-75 record, that lands them in fifth place.
1933: The Tigers suffer a setback falling back below .500, and landing in fifth place with a disappointing record of 75-79.
1934: Prior to the start of the season the Tigers, who were coming of five losing seasons in six years attempted to acquire Babe Ruth from the Yankees to fill both the need for another hitter, and a new manager. However Frank Navin was unable to pull off the deal and was forced to look elsewhere. Navin would end up purchasing Catcher Mickey Cocherane from the Philadelphia Athletics, and named him catcher-manager. The move ended up working out as Cocherane claimed the American League MVP, and led the Tigers to 101-53 record, which was good enough to win the American League Pennant by seven games over the New York Yankees. However the star of the season may have been Schoolboy Rowe who set a Major League record by winning 16 straight decisions. In the World Series the Tigers faced a St. Louis Cardinals team that was known as the Gas House Gang, for their rough style of play. After splitting the first four games the Tigers won Game 5 on Charlie Gehringer’s home run, and held a 3-2 series lead with the final two games in Detroit. However the Tigers would lose Game 6 on Paul Dean’s 6th inning single, and would lose Game 7 in an 11-0 rout. During the Game 7 rout a brawl erupted after the Cards Joe Medwick slid hard into third base. After the dust settled Medwick had to be removed form the game for his own safety after Tiger fans started throwing bottles, and other debris at him. The loss marked the fourth World Series disappointment for Detroit Tigers.
1935: With Hank Greenberg capturing the MVP with a league high 36 home runs, and 170 RBI the Tigers won their second Consecutive American League Pennant, with a 93-58 record. In the World Series the Tigers faced the Chicago Cubs who crushed the Tigers championship hopes twice before. In Game 1 it looked as if it was well on the way of happening again as the Cubs shutout the Tigers 3-0 in Detroit. However, the Tigers would bounce back right away when the first fourTigers scored in Game 2 on the way to an 8-3 series evening win. In Game 3 the Tigers would win in extra Innings after blowing a two run lead in the ninth inning. The Tigers would win Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead, but after losing Game 5 they found themselves in the same position as the year before up 3-2 with the final two games at home. In Game 6 the score would be tied heading to the bottom half of the ninth inning. Mickey Cocherane would lead off with a single, a grounder would move him to second base, with Goose Goslin stepping up to the plate. Goslin would promptly deliver a single and Cocherane would score the Series winning run to capture the Detroit Tigers their first ever World Championship. The joy of the Tigers championship would be short lived as club President Frank Navin succumbed to a heart ailment on November 13th just a little over a month after the end of the World Series. Walter Briggs Sr. who was already half owner of the club would go on to take over the club’s presidency.
1936: The Tigers follow up their World Championship by finishing nearly 20 games out of first despite finishing in second place with an 83-71 record.
1937: For the second straight season the Tigers finish in a distant second place, despite posting a solid record of 89-65.
1938: Manager Mickey Coherence is fired after the Tiger slump most of the first half of the season holding a record of 47-51. However, under new Manager Del Baker the Tigers would finish on a strong note winning nearly two-thirds of their final 56 games to finish in fourth place with a record of 84-70.
1939: The Tigers are unable to build off their strong finish as they land in fifth place despite a respectable record of 81-73, finishing 26 and half games out of first place.
1940: After losing out to the New York Yankees for the American League Pennant four years in a row The Tigers find themselves in a tight race down to the finish with the Yankees, and Cleveland Indians. Led by Hank Greenberg who won his second MVP, and BoBo Newsome who won 21 games on the mound, the Tigers win the pennant by one game with a 90-64 record. In the World Series the Tigers would face the Cincinnati Reds, and the two teams would split the first four games. The Tigers would capture Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, as BoBo Newsome won his second game of the series. However, after the Tigers lost Game 6 they would call on Newsome to pitch Game 7 on just one day rest. Through the first 6 innings Newsome kept the Reds off the board, but back-to-back 7th Inning doubles gave the Reds a 2-1 lead that would hold up, as the Tigers lost the World Series for the fifth time in six trips.
1941: Anticipating the United States getting involved in World War II, Hank Greenberg enlists in the Army in May, only 19 games in to the season. Without him the Tigers would slip to fifth place with a record of 75-79. All was not lost for Detroit that season as Briggs Stadium played host to the 1941 All-Star Game. The Game would be remembered as one of the best ever as Ted Williams’ walk off home run won the game 7-5 for the American League.
1942: The Tigers continue to struggle with Hank Greenberg off fighting in World War II, finishing in fifth place with a record of 73-81.
1943: Still playing without Hank Greenberg the Tigers play mediocre baseball finishing in fifth place with a record of 78-76.
1944: With American League MVP Hal Newhouser winning 29 games and Dizzy Trout winning 27, the Tigers climbed back into the Pennant picture. However, the rest of the team could provide little help, as the Tigers missed out on the pennant by one game, with a record of 88-66.
1945: Again the Tigers find themselves in a tight pennant race as Hal Newhouser wins 25 games with a 1.81 ERA to claim his second straight American League MVP. The MVP win for Newhouser makes him the first pitcher to win back-to-back MVP, and only the second to win two (No one has accomplished either feat since). As for the pennant hopes the Tigers would get a boost when Hank Greenberg returned to play the in the second half after Adolph Hitler was defeated. Fate would intervene to help Detroit, as the Washington Nationals, who led the American League were forced to sit and watch the final week of the season. Prior to the season Nats ownership decided to end the season a week early to ready their stadium for football. The move would backfire, as the Tigers were able to surged ahead and claim their seventh American League Pennant with an 88-65 record. In the World Series the Tigers would face a familiar opponent in the Chicago Cubs. The Tigers would get off on the wrong foot has Hal Newhouser was shelled in Game 1 and the Cubs took the first game 9-0. Fortunately, the Tigers would bounce back to win Game 2 thanks to a three run Homer from Hank Greenberg. After the Cubs won Game 3 the Tigers would bounce back to claim both Games 4 and 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. However a wild Game 6 would see the Cubs win in the 9th on Stan Hack’s line double to force a seventh and deciding game. However, Game 7 would not even be close as the Tigers jumped on Cubs pitcher Hank Doorway to score five runs without the durable Cubs pitcher recording an out in the first. Newhouser would go on to pitch a complete game as the Tigers won 9-3 to claim their second World Championship.
1946: The Tigers follow up their Championship season by winning 92 games, but they would fall 12 games short of a return trip to the World Series.
1947: The Tigers fall 12 games short of first again finishing in second place with a record of 85-69.
1948: The Tigers play mediocre baseball all season finishing in fifth place with a record of 78-76.
1949: After a mediocre season the Tigers put up a solid 87-67 record, but can only mange a fourth place finish ten games out of first.
1950: With the acquisition of future Hall-of-Famer George Kell and an influx of young talent the Tigers lead the American League for 119 days. However, the powerful New York Yankees would over take them and win the pennant by three games, as the Tigers settled for second place with a 95-59 record.
1951: After challenging for the Pennant the Tigers suffer through a disappointing 73-81 season while finishing in fifth place.
1952: The Tigers suffer through one of the worst seasons in franchise history that would see them land in last place with an awful 50-104 record.
1953: The Tigers continue to struggle finishing in sixth place with a record of 60-94.
1954: The Tigers struggles continue as they finish in fifth place with a sub-mediocre record of 68-86.
1955: At the age of 20 Al Kaline playing, who was playing in just his second full season wins the American League Batting Title with a .340 mark. This would make Kaline the youngest player ever to capture the batting crown. However the Tigers would not fair as well finishing in fifth place with a 79-75 record.
1956: The Tigers crack the 80-win barrier for the first time in six years, with an 82-72 record , but still finish 15 games out of first in fifth place.
1957: The Tigers suffer a slight setback finishing in fourth place with a disappointing record of 78-76.
