Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation
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April 29, 1984 Tigers 6, Indians 1 (18-2)
Dan Petry had a no-hitter broken up in the eighth inning and Kirk Gibson drove in three runs to lead the Tigers to their eighteenth victory of the season. When it was all over, Dan Petry went eight inning, giving up only the one hit, two walks, and he struck out seven. Kirk Gibson went 3 for 4, and drove in a run with each hit.
Alan Trammell was put into the game in the seventh inning and doubled in his only at bat. The base hit extended his hitting streak to seventeen games. The last game he didn’t get a hit was the 3rd game of the season.
And with April 30th being an exhibition game, the Tigers finished the month of April 18-2, a franchise record for the best April by a Tiger’s team.
April 28, 1984 Tigers 6, Indians 2 (17-2)
In Sparky Anderson’s book on the 1984 season, “Bless You Boys,” he mentions that he sent Jack Morris home in the 13th inning of the previous night’s game, and that move may have made the difference in this one, as he basically shutdown a tired Indians team. He only gave up three hits and three walks in nine innings, and the three runs the Tigers scored in the first two innings were all the Tigers would need in this one.
Chet Lemon and Lou Whitaker hit homers. Trammell knocked in two with a double and stole his seventh base of the season. Detroit was also effecient in this one, garnering ten hits and two walks, while only stranding four baserunners.
April 27, 1984 Indians 8, Tigers 4 19 Innings (16-2)
It took nearly six hours for this game to play it’s course, but the Tigers seven game winning streak came to an end as they burned the midnight oil in a 19 inning affair.
After the Indians batted in the top half of the second inning, the score was even at 3-3. Seven innings later, the game still stood at 3-3. Both the Indians and the Tigers scored a run in the 10th, and then it wasn’t until the Indians scored 4 unearned runs in the nineteenth inning that this one was put to bed (literally).
Another stand out performance by Aurilio Lopez, as he threw 4 2/3 shutout innings to follow up his 2 2/3 perfect innings the day before. He kept the Tigers in the game, but Glenn Abbott, who had shut the Indians down for four innings by himself, committed two errors in the nineteenth which helped the Indians score four runs to give the Indians the lead for good.
In all, the Tigers would commit four errors, leading to six unearned runs. The Tigers only had one extra basehit, a double by Whitaker, despite having 66 official at bats. And possibly the oddest line of the night was Andre Thorton, the Indians DH, who went 0 for 9.
April 26, 1984 Tigers 7, Rangers 5 (16-1)
Neither starter was effective in this one. Future Tiger Frank Tanana gave up six runs in less then four innings, and Dave Rozema was just marginally better as he gave up five runs in 4 1/3. Once the starters were pulled, things really calmed down, as only the Tigers scored one run in the final four innings of this one. Doug Bair pitched two shutout innings to notch his second relief win of the year, and Aurelio Lopez threw 2 2/3 perfect innings to garner his second save.
Whitaker, Trammell, Herndon, and Lemon all had multi-hit games, and Lance Parrish homered in his third consecutive game, boosting his season total to five.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 16-1 on the season, and had a six game lead in the AL East. Everyone points to their 35-5 start, which is simply an incredible start, but it’s only after you go back and see what they actually did throughout those first couple of months can you appreciate what this team accomplished.
April 25, 1984 Tigers 9, Rangers 4 (15-1)
Dave Stewart didn’t make it out of the first inning in the Tiger’s Home Opener, and he didn’t fair too much better in this one as the Tigers finally got to him in the seventh inning. By the end of the game, the Tigers scored nine runs on thirteen hits.
John Grubb, Howard Johnson, and Lance Parrish all hit homeruns in this one. In fact Lance Parrish hit his second three run shot in as many games. Milt Wilcox went six innings, and Willie Hernandez finished the game by pitching the final three innings, as he picked up his second save of the season.
April 24, 1984 – Game 1 – Tigers 6, Twins 5 (13-1)
Jack Morris had his worst outing of the season so far, but managed to walk away with his fourth straight victory. He went the distance, giving up five runs on seven hits and five walks. But as was typical of this magical season, it was just enough as the Tigers won in dramatic fashion.
The Tigers entered the bottom of the ninth down 5-3. Kirk Gibson led off the inning with a triple. John Grubb then reached base on a fielder’s choice (and would leave the game as Rusty Kuntz would run for him). Dave Bergman then drove in Gibson with an RBI single, cutting the lead to one rune.
Then, the wheels really came off the wagon as relief pitcher Ron Davis would put one in the dirt, allowing the tying run to score on a wild pitch, and moving Bergman over to second. Howard Johnson grounded out to third, and with one out, Chet Lemon was given the intentional pass. Lance Parrish then lined out to second base.
So with two outs, and runners on first and second, Lou Whitaker singled, and drove in Bergman to win the game. Tigers Win 6-5!!!
April 24, 1984 – Game 2 – Tigers 4, Twins 3 (13-1)
Lance Parrish hit a three run homer in the fifth inning, and Aurelio Lopez shut the Twins down in the final three innings in the back end of the double header. Starter Dan Petry was forced to leave the game with a sore shoulder in the third.
