It’s certainly not a surprise to anyone in the Motor City to see 2020 1st overall Draft Selection Spencer Torkelson solidly in 1st place in the latest edition of Baseball America’s Top Ten Prospect rankings.
Pitcher Tarik Skubal leapfrogged fellow pitching prospect Casey Mize after both made professional appearances for the Tigers in the 60-game shortened 2020 campaign. Skubal recorded 37 strikeouts with a 5.36 ERA, while Mize finished with 26 strikeouts and a 6.99 ERA.
Many forget that someone has to be behind all the success a team can have and that it’s not always just the players, but also the man behind the madness. That is the skipper. The Detroit Tigers have been blessed with very effective and fan-favorite managers in their history who have led teams on memorable and unforgettable runs. Here are your Top 5 managers in Detroit Tigers history.
Mayo Smith took the managerial job for the Tigers in 1967 and led the team to a 91-71 record in his first year. Then the magical 1968 season rolled around, and we all know that ended with a World Series title. Smith would coach another two seasons after that and end up with a solid record of 363-285. Although he didn’t stay long, he won a championship and was pretty successful in four years as a manager.
Many probably have never heard of Hughie Jennings, but he led the Tigers to 3 straight American League Pennants (1907-1909) as a manager. Jennings had the honor to play with and manage Ty Cobb, which is something that is seemingly unheard of. Jennings played six times as a player during his 14-year tenure as manager. Once he was all done in Detroit, Jennings accumulated over 1,100 wins behind the bench good for 2nd most in franchise history.
Mickey Cochrane (a hall of famer) may be one of the most unique managers in MLB history, mostly for the fact that while he was manager, he was also playing- and not just a few games, almost every game. The first year Cochrane was a player-manager (1934), he led the Tigers to an AL championship, and then a World Series win in 1935, the team’s first. It is seemingly unheard of now for a player to both manage and win a World Series.
Yes, I put him here because not only did he turn an entire baseball team around, but also holds a love of the City of Detroit. Jim Leyland was named manager in 2006, and he totally transformed the team, which was coming off a 43-119 season just 3 years prior in 2003. (72-90 in 2004, 71-91 in 2005). The 2006 team won the AL pennant and made it to the World Series. He transformed a team nobody expected to contend. Leyland would lead the Tigers to another AL championship in 2012, along with winning 700 career games with the cats. Although he never did win the World Series as a manager with the Tigers, he set the tone for the Tigers.
No surprise here. He was, he is, and probably forever will be, the most beloved manager in the History of the Tigers. When Sparky Anderson arrived in Detroit in 1979, he had a promise: to bring a World Series championship to the D in 5 years. He backed that up, winning the World Series in 1984 in a year of complete dominance. Sparky always put good teams out there in the ’80s for the Tigers, who fell just short of getting back to the World Series in 1987. Anderson stuck with the Tigers until 1995 and won over 1300 games as skipper, the most in franchise history. He was the heart and soul of the Tigers, and although he is sadly no longer with us, his spirit and love for baseball and the city of Detroit live on to this day through the fans and their memories.
Had the Tigers non-tendered these players, they would have become free agents.
The players offered contracts:
– Matthew Boyd
– Jeimer Candelario
– Jose Cisnero
– Buck Farmer
– Michael Fulmer
– Niko Goodrum
– Joe Jimenez
– JaCoby Jones
– Daniel Norris
Financial details will be worked out at a later time, as the salaries have yet to be locked in. According to a model from MLBTradeRumors.com, the Tigers will be shelling out approx. $20.1 million to keep the nine players.
I almost considered making this a top 8 list until I remembered there was a point in time where Ryan Raburn really annoyed me.
Most Tigers fans had no problem with Raburn until he began starting on a regular basis at second base. In 2012, his final season with the Tigers, Raburn hit .171 and though he made it through the season on the roster, he was soon released.