1958: The Tigers continue to play mediocre baseball finishing in fifth place with a losing record of 76-78.
1959: The Tigers continue to float around .500 finishing with a 76-78 record for the second straight season while landing in fourth place.
1960: Four years after the Briggs family sold the ball cub to a group of radio and television executives the Tigers are taken over solely by one of those executives John Fetzer. One of Fetzer’s first moves was to renovate and rename the Stadium to the more familiar Tiger Stadium. However, the team would still struggle to finish in sixth place with a 71-83 record.
1961: With Norm Cash winning the batting title with a .361 average, the Tigers win 101 games. However, the Tigers would finish in second place, eight games behind the New York Yankees, who were one of the greatest teams in baseball history.
1962: The Tigers are unable to match their outstanding 101-win season, falling back to fourth place with an 86-75 record.
1963: The Tigers continue to produce dwindling results finishing in fifth place with a disappointing record of 79-83.
1964: The Tigers rebound slightly climbing back to fourth place while posting a record of 85-77.
1965: The Tigers rebound off three mediocre seasons to an 89-73, but still can’t get close to an American League Championship, finishing in fourth Place, 13 games out of 1st.
1966: Manager Chuck Dressen is forced to step down due to an illness early in the season. Under Managers Bob Swift and Frank Skaff the Tigers would not miss a beat finishing in third place with a solid 88-74 record.
1967: With Earl Wilson leading the way with 22 wins, and four Tigers slugging 20 or more Home Runs the Tigers find themselves in the thick of a five team race for the American League pennant. The Tigers would stay in the race until the final day of the season with a 91-71 record, but would come up one game short as the Boston Red Sox claimed the Pennant.
1968: After 23 years of frustration, there would be no denying the Tigers, as they won 103 games and claimed the American League Pennant by 12 games over the Baltimore Orioles. The story of the Tigers season would be Denny McLain who would have a career year winning 31 games and claiming both the American League Cy Young, and MVP. The 31 wins by McLain will likely go down as the last player ever to win 30 games in a single season. In the World Series the Tigers would face the St. Louis Cardinals who were trying to claim their 2nd Consecutive World Championship. Game 1 would see Denny McLain face the Cards Bob Gibson who himself won both the Cy Young and MVP with a record low ERA of 1.12. However Gibson would grab all the headlines shutting out the Tigers, while striking out a World Series single game record 17. The Tigers would bounce back in Game 2 as Mickey Lolich pitched a complete game and helped himself at the plate with a home run. However the Tigers would find themselves in a 3-1 series hole after the Cards won Game 3 on Tim McCarver’s three run Homer, and Game as Bob Gibson shut down the Tigers for the second time in the Fall Classic. In Game 5 things would look even bleaker for the Tigers as the Cards took an early 3-0 lead. However, Mickey Lolich would not allow another run, and the Tigers would rally and would take the lead on Al Kaline’s seventh Inning Bases Loaded Single. Despite the win the Tigers were still backed against the wall trailing 3-2 and heading to St. Louis. The Tigers would go on to win Game 6 thanks to ten runs in the third inning, as Denny McLain’s won his first series game after losing his previous two fall classic starts. Despite forcing a seventh and deciding game the Tigers still faced an uphill battle as the Cards sent Bob Gibson to the hill for his eighth straight Series win. To counter Gibson the Tigers sent Mickey Lolich to the mound who himself was seeking his third win of the series. The game would be scoreless until the 7th, when Jim Northrup lined a ball over the head of the Cardinals Curt Flood to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. The three runs would be enough, as Lolich would allow just one un as the Tigers went on to claim their third World Championship.
1969: Despite Denny McLain winning 24 games, and earning a split of the Cy Young Award, the Tigers would not be a factor for the Eastern Division Title, as the finished a distant 19 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles with a 90-72 record.
1970: Denny McLain who won 55 games in 1968 and 1969 would experience a sudden and embarrassing fall from grace. The season started with McLain being suspended for two months for associating with known gamblers, and the mob. The Tigers would fall to 4th Place with a 79-83 record, as McLain finish the season with a 3-5 record. Following the season he would be traded to the Washington Senators following the season. McLain’s career would end after two more additional poor season. After baseball McLain’s life would take an even harder fall, as he would spend much of the next 30 years in and out of prison.
1971: For the third and final time Tiger Stadium hosted the All-Star Game. The Game would be forever remember for Reggie Jackson of the Oakland A’s majestic home off the Rightfield Light tower, as the American League broke a eight game All Star Losing streak with a 6-4 win. The American League will not win another All-Star Game for 12 years. However, win were not as scarce for the Tigers as the team finished in second Place with a 91-71 record.
1972: With Billy Martin leading the way as manager the Tigers finish the season with a record of 86-70, a half game ahead of the second place Boston Red Sox. The Tigers would benefit from a strike at the start of the season, which gave the Tigers one more game, then the Sox that the Tigers won and were able to claim the division with. In subsequent years division champs would have to at least win by one game because of the controversy caused by this finish. In the ALCS the Tigers would face the Oakland Athletics. The A’s would take the first two games to place the Tigers on the brink with series heading to Detroit. After the Tigers won Game 3 they faced the end of their season trailing 3-1 in the tenth inning of Game 4. However a walk, wild pitch, and an error set Jim Northrup up with runners on 2nd and 3rd with a run in. Northrup would deliver with a single to score the tying and winning runs to force a fifth and deciding game. However Blue Moon Odom would hold the Tigers to just one run in Game 5 as the A’s went on to the World Series with a 2-1 win.
1973: Coming off their first Division Championship the Tigers struggle, while Manager Billy Martin is fired in the middle of the season after feuding with management. With Joe Schultz leading the team the remainder of the season the Tigers would finish in third Place with an 85-77 record.
1974: On September 24th Al Kaline doubled down the RF line at Tiger Stadium to collect his 3,000th career hit. In what would end up being Kaline’s final season, the Tigers great would end up collecting seven more hits to bring his career total to 3,007, as the Tigers sank to last place with a 72-90 record.
1975: In their first year without Al Kaline the Tigers struggles would worsen, as the team finished dead last with a woeful 57-102 record.
1976: With the Tigers wallowing at the bottom of the American League Eastern Division one player would emerge as a fan favorite for not only Tigers fans, but also all of baseball. That player was 22-year-old rookie pitcher Mark Fidrych who earned the nickname of The Bird, and would thrill fans with his antics on the mound and the way he dominated American League batters. Fidrych would often fidget with the dirt on the mound and talk to the baseball before delivering a pitch would be the player everyone would come out to see in 1976. The Tigers would sell out every game he pitched, and when he went on the road they would notice larger then normal crowds there just to watch him. Fidrych would become the top story of the first half of the season and even started in the All-Star Game. At season’s end Fidrych would capture the American League ERA title, and won 19 games on the way to the Rookie of the Year. However the Tigers could only mange to finish in fifth place with a 74-87 record.
1977: In Spring Training Mark Fidrych would injure his knee and it would cost him to miss the six weeks of the season. The Bird would come back strong winning six games, and he would be named to All-Star Team. However, during a game in Baltimore on the fourth of July Fidrych would get shelled, and would begin noticing a problem with his arm. He would make just one start after the All-Star Break before shutting it down for the rest of the season. Little did any one know at the time “The Bird” would never be the same again as he only won another four games in three years before being released by the Tigers in 1980. Fidrych would have his career end quietly in the minor leagues just a few years later. One interesting side note came when a rookie came up to take a start for Fidrych. A disappointed Tiger Stadium crowd, who wanted to see the Bird pitch, would boo the rookie. The Rookie was Jack Morris who would go on to win more games in the 1980’s then any other pitcher. With Tigers well out of the race in September, and on the way to a fourth place 74-88 record, the Tigers called up two rookie middle infielders from the Minor Leagues. The two rookies Alan Trammell, and Lou Whitaker would go on to lay much of the next 18 years side by side on the Tigers infield playing a total of 1,918 games together.