Glenn Abbott took over in the fourth and gave up two runs in the top half of the sixth, but Parrish answered in the next inning with his three run shot.
Aurelio Lopez got the three inning save, as he pitched three shutout innings, giving up only one hit and two walks, while striking out three.
April 22, 1984 Tigers 9, White Sox 1 (12-1)
A Kirk Gibson first inning two run homerun was all the Tigers would end up needing in this, but they got a lot more. In total, the Tigers would score nine runs on eighteen hits. Five different Tigers had multi-hit games, including a 4 for 4 outing by Chet Lemon. Six different Tigers would score, and five different Tigers would drive in a runs. A good all around team effort.
Juan Berenguer was exceptional in his first start of the season. He pitched seven shutout innings, struck out seven, and only gave up two hits and a walk. He had a no-hitter going into the fifth, but gave up a single to Kalamazoo native Mike Squires. Mike would also make his pitching debut, and finale in this one, getting the final out in the eighth inning.
April 21, 1984 Tigers 4, White Sox 1 (11-1)
It’s not too often where you have a player score three of the teams four runs in a game, but that’s exactly what Lou Whitaker did in this one. Lou led off the game with a solo homerun. In the third he’d draw a walk, and eventually score on a Darrell Evans ground out. And then in the seventh, he’d score on an Alan Trammell single. Lou knew how to get on base. Over his career, he walked almost as many times as he struck out, and was an excellent two strike hitter. He wasn’t your protypical lead off man because he didn’t steal a lot of bases, but he worked the count well, and managed to put together some nice seasons in the middle 1980s.
Dave Rozema really shut down the White Sox. He only went six innings, but he allowed just two hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Doug Bair would come in to finish the game and get a three inning save.
And with that, the Tigers tied the mark for the best start of the season by an American League team. They stood at 11-1, and were already out to a 3 1/2 game lead in the AL East.
April 20, 1984 Tigers 3, White Sox 2 (10-1)
This time, the Tigers managed to get eleven hits, but they had a hard time making them count as they also left eleven men on base in this nail biter. The Tigers never had the lead in this one until the game ended, and Milt Wilcox, despite not getting the win, threw a great game to keep the Tigers in this one. Eight innings, eight hits, three walks, and only two runs.
The Tigers were down 2-1 going into the seventh when Larry Herndon drove in Barbero Garbey on a single. Then in the ninth, with the score tied 2-2, Lou Whitaker drew a lead off walk. Tram bunted him over to second. Dave Bergman grounded out, but moved Lou over to third, and then Lance Parrish drove in Whitaker on a two out walk off single.
A great game, and the fans were beginning to appreciate what the Tigers were doing, as they drew nearly 34,000, the most since opening day.
April 19, 1984 Royals 5, Tigers 2 (9-1)
Despite what everyone in Detroit thought at the time, the Tigers couldn’t win them all, and they finally dropped their first game of the season to the Royals. A great pitching performance by rookie pitcher Bret Saberhagen, who earned his first career victory, was basically all the Royals needed as the Tigers could only manage seven hits and two runs.
The Tigers actually managed to get the lead early, as Lance Parrish drove in Lou Whitaker in the first inning. The Royals would get two in the third, one in the sixth, and then two insurance runs in the eigth to pretty much seal the game up. Kirk Gibson would hit a solo shot in the ninth, but it was too little, too late, as the Tigers finally put a notch in their loss column.
April 18, 1984 – Detroit 4, Royals 3, 10 innings (9-0)
After a four day break because of Mother Nature, the Tigers started right where they left off, beating the Royals 4-3 for their franchise best ninth straight victory to start the season.
Jack Morris got off to a great start, but he gave up a 3-0 lead iin the eighth inning, giving up a three run homer to Jorge Orta. Morris would end up pitching nine innings, but would yield to Willie Hernandez in extra innings, who would eventually got on to get the win by pitching a perfect tenth inning.
With two outs and Tram on third, Larry Herndon would hit a grounder to the eight time gold glove winning second basemen of the Royals, Frank White. White bobbled the ball, allowing Herndon to reach base, and Tram to score the winning run.
April 13, 1984 – Tigers 13, Red Sox 9 (8-0)
Neither Milt Wilcox nor Boston starter Bruce Hurst would make it past the first inning in this slugfest. The Tigers started things off by scoring 8 runs in the top half of the first inning. Four Tigers would bat twice in the inning, and in a fashion, Lance Parrish was responsible for all three outs. He struck out in his first at bat, then grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Boston responded with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the first, chasing Wilcox out of the game. Doug Bair, another key member of the Tigers bullpen, came in and pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up only 3 hits and one walks, and striking out five.
Six different Tigers had multihit games in this Friday the 13th game, and the Tigers would improve to 8-0.
And the diary will take a short break. In an unusual stretch of the season, the Tigers had four consecutive days off because of rain, and even snow. So be sure to check back on April 18th. In the meantime, hopefully the 2004 Tigers will give me more to write about.