Did Raburn annoy anyone else in his final season, or was it just me?
When I first heard the Detroit Tigers had acquired Juan Gonzalez before the 2000 season, I have to admit I was a bit excited.
Gonzalez was coming off a four-year stretch where he averaged 43 home runs and 140 RBIs per season, what was not to like?
The problem was that Gonzalez never wanted to play for Detroit and it showed. He refused to play through minor injuries and never embraced Detroit. In his one season with the Tigers, Gonzalez hit .289 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs in 115 games.
When the Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a mega deal, it seemed to be a match made in Heaven. Unfortunately, the honeymoon with the Tigers and their fans lasted only one season.
Throughout the 2013 season, Fielder seemed almost bored to be playing baseball. Whether or not he had personal issues going on in his life, he just seemed too preoccupied to give baseball 100%.
Following the Tigers elimination from the playoffs in 2013, Prince made various comments that came across as him not caring about the game. Those comments were enough to eventually get him kicked out of town.
I can guarantee that some of you just swore and will refuse to read anything I ever write again because Brandon Inge is not No. 1 on this list. Just relax, I am sure you will settle down when you see who the top two are.
Inge very well could be one of the most polarizing individuals in Detroit sports history. Either you loved him or you hated him, you defended him or you were willing to buy him a plane ticket to leave town. Regardless of which side you fell, by the end, almost everyone seemed to be on the same page.
Though Inge was solid defensively, his bat was awful and it was amazing he lasted as long as he did.
Did you know Inge managed to hit under .220 in seven different seasons while playing in the Majors? In his first three seasons, he hit .180, .202, and .203 respectively. How do you get a fourth year after that? Seriously, somebody please explain this to me.
Let me start by saying that this one is not really fair as I believe Zimm did his best to help the Tigers win baseball games. The problem is, he was not good.
The moment Zimmermann signed a 5-year, $110 million deal with the Tigers, the pressure was on for him to be a No. 1 caliber starting pitcher and that was not what he was during this time in Detroit. In fact, Zimmermann probably should not have started at all based on his performance.
All of that being said, keep in mind that it was the Tigers who offered $110 million for a National League pitcher on the decline. All Zimmermann did was say, “yes.” Wouldn’t you do the same thing?
Coming in No. 1 on the list of Tigers players that Detroit fans loved to hate is none other than Joe Nathan.
When Nathan joined the Tigers he was coming off of a great season and was expected to step in and dominate at the closer position. It’s safe to say that never happened.
Everything came to a climax in 2014 when Nathan thought it would be clever to make a profane gesture towards the fans. Yeah, that’s gonna go over well with the people who spent their hard earned money to watch you play. Nathan was never liked in Detroit, but that gesture alone solidified his place atop this list.
While the new coaching staff of the Detroit Tigers has taken shape, the playing roster will soon be following suit.
Wednesday is the deadline for the team to offer new deals to their nine arbitration-eligible players, though should a deal not be reached by that deadline, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be returning.
The nine players include left-handed pitchers Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris; right-handed pitchers Jose Cisnero, Buck Farmer, Michael Fulmer and Joe Jimenez; infielders Jeimer Candelario, Niko Goodrum; and outfielder JaCoby Jones.
Detroit will have more cap space with which to work thanks to the deal of Jordan Zimmermann coming off the books; which of their arbitration-eligible players would you like to see deals tendered to?
For those of you who have grown accustomed to watching the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Red Wings on Fox Sports Detroit, this may come as a surprise to you as FSD will reportedly be no more.
Because of this, Fox Sports Detroit, along with Sinclair’s 20 other regional networks, will be renamed, though a new name has not yet been released.
Sinclair Broadcast Group and casino operator Bally’s Corp. are teaming up to bet big on sports gambling, The Post has learned.
The two companies just signed a deal for Sinclair to rename its 21 sports networks Bally Sports, source said.