1978: The Tigers end a string of four straight losing seasons with an 86-76 record, but can only mange a fifth place finish.
1979: Midway through the season the Tigers would hire Sparky Anderson to lead the young Tigers into battle on the field. Anderson who was recently fired by the Reds made name for himself as the manger of “The Big Red Machine” which dominated the National League for much of the 70’s winning two World Series titles and four pennants. Under Anderson the Tigers would go on to finish in fifth place with an 85-76 record.
1980: In Sparky Anderson’s first full season as Manager the Tigers would remain in the middle of the pack finishing in fifth place with a record of 84-78.
1981: In a season split in two by a two month strike the Tigers challenge for first place before and after the work stoppage posting a solid overall record of 60-49.
1982: The Tigers hover around .500 all season, finishing in fourth place with a disappointing record of 89-73.
1983: The Tigers youth finally begins to gel as the Tigers manage to get back into a real Pennant Race for the first time in ten years. However, the Baltimore Orioles would end up pulling away and the Tigers finish six games back despite a 92-70 record.
1984: The Tigers would get off to a flying start and would not look back, as they won their first nine games highlighted by a No-Hitter by Jack Morris. Even after losing the tenth game of the season the Tigers would not slow down going on to win 35 of their first 40 games for the best 40 game record in baseball history. The Tigers would go on to win a club best 104-58 record, winning the division easily by 15 games over the second place Toronto Blue Jays. The Tigers dominance would carry over into the ALCS as they swept an over matched Kansas City Royals team in three straight. In the World Series the Tigers would face the upstart San Diego Padres who no one expected to make it this far. The Tigers would fall behind early in Game 1, but Larry Herndon delivered a two run Homer, and Jack Morris settled down as the Tigers took the opener 3-2. The Tigers would be stunned in Game 2 by Kurt Bevaqua’s three run Homer which helped the Pads even the series at a game apiece heading to Detroit. The Tigers would benefit from 11 walks to win Game 3 by a 5-2 score, and would then take a commanding 3-1 lead with help of a pair of 2-run Homers by Alan Trammel in Game 4. In Game 5 the Tigers would take an early lead thanks to a Homer by Kirk Gibson. However the Padres would battle back to tie the game. The Tigers would retake the lead only to have the Pads pull to within one with the game heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. With two on and two outs the Padres decided not walk Kirk Gibson, who would promptly deliver a majestic home run into the upper deck to slam the door shut on the Padres’ hopes. The Tigers fourth World Championship would also give Sparky Anderson the distinction of being the first Manager to lead a team to win World Championship in both leagues.
1985: At the age of 38 Darrell Evans would hit 40 home runs, and would become the oldest player to ever win a HR title. Despite Evans’ Home Runs the Tigers could not repeat the magic of the year before and would manage to an 84-78 record, finishing in third Place 15 games out of first.
1986: The Tigers struggle to injuries and frustration early in the season as they are never real a factor in the race despite a strong finish that sees tem land in third place with an 87-75 record.
1987: The Tigers would struggle early getting off to an 11-19 start, but the Tigers would get back into the race in the second half and would find themselves in a battle with the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League Eastern Division Title until the final week of the season. All hope looked lost for the Tigers when they lost a series in Toronto with a week to go to fall four games out of first place. However the Blue Jays would lose four straight games and would enter the final series of the season with a one game lead over the Tigers with three games in Detroit. The Tigers took the first two, 4-3 on Friday and 3-2 in 12 innings the next day. With a one-game lead, Frank Tanana out-dueled the Jays’ Jimmy Key on Sunday as Larry Herndon’s solo homer proved the only scoring in a 1-0 Eastern Division clinching triumph, as the Tigers posted a 98-64 record. In the ALCS the Tigers would face the Minnesota Twins who won only 85 games to win a weak Western Division. However the Twins had a tremendous home field advantage, and with first two games in the Metrodome they would take full advantage, and the Tigers were in the hole 2-0 heading to Detroit. In Game 3 the Tigers saw a 5-0 lead wilt away, and entered the ninth inning trailing 6-5. However Pat Sheridan delivered a dramatic walk of Homer and the Tigers showed life. Unfortunately for the Tigers the life would only be temporary as the Twins won the next two games in Detroit to complete the upset and advance to the World Series.
1988: Despite the loss of Kirk Gibson to free agency the Tigers find themselves in thick of the race until the final week of the season once again. However, the Tigers could not repeat the final week magic, and wound up in second place just one game behind the first place Boston Red Sox with an 88-74 record.
1989: After being one of the most consistent teams in the 80’s the Tigers stun their fans and all of baseball by struggling early and falling into the Eastern Division Cellar, as the Tigers would not recover from a bad start posting a stunning 59-103 record. Among the Tigers having a disappointing year, was Jack Morris who had a career worst record of 6-14.
1990: Cecil Fielder who was considered a bust in Toronto would return to the majors with Tigers after a brief exile in Japan. Fielder would go on to win the HR and RBI crowns in his first season with the Tigers, as. Fielder’s 51 Homers marked the first time a player reached the 50 home runs mark in 13 years. As the Tigers recovered from an awful 103-loss season, finishing in third place with a 79-83 record.
1991: With Cecil Fielder repeating as home run and RBI champion the Tigers would find themselves in the race for the division title until the end of the season. However, the Tigers would fade late, and would wind up in a tie for second place, seven games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays with an 84-78 record.
1992: The Tigers would struggle again and would fall to sixth Place with a disappointing record of 75-87.
1993: The Tigers rebound off their poor season to finish in third Place with a solid record of 85-77.
1994: The Tigers were floundering in last place with a record of 53-62, when the season ended prematurely due to a Player’s Strike on August 12th.
1995: After 16 and half season at the helm Sparky Anderson stepped down as manager of the Detroit Tigers, after a fourth Place 60-84 season. Although the early years of his Detroit tenure are marked with success the Tigers manage to make it into the World Series just once.
1996: As the players that led the Tigers for most of the last 15 years retired, management was unable to find suitable replacements. This would leave the Tigers with a bad team in a crumbling ballpark. The Tigers entered the season with Buddy Bell at the helm and started losing early and often. By midseason the Tigers were well on their way to 100 loses and decided to deal Cecil Fielder to the New York Yankees. In the deal the Tigers were unable to get anything of value and fell even more eventually establishing a club worse record of 53-109.
1997: After their wretched 109-loss season the Tigers mange a 26-game improvement to post a 79-83 record, which was good enough to land them in third Place.
1998: With expansion the Tigers are moved to the American League Central Division. However, in a new division, the Tigers would fall back to last place posting a 65-97 record.
1999: After 87 years of baseball at Tigers Stadium’s famous location on Michigan and Trummbull Avenues the Tigers played their last game on September 27th. With a sellout crowd of 43,356 fans the Tigers introduced 63 of their greatest players in an on field ceremony, which left no dry eyes in the house. The Tigers would go on to win the 6,783rd and final game at the old stadium 8-2 over the Royals, with Catcher Robert Fick hitting the final home run in the eighth inning of the roof in Rightfield. However, it would be another year of disappointment as the team finished in third place, with a 69-92 record.
2000: On April 11th a sold out crowd braved 34-degree temperatures to see the first game at Comerica Park. The Tigers would go on to win that game 5-2 over the Seattle Mariners. However, the Tigers would struggle early in their new stadium as they got used to the cavernous OF. One move that backfired right away was the acquisition of Juan Gonzales who never got used to playing in the pitcher friendly stadium and would walk away at season’s end. To acquire Gonzales the Tigers dealt away three of their top prospects and would eventually be left with nothing to show. Despite the failure of Gonzales the Tigers would catch fire in the second half to climb black into the race for the Wild Card thanks in part to Todd Jones who would take home the Fireman award with 42 saves. However, the Tigers would fade in September, and eventual finish with a disappointing 79-83 record.
