The Detroit Tigers have been part of the American League since 1901 and during that time they have had some of the toughest players ever to play the game. These guys were all about doing whatever it takes to win, even if it means knocking an opposing player on their butt. Here is DSN’s top 5 toughest Detroit Tigers of all-time. Do you agree? Who did we miss?
#5 – Alex Avila
After what Alex Avila went through with the Tigers, there was no way that I could leave him off of this list. I don’t think that I have ever seen a catcher take more abuse than Avila has, especially over the last couple of seasons in the Motor City. Whether it be foul tips off the face mask, getting hit in the head with swinging bats, or collisions at the plate, no catcher in baseball has been abused as much as Avila has.
#4 – Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (2004-2008)
In order to be a catcher you have to be tough, but in order to catch the most games in the history of Major League Baseball, you have to be a complete bad man. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was exactly that and it showed throughout the time he spent with the Tigers. The fact that he had a career batting average of .296 is amazing to me.
#3 – Lance Parrish (1977-1986)
Former Tigers catcher Lance Parrish is the definition of hard-nosed. Parrish has been called a “bull” by Hall of Fame broadcaster Tim McCarver, because of his toughness. Playing catcher in the big leagues may be one of the toughest positions in all of sports and Parrish fits it perfectly. His teammates always knew that they were going to get 100% out of Parrish when he was behind the plate.
#2 – Kirk Gibson (1979-1987 and 1993-1995)
The first word that comes to my mind when I think of Kirk Gibson is “grit.” Gibson was another hard-nosed athlete who played the game the right way and was always willing to sacrifice his own personal well-being if it meant helping his team win. Though Gibson did not always see eye to eye with everyone, he always played to win.
#1 – Ty Cobb (1905-1926)
Choosing the top player for this list was a no-brainer in my opinion. Ty Cobb was not only one of the best players of all-time, but he was also one of the fiercest players in the history of the game. Though the stories of Cobb sharpening his spikes to hurt other players are most likely myths, he was extremely aggressive on the base paths and had no problem going in hard to take a base. Cobb gets the nod, in my opinion at least, as the toughest player in Tiger history.