Bally’s, which owns Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, will pay Sinclair $85 million over a 10-year period for the naming rights, giving it exclusive access to fans of 42 major teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Detroit Tigers, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Kansas City Royals, sources said.
The goal, sources said, is for viewers to eventually be able to bet on games using a Bally’s online gaming tool directly from their TVs.
Sinclair’s channels are currently named after Fox Sports because it bought them last year to help clear Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox.
Don’t worry, you will still get your Detroit sports fix, but tuning into Fox Sports Detroit will be a think of the past.
Who knows, maybe we will now be tuning in to “Bally’s Sports Detroit.”
The Tigers have requested an unconditional waivers release for Brandon Dixon, who will be headed to Japan to suit up for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League.
The Tigers’ 40 man roster is now at 36.
In 197 career games in the majors, Dixon has hit .228 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs. In 117 career games with Detroit, Dixon hit .248 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs.
For Detroit Tigers 3B Jeimer Candelario, the news came as a surprise. He shares a connection with Cano, as their fathers both played together within the Houston Astros system; he also keeps in regular contact and works out with him.
Candelario plans to reach out to Cano; the former said he was unaware that the latter could have been taking any kind of PEDs.
Candelario, who previously played for the Chicago Cubs, was acquired by Detroit in 2017 in the deal that saw Alex Avila and Justin Wilson head to the Windy City. This past season, Candelario hit .297 with 7 home runs and 29 RBI in 52 games, and led the Tigers with 21 extra-base hits.
Detroit sports fans have had the privilege of watching some of the best in the game at their given sport. Thinking back to all the great athletes that we have seen wear a Detroit uniform, it is hard to just limit it to just 10 players.
So, what I have done is base my top 10 list off of players that I got a chance to see play, that either “wowed” me as an adult or that I emulated as a child growing up playing in the backyard pretending I was that player, copying their moves on the court, practicing my batting stance in the mirror or just made me turn on the game because I knew I could see something amazing at any given moment.
These are the players that made me the sports fan I am today, the players that have given me some of those “wow” moments.
10. Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander was the face of the Tigers for over decade and anchor of the staff as well. Verlander was a significant part of the team that took the Tigers from being bottom dwellers for years to a team that was consistently competing in the playoffs and making World Series runs. He was rookie of the year, threw no-hitters, won the pitching triple crown, lead the league in wins twice, earned run average once, strikeouts four times and was also the league Most Valuable Player and Cy Young winner all while a member of our Detroit Tigers.
He will go down as one of, if not the best Tigers pitcher of all-time and unlike Morris when he left the Tigers, I found myself rooting on the Houston Astros in the playoffs and in the World Series. I was truly happy to see Verlander win a World Series championship.
9. Jack Morris
Going back to those Tigers teams of the mid-1980’s I don’t know if there was a more feared pitcher in the league at the time than Jack Morris. Morris was the winningest pitcher of the 1980s, and all of which was pitched for the Detroit Tigers. He threw a no-hitter in 1984 and lead the league in wins in 1981 and strikeouts in 1983.
Morris is another Tiger that made me fall in love with the game of baseball as a kid. Seeing Morris leave the Tigers organization after the 1990 season was tough as a fan, but he did end up going on to win three more world series in a row after leaving the Tigers, which, as a fan was a bittersweet moment. Morris was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the modern-day era committee. It is nice as a fan of those great Tigers teams see some of the players finally get the recognition they deserve.
8. Joe Dumars
Joe Dumars was the perfect complement to Isiah Thomas and the Bad Boys, where most of that team was outspoken and flashy, Dumars was the opposite, he was a quiet leader that led by his play on the court. Dumars, was the Finals Most Valuable Player in 1989 when they beat the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the anchor of the Pistons defense, quietly shutting down the other teams shooting guards, and this included holding Michael Jordan in check most nights.