2001: The Tigers suffer their eighth straight losing season, narrowly avoiding another visit to the cellar with a wretched 66-96 record.
2002: From the very beginning off the season it was clear it was going to be a dreadful season as Manager Phil Garner is fired in the middle of an awful 0-11 start. Under his replacement Luis Pujols the Tigers would not fare much better as the Tigers finished the season on a losing note as well winning just six of their last 36 games to finish in last place with a hideous 55-106 record. The awful season would also see an end of an era as longtime announcer Ernie Harwell retires at season’s end.
2003: Hoping to turn their fortunes around the Tigers turned to their glory days by hiring Alan Trammel to be the team’s new manager, while fellow member of the 1984 Championship team Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish joined him on the coaching staff. However, none of it would have any bearing on the field as the Tigers were simple terrible all season as they lost their first nine games on the way 3-21 record at the end of April. The losses would continue to mount as the Tigers entered the all-star break with a 24-67 record, which made them the laughing stocks of the Major Leagues. Through August the losses continued to pile up as the Tigers were on pace for the modern day record for losses in a season, while three pitchers were in danger of losing 20 games. The Tigers would lose their 100th game before September even began, as each night they were compared to the 1962 New York Mets who lost 120 games. Hoping not to shake his confidence too much the Tigers shut down Jeremy Bonderman when he lost his 19th leaving Mike Maroth alone to become the first pitcher since 1980 to lose 20 games in a season, as Nate Cornejo pitched strong down the stretch, finishing with a 6-17 record. Heading into the last week the Tigers set the American League record for losses in a season and needed a strong week to avoid an embarrassing 120-loss season, which they would be able to avoid thanks to winning five of their last six games. However a pitiful 43-119 record would leave the 2003 Tigers as possibly the worst team in the history of the American League.
2004: Knowing there is no place to go but up the Tigers would be active in the Free Agency market signing pitcher Jason Johnson, 2B Fernando Viña, OF Rondell White and post-season hero catcher Ivan Rodriguez. With the new additions the Tigers were better right away starting the season with four straight wins a year after it took them 29 games to get their fourth win. The Tigers would go on to post a winning record in April at 12-11, as the Tigers hovered around .500 for the entire first half of the season. However, over the last 2 months the Tigers would struggle as they posted a record of 72-90 and finished in fourth place. However the improved pitching of Mike Maroth and Jeremy Bonderman who each posted 11-13 records after their dreadful 2003 seasons.
2005: With the addition of Magglio Ordoñez, and Troy Percivial the Tigers hoped they could continue to improve, and through much of the first half they did indeed play better baseball hanging around .500 as they hit the All-Star Break with a 42-44 as young players like Chris Shelton had a break out season, while Placido Polanco acquired in a midseason deal with the Philadelphia Phillies made an immediate impact batting .338 in 86 games with the Tigers. However, Tigers pitching struggled as Mike Maroth and Jermey Bonderman both had mediocre records with high ERAs, while Troy Percival was a complete bust with just eight saves in 26 games with a 5.76 ERA before injuries ended his season. The competitive play that marked the Tigers first half would vanish down the stretch as they lost 28 of their last 38 games on the way to finishing in fourth place with a 71-91 record that would see Manager Allan Trammel fired and replaced by Jim Leyland following the season.
2006: The first thing Jim Leyland did upon taking over as manager was to make a cosmetic change to the Tigers ditching the logo used since 1994 that featured a Tiger walking through an old English D, and using just the Tigers traditional D, saying it appeared to be a “caged tiger.” When the season began the Tigers came roaring out of the gate winning their first five games. However, the good start would not last as they dropped their first three home games and slipped to 7-7, when Leyland launched into a tirade against the team about its lack of effort, saying “We Stink” to a group of reporters. The tirade worked wonders as it lit a fire under the Tigers as they won 28 of their next 35 games securing first place in the American League Central Division. Along the way the emergence of previously unknown players Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge, Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames became the driving force for the now uncaged Tigers, all of whom had career years. However, it was the Tigers pitching staff which was the catalyst for their sudden success, as despite the loss of Mike Maroth to bone chip surgery the Tigers young arms became one of the top staffs in the American League. Having the best year was 23 years old Justin Verlander who had a team high 17 wins and won the Rookie of the Year. On the opposite end of the age spectrum was Kenny Rogers whom the Tigers signed in the off-season, and became the veteran leader equaling Verlander’s 17 wins, while continuing a surprising resurgence after turning 40. One early criticism of the Tigers was they had a easy schedule, and after losing three straight to the New York Yankees at home, it was hard to argue against that notion. None the less the Tigers continued to rack up the wins in June as they held a 59-29 record heading into the All-Star Break. In the second half the Tigers even answered their critics winning back to back series against the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics as they appeared to be cruising to one of their best season in franchise history at 76-36 on August 7th. However, in that game 2B Placido Polanco suffered a separated shoulder. This would lead to the Tigers going into their first prolonged slump of the season as their offense suddenly lost its bite, as their young pitching staff began to suffer from tired arms, as the Tigers once comfortable double digit lead over the Minnesota Twins to vanish, as they won just 19 of their last 50 games, which included loses in their final five games as the Twins captured the division title on the last day of the season. However, the Tigers still managed to make the playoffs as the Wild Card with a record of 95-67, as Jim Leyland was named Manager of the Year.
2006: In the playoffs most doubted the Tigers could rebound from their last season slump as they faced the New York Yankees in the ALDS. After losing Game 1 by a score of 8-4 it looked like Tigers great run was going to come to a quick end in the playoffs, as they trailed the Yankees 3-1 in Game 2. However led by the bat of Curtis Granderson who drove in two runs the Tigers rallied to take the lead 4-3, a lead that would hold as Joel Zumaya dominated the Yankees hitting 102 mph on the radar gun while retiring all five batters. As the series shifted to Detroit it was the old vet Kenny Rogers shaking off postseason failures of the past to dominate the Yankees bats allowing just five hits over seven and two thirds innings, as Granderson drove in two more runs batting ninth to lead the Tigers to a 6-0 win. Game 4 would also be no contest as the Tigers hammered Jaret Wright and Corey Lidle to take a 7-0 lead after five innings as they went on to win the series in four with an 8-3 win. The Tigers continued to roll in the ALCS jumping all over Barry Zito led by Brandon Inge who hit ninth and drove in two runs while going three-for-three with a double and homer as the Tigers won the opener 5-1. In Game 2 the Tigers again caught lighting in the battle as seldom used Alexis Gomez started as the Designated Hitter and drove in four runs as the Tigers rallied from an early deficit to win 8-5. As the series shifted to Detroit, Kenny Rogers was dominate again allowing just two hits in seven and a third as the Tigers took a commanding 3-0 lead with a 3-0 win. With a chance to close the series with a sweep the Tigers fell behind early, however they would battle back to tie the game 3-3 in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Magglio Ordonez. The game would stay tied until the ninth inning when Ordonez played the hero role again smashing a three run series winning walk off Home Run off Huston Street to send the Tigers to the World Series with a 6-3 win, as Placido Polanco now recovered from his shoulder injury was named ALCS MVP. Sweeping would have a negative side effect as the Tigers were off for a week before the Fall Classic against the St. Louis Cardinals began. The Tigers appeared rusty in Game 1 as three costly errors helped the Cardinals win the opened 7-2. The Tigers would turn to Kenny Rogers in Game 2 as he handcuffed the Cardinals all day allowing two hits over eight innings, as controversy ensued over weather Rogers was putting pine tar on the baseball in a series evening 3-1 win. As the series shifted to St. Louis it was the Tigers hitters who were handcuffed as they managed just three hits against Chris Carpenter losing 5-0. After rain pushed Game 4 back a day the Tigers came out strong taking a 3-0 lead. However, the Cardinals would come flying back to win again as the Tigers continued to struggle with errors in a 5-4 loss. There would be comeback for the Tigers as the Cards went on to win the series in five games with a 4-2 win as Tigers pitchers set a dubious record with five errors in five games.
