Nation, here are what I believe are the Top 8 most memorable Detroit Tigers moments since 2008. What do you think?
Ernie Harwell says his final goodbye – 2009
Ernie Harwell was and will forever be one of the greatest sports broadcasters of all time. Harwell made his major league debut in 1948 after becoming the only broadcaster to ever be traded. He was sent to the Brooklyn Dodgers in exchange for catcher Cliff Dapper. He also worked for the New York Giants and for the Baltimore Orioles before coming to Detroit in 1960. He was the voice of the Tigers until his retirement in 2002. In 2009 it was announced that Ernie was battling cancer, and he addressed the Comerica Park crowd one last time on September 16, 2009:
Ernie’s voice will always give me goosebumps. His farewell was an amazing end to an amazing career and life.
Armando Galarraga’s “imperfect” perfect game – 2010
The date June 2, 2010, will always be remembered in Tigers lore. Pitcher Armando Galarraga threw the game of his career and stood on the mound with two outs in the 9th inning. Jason Donald hit a weak grounder to 1st base, Miguel Cabrera fielded it and threw to Galarraga for the sure out and a perfect game. Except umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe. Everyone in the stadium that night, including Donald knew he was out. Joyce blew the call.
I can remember watching this game just shocked, it was an unbelievable moment that Tigers fans won’t forget.
A total collapse in 2008 and 2009 seasons
The 2008 Detroit Tigers were supposed to be world-beaters. They were one season removed from the magical World Series run of 2006, and they had just brought in Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, and Edgar Renteria in the off-season. They started the season losing their first 7 games and were never able to recover. They finished the year 74-88 and dead last in the division.
The 2009 season was also memorable for the wrong reasons. The Tigers got off to a better start and actually held 1st place in the division from May 8th until the final day of the season on October 6th. They went into September with a 7 game lead in the division, but couldn’t hold it, and lost the division and a postseason berth to the Minnesota Twins in a one-game playoff. They became the first team in Major League history to lose a three-game lead with four games left to play.
2012 season & World Series
2012 was a memorable season as the team got back to the postseason for the second year in a row. They had a good regular season going 88-74, and they won back-to-back Central Division titles. They beat the Oakland A’s 3-2 in the American League Division Series, then swept the New York Yankees 4-0 to win the ALCS. They returned to the World Series but were swept by the San Francisco Giants in four games.
The 2012 team was a lot of fun to watch with the pitching staff led by Verlander and Max Scherzer, and the offense led by Miggy and Prince Fielder. At the time no one thought this would be their last shot at a World Series victory.
Four straight American League Central championships – 2011-2014
As Tigers fans, we’ve been pretty fortunate to watch this team over the last 10 years. They did manage to win 4 straight Central Division titles from 2011-2014. They only made it to one World Series in that stretch but it was a lot of fun to watch. It’s a shame that they couldn’t cash in on the World Series, but after a long stretch of terrible baseball in the ’90s I can’t complain.
With the current rebuild going on, I think we will all be yearning for the days of 2011-2014 for the next couple of years.
Justin Verlander’s 2011 Season
JV produced a lot of memorable moments with the Tigers, but I had to pick one, and it was his 2011 season. Verlander put together one of the most dominant pitching seasons we’ve ever seen in Detroit. He was 24-5, won the Cy Young Award, the MVP Award, the pitching Triple Crown (Wins/ERA/Strikeouts), and threw his 2nd career no-hitter.
Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros last season, and I have to admit it was very difficult watching him win the World Series in another uniform. That being said I’m grateful for the 10+ years he gave us.
Miguel Cabrera’s 2012 Triple Crown
Just like JV, Miguel Cabrera has produced some amazing moments since his arrival in Detroit. I believe he’s one of the top 10 greatest right-handed hitters of all time, and his career stats speak to that. It was hard to pick his best season. 2013 was unbelievable, but the 2012 season was Cabrera’s best as he became the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win baseball’s Triple Crown. Cabrera hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs. His OPS was .999, and he played in a career-high 161 games that year. He was the American League MVP, an All-Star, and won a Silver Slugger Award too.
At 36 the big fella is on the downside of his career. Last year was a mess for Cabrera, but he appears to be in great shape and headed for a bounce-back season in 2020.
J.D. Martinez hits go-ahead pinch-hit home run after returning from DL
This is personally one of my favorite Detroit Tigers moments of all-time. With the Tigers and Chicago White Sox tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Tigers decided to let J.D. Martinez, who was playing in his first game since coming off the DL, take his shot at Chris Sale. As you will see below, it only took one pitch for Martinez to do a little bit of yard work!
Nation what are your most memorable moments since 2008?