I remember as a kid, going in the backyard and practicing shooting free throws just like Joe D did or trying to put a huge arc on a shot because I just watched Dumars do it earlier in a game. Dumars is definitely one of the greatest to play as a Piston, but I also feel Dumars does not get the credit he deserves for what he did as Pistons General Manager. Yes, a lot of us remember the mistakes he made, because they were big ones, but also remember that he was the one that orchestrated the deals to get Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace which lead the Pistons to one NBA Championship and had them in the hunt for others for years.
7. Earvin “Magic” Johnson
When I think of the greatest Spartans of All-Time, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is always the first that comes to mind. Being an avid Wolverines fan, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Magic and the run he made with his Spartans in winning the national championship in 1979 against Larry Bird and his Indiana State team, which is still the most-watched NCAA championship game. Johnson was named the most outstanding player of that Final Four season. Leading to more intrigue with Magic being a local guy is the Lakers vs. Pistons, Isiah vs. Magic rivalry.
Knowing Magic was from the area only made those matchups that much better. Magic still keeps in close contact with Michigan State basketball through Twitter, giving encouragement to Tom Izzo and Michigan State players and he has gone back to the Breslin Center to play in charity basketball games as well in the past. Earvin “Magic” Johnson is arguably the best college basketball player to ever play in the state of Michigan.
6. Charles Woodson
Yes, I do have a couple of college players that I thought deserve to make my list, because of the impact that they had on me as a fan and how they changed the game at their position. Charles Woodson is a once in a lifetime type of player that Michigan fans got to enjoy watching play. Woodson anchored the 1997 National Championship Michigan Wolverines team, not only did he have highlight after highlight (that you can watch below) on the defensive side of the ball, he also played special teams and offense for those Wolverine teams which helped him earn the Heisman Trophy Award for that season.
Woodson could arguably be one of the greatest college football players of all-time. He definitely is a one of a kind special talent, that many two-way players have been compared to, but that hasn’t been seen since. Woodson is the last defensive player to win the Heisman award. Just like I would emulate Barry Sanders when playing backyard football, I would do the same with Woodson. I still wear my #2 Michigan jersey around proudly today.
5. Isiah Thomas
Love or Hate him, Isiah Thomas was the backbone of those Bad Boy teams that won back to back NBA championships. What a time in Detroit Sports, having three leaders/captains like Steve Yzerman, Alan Trammell, and Isiah Thomas to watch grow up. Isiah was the face of the Bad Boys, the image that every Detroiter loved, he could get under the skin of opposing players and sometimes, even his own teammates. But this is why I loved Isiah, he was small in stature but didn’t back away from anyone.
He could totally take over a game by himself. Who could forget Thomas going off for 16 points in a spurt of 90 seconds against the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1984 playoff? I don’t know if there was a tougher Piston during this era than Isiah. He was in the midst of every loose ball and playing through countless injuries. Isiah was not only the Pistons leader because of talent, but also his leadership on the floor. This is what made those Pistons teams the champions they were.
4. Alan Trammell
I think every kid has that team and player that makes them the sports fan they are today. For me, it was the Tigers teams in the ’80s and that player was Alan Trammell. Trammell was the leader of those great Tigers teams and he was another blue-collar leader that this city can really relate to and rally behind. He was the reason why I drug my parents out to go sign me up for T-ball when I was five years old. I wanted to be Alan Trammell! I wanted to play shortstop, wear #3, I would copy his batting stance and how he would turn to the outfielders and show “two outs” with his fingers.
The face of the Tigers for nearly 20 years, Trammell was part of the last Tigers World Series championship team, where he was named the series Most Valuable Player. His two home runs in a single game in the 1984 World Series will always be remembered. He is also a six-time All-Star, four-time golden glove winner, and a three-time silver slugger. He also was part of arguably the greatest double-play combination in the history of the game alongside with Lou Whitaker. Trammell finally got the recognition he deserved as he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the modern era committee in late 2017.