2007: Coming off their trip to the World Series the Tigers looked to be primed for another run, as their roster remained fairly intact with the addition of Designated Hitter Gary Sheffield. However, injuries became a real concern early in the season as Kenny Rogers missed most of the first half after having surgery to have a blood clot removed from his arm. However, it would be the Tigers bullpen that would take the biggest hit as Tim Byrdak, Edward Campusano, Fernando Rodney, Jair Jurrjens, and Joel Zumaya all missed significant time. Despite the injuries the Tigers were in the running all season, as they posted a solid 52-34 first half record, highlighted by Justin Verlander’s June 12th No Hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers, and a three game sweep of the Boston Red Sox heading into the All-Star Break. After the All-Star Game the Tigers injuries began to catch up with them as they dropped 11-of-13 games, including a three game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels that saw the Tigers pitching staff battered for 34 runs. August would be a key month for the Tigers as they started the month neck and neck with the Cleveland Indians for the Central Division lead and ended the month in tail spin with an 11-18 record. As September began the Tigers rebounded winning 11 of 15 games heading into a key three game series against the Cleveland Indians. However, needing to win the series to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Tigers are swept as they fell short of their goal of reaching the playoffs for a second straight season, as they limped home with an 88-74 record. However despite the disappointing finish baseball in Detroit was back and better then ever as the Tigers drew three million fans for the first time in team history. Following the season the Tigers looking to improve made a blockbuster deal with the Florida Marlins to acquire All-Stars Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for prospects Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, Mike Rabelo, Eulogio de la Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop.
2008: Entering the season the Tigers had high expectations as they added Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis and Edgar Renteria to an already solid team. However, the Tigers would stumble out of the gate losing their first seven games. All three of the Tigers big acquisitions got off to bad starts, while Cabrera turned things around and finished with a career high 37 home runs, to lead the American League. However, the same could not be said for Renteria and Willis, who could not get their seasons on track, with Willis who posted an 0-2 record with a 9.38 ERA in just eight appearances, as he dealt with injuries and spent time in the minors. Willis would symbolize the Tigers pitching woes, as even ace Justin Verlander struggled with an 11-17 record. The Tigers who languished through April and May, would post a solid 19-8 record in June, but it was not enough to get their season on track, as they never were a factor in the race for the Central Division title. With the playoffs out of reach the Tigers would shed some payroll down the stretch, trading Ivan Rodriguez to the New York Yankees, while Closer Todd Jones announced his retirement. The Tigers would close the season with an 8-18 record in September, as they posted a 74-88 record, and finished in last place. Despite their disappointing season the Tigers would draw a record 3,202,654 at Comerica Park.
2009: Coming off a disappointing season, that saw them end up at the bottom of the American League Central, the Tigers looked to pitching as they looked to rebound. Adding Edwin Jackson, who was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, and calling up Rick Porcello the Tigers were able to lead the pack early in the Central Division despite closing April with an 11-10 record. Also helping the Tigers pitching staff was Justin Verlander who rebounded from an 11-17 season, in which he led the American League in losses to post a 19-9 record that was tied for the lead in wins. The Tigers also got help in the back end of the bullpen as Fernando Rodney emerged as a reliable closer with 37 saves in 38 tries. In May the Tigers would take control of the division behind a 17-11 record, which was highlighted by a seven game winning streak. Despite mediocre records in June and July the Tigers maintained the lead, as nobody was able to take advantage in the mediocre Central Division. The Tigers lead would expand to seven games on Labor Day, as they looked to be a strong bet to go from last to first. However, the Minnesota Twins suddenly got hot and began to chip away at the Tigers lead, winning two of three games at the Metrodome to cut the Tigers lead to three games. The Tigers would face the Twins again at Comerica Park in the last week of the season, with the Tigers holding a two game lead with seven games left. After dropping the opener the Tigers took the next two games, and needed just to win on October 1st to clinch the division. However, after an 8-3 win the Twins had hope going into the final weekend. The Tigers would than lose two straight games to the Chicago White Sox, allowing the Twins to tie them on the season’s penultimate day. Making matters worse, Miguel Cabrera who led the Tigers with 34 homers and 103 RBI was arrested drunk and disorderly conduct after a domestic incident during the final weekend. With Justin Verlander on the mound the Tigers record a 5-3 win to end the season with an 86-76 record. However, the Twins also won forcing a one game playoff for the AL Central. Sparked by a 3rd inning home run from Miguel Cabrera the Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead. However, the Twins clawed back and took a 4-3 lead in the 7th inning. After Magglio Ordonez tied the game with a home in the eight the game went into extra innings where Brandon Inge again gave the Tigers the lead with a 10th inning double. However, Closer Fernando Rodney could not hold the lead as the Twins tied the game in the bottom of the inning and went on to stun the Tigers with a 6-5 win in 12 innings to win the Division Title.
2010: Coming off their late season collapse the Tigers hoped they could bounce back, as Miguel Cabrera made a commitment getting sober by spending part of the off-season in treatment for alcohol addiction. The more focused Cabrera had a career year for the Tigers, hitting 38 Home Runs, with a league best 126 RBI, with a solid .328 average as he finished second in MVP voting. Also playing a key role early in the season for the Tigers were rookies Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson who both finished in the top five in Rookie of the Year voting, with Jackson finishing second with 103 runs scored at the top of the Tigers lineup. The Tigers played good baseball in April posting a 14-10 record. However, as May began they were still trailing the Minnesota Twins by a game and half. The first half would see a great loss to the Tigers Family, as longtime announcer Ernie Harwell died on May 4th at the age of 92. A month later Comerica Park was the sight of controversy as pitcher Armando Galarraga neared a Perfect Game on June 2nd. After retiring the first 26 batters, Galarraga, Jason Donald grounded out to Miguel Cabrera, but was incorrectly ruled safe by 1B umpire Jim Joyce, as replays clearly showed Galarraga clearly beat Donald to the bad. The next batter Trevor Crowne ground out to 3B Brandon Inge, as the Tigers won 3-0 with Galaragga throwing a one hit shutout. After the game, Joyce tearfully apologized for the mistake. The next day as the lineups were exchanged Galaragga and Joyce met at home plate and embraced in a memorable show of sportsmanship. The Tigers would be close to the top of the American League Central. They would lead briefly in July, as they entered the All-Star Break a half game out of first with a record of 48-38. However, out of the break the Tigers struggled, suffering a four game sweep at the hands of the Indians, hoping to get back on track as the trade deadline approached the Tigers would acquire Shortstop Jhonny Perralta from the Tribe Giovanni Soto and cash considerations on July 28th. The Tigers would continue to struggle in August as they slipped below .500 and into third place. The Tigers would remain in third place for the rest of the season, as they ended the season with an even up 81-81 record.