April 12, 1984 – Tigers 9, Rangers 4 (7-0)
Alan Trammell, Chet Lemon, and Lou Whitaker all homered, as the Tigers trounced the Rangers 9-4. Through five innings, Texas was hanging in there, but the Tigers scored four in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Jack Morris was his usual self, going seven innings, while giving up seven hits and one walk. The only two runs he gave up were unearned.
And with that win, the Tigers broke the franchise record for most consecutive wins to start the season. They also already had a three game lead in their division. The only question for Tiger fans was how long they could keep it up.
April 10, 1984 – Tigers 5, Rangers 1 (6-0)
Dan Petry went the distance in this one, yielding a run and two hits in the first inning, and then only giving up two hits the rest of the way, all while striking out seven.
Once again, the Tigers only had five hits, but they made them all count. Darrell Evans hit a three run homer on his very first swing at Tiger Stadium in the first inning. Dave Stewart wouldn’t even make it out of the first inning (five walks, two hits, and four runs in 2/3 of inning).
And with the win, the Tigers tied their franchise best start ever. One really interesting thing about the Tigers 1984 season is that Jack Morris and Willie Hernandez got quite a bit of the credit for carrying this team, but it was Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox who helped Morris anchor a great rotation.
In fact, in some respects Dan Petry had an even better year the Morris. He didn’t have the no-hitter, but his ERA was better (3.24 vs. 3.60) and so was his WHIP (1.273 vs. 1.282). Both had just about the same number of strikeouts (144 for Petry and 148 for Morris). Not to diminish Morris’ role, because he was the leader, but Petry had an outstanding year in his own right.
April 8, 1984 – Tigers 7, White Sox 3 (5-0)
Dave Rozema pitched four strong innings, but had to leave the game when his arm tightened up. He left Aurelio Lopez with a one run lead, and summarily slammed the door, giving up only one run (Harold Baines home run), one hit, and striking out four in four strong innings.
The Tigers got to Tom Seaver early as well, scoring five runs in the first five innings. Kirk Gibson hit his second homer of the season. Tram stole his fourth base. Barbero Garbey doubled twice and drove in three runs.
I’m not sure why, but this game went three hours and seventeen minutes. Back then, that was a pretty long game.
And one odd quirk about the 1984 season is the Tigers played in four home openers. They opened the Metrodome, Comiskey, Fenway and then of course Tiger Stadium. They rained on everyone’s parade that year.
April 7, 1984 – Tigers 4, White Sox 0 (4-0)
For the second game in a row, the Tigers only had five hits. but that was more then enough in this one, as Jack Morris went the distance, and threw the first Tiger no-hitter since Jim Bunning did it back in 1958. Morris actually walked the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but got Greg Luzinski to hit into a 1-2-3 double play to get him out of the jam.
I distinctly remember this game. It was on a Saturday, which was the day we usually went to evening mass. The game wasn’t done when we left, so I made everyone listen to the game on the radio on the drive over there, and I even waited until the game was done before getting out of the car. I was glued to the radio.
April 6, 1984 – Tigers 3, White Sox 2 (3-0)
The Tigers drew first blood , as they scored three runs before the White Sox even batted. Dave Bergman came up with a big two run, two out single to give the Tigers that three run lead. Of course they would have never known that all those runs would be very important, as they’d get only three more hits the rest of the way.
Milt Wilcox pitched seven quality innings, giving up only four hits and one run in seven innings. He did walk four, and one of those, drawn by Harold Baines, was the only player to score on him.
And then the Tigers got a minor scare in eighth. Pitching in his third consecutive game, Willie Hernandez gave up one run in the eighth, but slammed the door shut in the ninth, givng the Tigers their third straight win and Hernandez his first save of the season.
April 3, 1984 – Detroit 8, Twins 1 (1-0)
Jack Morris was about as impressive as a pitcher could be in an opening day appearance, pitching seven innings, while giving up only one run on five hits. All while striking out eight. The Tigers drew first blood in the third with a one run double by Howard Johnson, and a one run single by Tram. After scoring these two runs, the Tigers would never look back, as the only dent the Twins would be able to make was in the second half of the inning, when Twins put one on the board.
And what would become an trend all season, Aurelio Lopez pitched a perfect eighth, and Willie (Guillermo) Hernandez pitched a perfect ninth. It wouldn’t always be those same innings, but those two guys were the anchor of a great pen, and you’ll be seeing their names pop up quite often.
April 4, 1984 – Day Off (1-0)
April 5, 1984 – Tigers 7, Twins 3 (2-0)
Dan Petry gave up the lead early in this one (two runs in the second), but the Tigers bounced back by scoring one in the third and three in the fourth. Petry calmed, and ended up going seven. Willie Hernandez then did the job by pitching perfect eight and nine innings. Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson led the way on offense. Both hit homeruns (Gibby’s was a three run shot to put the Tigers up for good in the fourth), and Tram went three for four.
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