3. Steve Yzerman
I am openly not the biggest hockey fan, but when it comes to Detroit sports, how could I leave Steve Yzerman off the list? Yzerman was a Red Wing for over two decades and served as the captain of Red Wings for 19 of those years. Yzerman was part of some of the lower days in Red Wings history (The Dead Wings) and he saw some of the best days in Red Wings history as well, winning three Stanley Cups with the team in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
He was a true leader and a blue-collar type player that this city embraces and loves. When I did watch Red Wings hockey, which was mostly during the playoffs, I could see that Yzerman exemplified his leadership through his play. It is truly great that Yzerman returned home to become the Red Wings GM prior to the 2019-2020 season.
2. Miguel Cabrera
I don’t know if there is more of a pure hitter in this era than Miguel Cabrera. Not only does he hit for power, but he also hits for a high average as well. Detroit fans have had the luxury to watch the arguably the greatest hitter of all time for the past decade wear the Old English D. He solidified being one of the greatest of all time in 2012 when he won the Triple Crown award until Cabrera accomplished this feat it had not been accomplished in 45 years and the last player to do so was Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox.
He is number two on my list because, in my opinion, he is a once in a lifetime type player that we as Detroit sports fans have had the privilege to watch. Career numbers of .315 batting average, 2,815 hits, 477 home runs and 1,694 runs batted in have him on pace to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Miguel might not be in his prime, but I do believe we will get to see a couple of solid seasons from what will go down as one of the greatest Detroit Tigers players ever.
1. Barry Sanders
Whether the Lions were a perennial playoff contender or not, I would not miss watching a Lions game back in the ’90s due to one reason, and that reason was Barry Sanders.
Sanders was not only arguably the best player in the NFL back then, he definitely was the most exciting player during those times. You never knew what unbelievable run or move he would pull off next. Every kid playing backyard football wanted to be Barry and we would try to emulate his moves and jukes he would do during any given game. Sanders could be the only running back that could make a rush for a loss and turn that into a highlight.
Even when the Lions were a dismal team, Lions fans could hold their head up high, because they had Barry Sanders on their team and he was the only one of his kind in the league. Adding to his folklore status is him retiring prematurely with what seemed to be years still left in the tank. This is another reason why I appreciate Barry more as an adult. He stuck by his convictions and even if I was mad at the time as a football fan, I can see him as a person with integrity. He never came back and decided to give it one more go with a contender. He retired at the top of his game, even if that left Lions and NFL fans in general with that question of “What if?” and “If Only?”
For all of these reasons, I have Barry Sanders number one on my list.
There will always be comparisons as to who is the next Barry Sanders, but in my opinion, Barry is one of a kind and there will never be another like him.
According to a report from Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Tigers are expected to lose at least one of their nine minor league affiliates.
Petzold is reporting that a ‘person with direct knowledge of the franchise’s minor league adjustments’ told him that the Tigers are expected to lose their current Short-Season A affiliate, the Connecticut Tigers.
The Tigers are expected to lose at least one of their nine affiliates. The Tigers’ Short-Season A affiliate in Norwich, Connecticut, previously known as the Connecticut Tigers, is expected to be unaffiliated with the franchise, the source said. The New York-Pennsylvania League, like the Appalachian League, could be converted to a wood-bat summer development league for college players, according to Baseball America.
Petzold noted that there is also a chance the Tigers lose the Erie SeaWolves, though that seems much less likely.
Hanging in limbo is Double-A Erie, but the Tigers are “optimistic” about maintaining affiliation, the source said. The team was given $12 million from the state to upgrade UPMC Park. The finances for construction, according to a USA TODAY Sports, were granted before MLB targeted 42 teams — including Erie and Norwich — for contraction, according to Baseball America in October.
The Tigers believe these renovations will keep Erie affiliated with the franchise. In late October, MLB set new standards for facilities, and the organization thinks Erie’s upgrades will comply with the demands.