2011: In an attempt to add more firepower to the offense, the Tigers signed Free Agent Victor Martinez to fill the Designated Hitter role. The Tigers would struggle early in the season, as they started the year with a tough schedule playing the New York Yankees on the road. After losing two of three to the Yankees, and two of three to the Baltimore Orioles, the Tigers came home and beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2. However, in April the Tigers continued to play lackluster baseball as they lost seven of their first ten games. The Tigers would begin to play better for a week, but ended the month struggling again, on a seven game losing streak, which included a sweep at home to the Seattle Mariners and a sweep on the road against the Cleveland Indians. After losing the first of a four game series at Comerica Park to the Yankees, the Tigers appeared to be in serious trouble. The Tigers would get some solid pitching the rest of the series, as they won the next three games against the Yankees. It would be the catalyst the Tigers needed as they won 10 of their next 11 games, highlighted by a No Hitter by Justin Verlander on May 7th against the Toronto Blue Jays. After struggling early in the season Verlander would dominate the rest of the season. The Tigers would have a few more setbacks before the month was over, but they had begun to rise in the Central Division, finishing the month in second place, five games behind the Indians. With Verlander winning all six starts in June, the Tigers took over first place in the Central thanks to a 16-12 record. The Tigers would hold a half game lead in the division at the All-Star Break, as they sent five players Alex Avila , Jhonny Perralta Justin Verlander, Jose Valverde and Miguel Cabrera to the All-Star in Phoenix. In July Verlander’s winning streak would end in a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, as the Tigers continued to battle the Indians for first place. Looking to add another arm, the Tigers acquired Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley in a trade with the Seattle Mariners for Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and two minor leaguers. Before the deal Fister struggled in Seattle, posting a 3-12 record with a 3.33 ERA. After the deal he would become the second most valuable pitcher on the Tigers posting an 8-1 record with a 1.79 ERA in ten starts. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander continued his domination as he won the pitcher’s Triple Crown, and became the first starting pitcher in 25 years to win the American League Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season. In the bullpen the Tigers got strong relief all season, as Jose Valverde converted all 45 save attempts into saves. The Tigers would post a record of 38-16 over the last two months as the won their first division tile since 1987 with a record of 95-67.
2011 Postseason: In the ALDS the Tigers despite their strong finish would be underdogs as they faced the New York Yankees. In Game 1 the much anticipated showdown between aces Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia would get washed out as rain halted Game 1 with the score tied 1-1 in the second inning. The Yankees would use a Robinson Cano grand slam to win the game 9-1 when it is resumed the next day. With a solid start from Max Scherzer, the Tigers would even the series with a 5-3 win. As the series shifted to Detroit the match up of aces was tried again. This time it would go in favor of the Tigers 5-4 as Verlander recovered from a shaky first inning to pitch eight gritty innings, striking out 11 as the Tigers took control of the series, while Jose Valverde escaped trouble to get the save. The Yankees would blow open Game 4 late as they won 10-1 to send the series back to the Bronx. In Game 5 with Doug Fister on the mound the Tigers got first inning home runs from Delmon Young and Don Kelly as they built a 3-0 lead. The Yanks would rally to make it 3-2, before Scherzer shutdown the Yankees out of the pen as Valverde earned his second series save to send the Tigers to the ALCS with a 3-2 win. In the ALCS against the Texas Ranges, rain again interrupted the opener as two delays sent Justin Verlander to the showers with a loss as the Rangers won 3-2 in Game 1. After a one day postponement the Tigers found themselves in a 0-2 hole as the Rangers won in 11 innings 7-3, with Nelson Cruz hitting the tying home run in the seventh inning and walk off grand slam. Doug Fister would come through for the Tigers who now were being bitten by the injury bug at the most inopportune time as Delmon Young, Magglio Ordonez and Brennan Boesch were all sidelined. However, with two home runs by Miguel Cabrera the Tigers were able to get a solid 5-2 win. In Game 4 the Tigers and Rangers would again go to extra innings, where again they were beaten by Nelson Cruz who hit a three run homer, as the Rangers won 7-3. With Justin Verlander on the mound the Tigers kept their fading hopes alive with a 5-4 win in Game 5. However, the Tigers could not stop Nelson Cruz who hit a record six ALCS home runs and 21 RBI as the Rangers won the series in six games, winning the finale 15-5.
2012: As the season began, expectations could not be any higher for the Detroit Tigers as they added Prince Fielder to an already stacked line up. The move to sign the All-Star slugger came after Designated Hitter Victor Martinez suffered a torn ACL, while working out at the Tigers spring complex in Lakeland, Florida. With the signing of Fielder, Miguel Cabrera agreed to play third base. The Tigers raced out to a 9-3 start, which included a three game sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park to start the season. However, during an ALCS rematch with the Texas Rangers, the Tigers began to sputter losing three of four games at home. The Tigers would struggle the rest of the month and end April at 11-11. In May, the Tigers continued to play lackluster baseball as their pitching staff struggled, with only Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer providing consistent efforts. As June began the Tigers were below .500 and five game out of first place. After falling to 26-32 on June 8th the Tigers began to slowly crawl their way back in the Central Division. As summer arrived the Tigers began to heat up getting back to .500 and above at the All-Star Break with Justin Verlander being named the starting pitcher for the American League. The Tigers continued their strong play after the break, as they picked up Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez from the Miami Marlins on July 23rd,, while taking over first place in the Central. Sanchez helped add depth to the starting rotation, while Infante in his second stint with the Tigers gave them extra defense up the middle. The remainder of the season the Tigers and Chicago White Sox would battle for first place. Helping the Tigers cause was Miguel Cabrera who by the end of August was in the running for the Triple Crown. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander was making his case for another Cy Young Award. As August turned to September the Tigers had destiny in their own hand as they erased a three game deficit with a Labor Day weekend sweep of the White Sox at Comerica Park. After splitting four games in Chicago the Tigers were again three games out of first. However, down the stretch the Tigers rode the shoulders of Miguel Cabrera, winning 11 of their 16 games as they leaped past the Chi-Sox to claim the American League Central Division Championship for the second straight season with a record of 88-74. As he drove the Tigers to the division title Miguel Cabrera became the first hitter in 45 years to win the Triple Crown leading the American League with 44 home runs, 139 RBI and an average of .330, while posting OPS of .999. He was helped in large part by Prince Fielder who won the Silver Slugger with 30 home runs and 108 RBI. Meanwhile Justin Verlander was again among the league leaders with 17 wins, with 239 strikeouts and an ERA 2.64 as he finished second to David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays in one of the closest Cy Young votes in MLB history.
2012 Postseason: In the ALDS against Oakland Athletics Justin Verlander battled through a shaky first inning, to strike out 11 batters as Tigers won the opener 3-1. Game 2 would be a back and forth battle as the A’s took the lead three times only to see the Tigers tie the game in the bottom of the inning. The game would go into the ninth inning tied 4-4. After Al Alburquerque retired the Athletics in the top of the ninth, the Tigers got back to back singles from Omar Infante and Miguel Cabrera to start the bottom of the inning. Prince Fielder would be intentionally walked to load the bases for light hitting Don Kelly, who got Tigers a 2-0 series lead to take to Oakland with a sacrifice fly that won the game 5-4. In Game 3, the Tigers would be frustrated by Brett Anderson and three relievers who held them to just four hits as the Athletics got back in the series with a 2-0 win. The Tigers would bounce back in Game 4, as they appeared to be on the way to their second straight ALCS. However, Jose Valverde suffered a ninth inning meltdown as the A’s rallied to score three runs in the ninth inning to even the series with a 4-3 win. With the series on the line the Tigers turned to their ace Justin Verlander to get them back to the ALCS. Verlander delivered his best out of the season, striking out 11 batters for the second time in the series, as he went the distance allowing just four hits as the Tigers won Game 5 by a score of 6-0. Facing the New York Yankees in the ALCS the Tigers started the series on the road, and without their ace, who would not be able to pitch until Game 3. The Tigers would get a strong start from Doug Fister as they handed Jose Valverde a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning. However, senior smoke allowed a pair of two run home runs as the Yankees tied the game 4-4. The game would remained tied until the 12th inning as Delmon Young singled home Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers would add an insurance run as the Yankees life and spirit was zapped out of the building when Captain Derek Jeter limped off with a broken ankle. The Tigers would carry the momentum into Game 2 as Anibal Sanchez out dueled Hiroki Kuroda in a 3-0 win. Coming home with Justin Verlander on the mound the Tigers continued to shut down the Yankees line up winning 2-1 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Tigers would go on to complete the sweep with an 8-1 win in Game 4, as Delmon Young, who hit .353 in the series with two home runs and six RBI, was named ALCS MVP.
2012 World Series: Sweeping the Yankees would allow the Tigers to set up their pitching staff as they faced the San Francisco Giants, but a week off would have the Tigers battling the questions about rust. Game 1 would see the Tigers send Justin Verlander to the hill at AT&T Park. However, like he did in the All-Star Game, Verlander could not solve Pablo Sandoval who hit three home runs, two of which came off the Tigers ace, as the Giants won the opener 8-3. In Game 2 the Tigers tried to take the early lead as Prince Fielder attempted to score for first base on a double by Delmon Young. However, a relay from Gregor Blanco and Marco Scutaro to Catcher Buster Posey would nail Fielder just before he slid across the plate. It would be the Tigers best chance to score on the night as Madison Bumgarner out dueled Doug Fister with the Giants winning 2-0. As the series shifted to Detroit, the Tigers bats remained in a deep freeze, as Giants again won 2-0 with Ryan Vogelsong out dueling Anibal Sanchez. The last best chance for the Tigers to score came when they loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning, but left them stranded as Vogelsong struck out Quinton Berry and got Miguel Cabrera to fly out. Facing a sweep in Game 4, the Tigers finally got on the scoreboard, but it would not be enough as the game went into extra innings tied 3-3. The Giants would go to score in the tenth inning as Sergio Romo struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to end the World Series with a Giants 4-3 victory.
2013: After getting swept in the World Series, the Tigers looked to get some more experience on the team and signed Right Fielder Torrii Hunter, while Delmon Young Catcher Gerald Laird and Jose Valverder were allowed to walk. The Tigers expected their offense to be even stronger, as Victor Martinez returned after missing a season with a knee injury. Early in the season finding consistent relief was hard for the Tigers as they attempted a closer by committee as they split their first 20 games. So bad was the Tigers bullpen situation they were forced to re-sign Jose Valverder. As April came to an end the Tigers began to find their footing as they ended the month with a five game winning streak highlighted by an interleague sweep of the Atlanta Braves at Comerica Park. Setting the tone for the series was Anibal Sanchez who set a new team record by striking out 17 Braves as the Tigers won the game 10-0. The Tigers strong play carried over into May as they swept a four game series on the road against the hapless Houston Astros, as Justin Verlander flirted with a no hitter, before allowing a hit by Carlos Pena in the seventh inning. Miguel Cabrera also began to heat up in May, blasting three home runs against the Texas Rangers on May 19th. However, the Tigers lost that game 11-9 as their bullpen continued to struggle as Jose Valverde gave up a walk off home run on May 31st to Chris Dickerson of the Baltimore Orioles. Valverde would struggle in June and was eventually designated for assignment and released. One pitcher helping the Tigers by avoiding the need for a bullpen was Max Scherzer who won his first 13 decisions and was named starter for the American League at All-Star Game as the Tigers had six All-Star representatives more than any other team at New York’s Citi Field. Sherzer would finish the season with a record of 21-3, posting a solid ERA of 2.57 with 240 strikeouts to win the Cy Young Award. After a solid 52-42 mark in the first half the Tigers looked to take over after the All-Star Break and made big step to doing so as they won 17 of 19 games, highlighted by a 12 game winning streak. Around this time the Tigers settled on a closer as Joaquín Benoit saved 24 games, with a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 2.01. However, despite their surge the Tigers still had their problems, as All-Star Johnny Perralta was suspended for 50 games due to his involvement in the biogenesis probe. In anticipation the Tigers were able to acquire José Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox. Iglesias provided strong defense and batted .259 in 48 games as he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. At the same time the Tigers were dealing with a less than healthy Miguel Cabrera who was dealing with a groin strain and a sports hernia the entire second half. Despite often missing games or being lifted for a pinch runner, Cabrera won his third straight batting title by hitting .344 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI as he repeated as American League MVP. Desite a bumpy ride in September the Tigers would hold on to win the Central Division Title with a record of 93-69, as they were No Hit by Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins in the final game of the regular season.
2013 Postseason: For the second straight season the Tigers wound draw the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS. The Tigers got an early boost in Game 1, scoring three runs in the first inning. Max Scherzer would allow those three runs to stand as he struck out 11 and gave up one hit through six innings as the Tigers held on to win the game 3-2. Game 2 would feature a pitcher’s duel between Justin Verlander and A’s Rookie Sonny Grey. The two would match zero for zero as the game was scoreless into the ninth inning, where a struggling Al Alburquerque loaded the bases as Stephen Vogt Singled home the winning run off Rick Porcello. As the series shifted to Comerica Park, the Athletics had a power surge with three home runs off Anibal Sanchez to double up the Tigers 6-3 in Game 3. With their backs to the wall the Tigers turned to Scherzer on three days’ rest to get the series to a fifth game. The A’s jumped out early taking a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. However, Johnny Perralta breathe life into the Tigers with a three run home run to tie the game. The Athletics would regain the lead on a RBI by Coco Crisp in the seventh inning. However, Victor Martinez put the Tigers in front with a two run blast that was aided when a fan in Right Center reached out and touched the ball, the play would stand much to Oakland’s chagrin as there was not enough evidence to overturn the call. In Game 5 it would be Justin Verlander playing hero again, blanking the Athletics over eighth innings as the Tigers returned to the ALCS with a 3-0 win. In four games over two years Verlander recorded 30 straight scoreless innings against the A’s in the ALDS, breaking the record for scoreless innings against one team in the postseason set by Christy Mathewson (28). The Athletics also struck out 57 times in the series, breaking the old record for a best-of-five playoff series of 55 strikeouts set by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010. In the ALCS the Tigers would face the Boston Red Sox. In Game 1, the Tigers would get a near historic effort as Aníbal Sanchez, Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Joaquín Benoit combined for 17 strikeouts, coming two outs away from a No Hitter as the Tigers won the opener at Fenway Park 1-0. The Tigers continued to tie the Red Sox in knots in Game 2 as Max Scherzer did not allow a hit until the six inning. Scherzer would leave the game with a 5-1 after seven innings, allowing just one run on two hits with 13 strikeouts. However, the Tigers bullpen faltered a David Ortiz greeted Joaquin Benoit with a two grand slam in the eighth inning to tie the game. The Red Sox would go on to win the game 6-5 on a walk off single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the ninth inning. The Tigers would continue to get strong pitching in Game 3 at Comerica Park, but Justin Verlander and John Lackey matched zeroes for the first six inning. However, Mike Napoli gave the Sox a 1-0 lead with a solo shot in the seventh inning. It would be the only run of the game as Boston won the game 1-0. The Tigers would battle back to win Game 4, with a five run outburst in the second inning as they evened the series with a 7-3 victory. Napoli would haunt the Tigers again in Game 5 launching a 420 foot home off Anibal Sanchez to give the Red Sox an early 4-0. The Tigers would claw their way within one run, but could not solve Koji Uehara who retired the final five batters to give the Sox a 4-3 win to take control of the series back to Boston. The Tigers would get a solid pitching performance from Max Scherezer in Game 6, but with a 2-1 lead, Scherzer left with the bases loaded. Jose Veras came into hold the lead but instead gave up a back breaking grand slam to Shane Victorino over the Green Monster as the Red Sox advanced to the World Series with a 5-2 win. Shortly after the ALCS Manager Jim Leyland would announce his retirement.
2014: After losing to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, the Detroit Tigers looked to make their lineup more balanced, and traded 1B Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for 2B Ian Kinsler and cash considerations. The deal also enabled the Tigers to move Miguel Cabrera back to first base, taking wear and tear off their two time MVP. The Tigers would also get a new manager as Brad Ausmus was appointed to replace the retiring Jim Leyland. In an effort to improve the bullpen the Tigers signed Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain. However, the Tigers bullpen continued to be the team’s Achilles’ heel as they posted an ERA of 5.37 in April. Despite their bullpen ranking next to last in all of baseball%2
2014 ALDS: Facing the Baltimore Orioles in the Division Series, Max Scherzer gave up a two run homer to Nelson Cruz in the first inning. The Tigers would strike back with back-to-back home runs from Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez in the second inning, but the Orioles regained the lead in the bottom of the inning. The Orioles would add a run in the seventh, which the Tigers would answer on a home run from Miguel Cabrera. However, with eight runs in the eighth inning the Orioles put the series opener out of reach, winning the game 12-3 at Camden Yards. With home runs by J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos the Tigers built a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning. The Tigers would hold a 6-3 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth inning and once again their bullpen imploded giving up four runs as the Orioles won the game 7-6. In two ALDS appearances Joba Chamberlain, the hefty reliever had a robust ERA 108.00. Game 3 at Comerica Park would be a classic pitcher’s duel between David Price and Bud Norris. The Orioles would break the deadlock with a two run home run by Nelson Cruz in the sixth inning. Down 2-0 in the ninth inning, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez led off the inning with back to back doubles to get the Tigers within one run off closer Zach Britton. Nick Castellanos was intentionally walked following a Bryan Holaday strikeout. However, with the tying and winning runs on base, Britton got Hernan Perez to ground into a series ending double play as the Orioles held on to win 2-1 and complete the three game sweep.
2015: After their disappointing quick playoff exit, the Detroit Tigers looked to maintain their spot on top of the American League Central despite losing one of their top pitchers Max Scherzer, who signed with the Washington Nationals. Looking to strengthen their lineup the Tigers acquired Yoenis Cespedes along with two prospects from the Boston Red Sox for Rick Porcello. Cespedes made an instant impact taking a home run away from Kurt Suzuki as the Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 4-0 on Opening Day at Comerica Park. Yoenis Cespedes was off to a terrific start in Detroit, hitting .308 with nine home runs and 33 RBI in the first two and half months. After David Price blanked the Twins in the opener Anibal Sanchez got the win in the second game with another shutout, 11-0. The Tigers would win their first six games going their first 32 innings before allowing an earned run, to tie a modern day Major League record set by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963. The Tigers would go on to win 11 of their first 13 despite Justin Verlander missing the first two months with a strained triceps. When he finally made his debut on June 13th Verlander had trouble regaining his form as he posted a record of 5-8 with an ERA of 3.38. The Tigers were unable to maintain their great start, as continued bullpen struggles and injuries began to take a toll. Things continued to unravel for the Tigers in July, as Miguel Cabrera suffered a strained calf on the fourth of July against the Toronto Blue Jays. Cabrera would miss six weeks, during his absence the Tigers went from two games over .500 to five games below .500. Upon his return, Miguel Cabrera’s power numbers were down as he finished the season with 18 home runs and 76 RBI, ending a streak of 11 straight seasons with at least 20 home runs and 100 RBI. Despite the power struggles Cabrera would win his fourth batting title, with an average of .338. As July came to an end a power struggle in the front office went public as the team decided to be sellers at the trade deadline. On July 30th, the Tigers sent David Price, who had posted a record of 9-4, with a 2.53 ERA and a 138 strikeouts to the Toronto Blue Jays, receiving Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt. That same day Closer Joakim Soria, who 23 saves was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Shortstop JaCoby Jones. A day later the Tigers traded Yoenis Cespedes and his .293 average with 18 homers and 61 RBI to the New York Mets, receiving just pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa in return. A week later, longtime General Manager Dave Dombrowski would resign with his assistant Al Avilla taking over. Dombrowski in 14 years in Detroit built a two time pennant winner and a team that won four straight division titles after the worst stretch in franchise history. August would see the Tigers plunge to the bottom of the Central Division with a record of 10-17. The Tigers would go on finish in last place with a record of 74-87. Among the only bright spots over the second half was J.D. Martinez who had career best season, putting together a .282 batting average, with career highs of 33 doubles, 38 home runs and 102 RBI, all which led the team in the major power numbers.
2016: After a poor second half and a last place finish, the Detroit Tigers looked to rebound as they added Outfielder Justin Upton, who signed a six-year contract worth $132.75 million to improve their offense. To improve their pitching staff, the Tigers signed Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year deal, worth $110 million. Zimmerman’s career in Detroit could not get off to a better start as he was named American League Pitcher of the Month in April, posting a record of 5-0, while allowing only two earned runs in 33 innings, for a 0.55 ERA, becoming the sixth pitcher to finish April with five-plus wins, zero losses and a sub-1.00 ERA. The Tigers would finish April in second place with a record of 13-10. Jordan Zimmerman would not be able to sustain his April success as he dealt with a neck injury and finished with a record of 9-7, with an ERA of 4.87. May would be a rough month for the Tigers, as they lost 11 of 12 games in the early part of the month and slipped below .500. The Tigers rebounded in June, thanks in part to the efforts of rookie Michael Fulmer, who became the first Tigers pitcher in a century to allow one or zero runs in eight consecutive starts as the Tigers posted a record of 17-11 completely reversing their May struggles. Fulmer would go on to finish the season with a record of 11-7, with a 3.06 ERA as he was named American League Rookie of the Year. After hitting the All-Star Break with a record of 46-43, the Tigers got off to a strong start in the second half as they won 15 of 21 games to close to within two games of the first place Cleveland Indians. However, maintaining success was a problem all season for the Tigers went into another slump, going 3-10 over a 13 game stretch that allowed the Tribe to stretch their lead back to seven games. While their hopes of winning the American League Central faded, the Tigers remained in the Wild Card race deep into September. The Tigers could not win with enough consistency to take over the Wild Card lead, as they finished the season with a record of 86-75. The Tigers two big stalwarts each had strong seasons, as Justin Verlander narrowly missed out on winning the Cy Young, after finishing the season with a record of 16-9, with an ERA of 3.04 and a league leading 254 strikeouts, while Miguel Cabrera led the team with a .316 average, with 28 home runs with 108 RBI. Thanks to a strong second half, Justin Upton had a solid season with 31 home runs and 87 RBI.
2017: After just missing out on the Wild Card, the Detroit Tigers entered the year knowing decisions had to be made as they had an older roster that was past their prime. The Tigers were a team in mourning as the season began as longtime Owner Mike Ilitch passed away on February 10th at the age of 87. The team would wear a patch all season in his honor. The Tigers hovered around .500 over the first two months but began fading as June began. The Tigers would make the decision at that point to begin the process of rebuilding. On July 18th, the Tigers traded outfielder J. D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for third baseman Dawel Lugo, and shortstops Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. Martinez was a big splash in Arizona hitting 29 home runs in 62 game. At the trade deadline a unique situation was created when General Manager Al Avila traded his son catcher Alex Avila and pitcher Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for infielders Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes, and a player to be named later or cash considerations. The Tigers were not done dealing at the deadline as they traded made two trades on August 31st. Justin Upton was sent to the Los Angeles Angels for minor league pitcher Grayson Long and a player to be named later (Elvin Rodriguez). While, Justin Verlander along with a player to be named later (Juan Ramirez) or cash considerations, to the Houston Astros in exchange for pitcher Franklin Pérez, outfielder Daz Cameron, and catcher Jake Rogers. Verlander was the last member of the 2006 pennant winner to leave Detroit. He would go on lead the Astros to the World Series, winning ALCS MVP. After the deals, wins became scarce for the Tigers as they finished with the worst record in baseball at 64-98. After the Upton trade, Nick Castellanos ended up as Detroit’s top hitter with a team-best 101 RBI, with 26 home runs. Before being sent to Anaheim Justin Upton had 28 homers and 94 RBI. Verlander meanwhile was 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA and 176 strikeouts before the trade, while Michael Fulmer went 10-12 with a 3.83 ERA in his second season.
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, statistics, logos, and team names are property of Major League Baseball. This site is not affiliated with the Detroit Tigers or MLB. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on June 30, 2001. Last updated on June 27, 2018 at 11:50 pm ET.