Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation
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July 31, 1984 Tigers 5, Indians 1 (71-32)
Juan Berenguer set the stage with 6 1/3 innings of four hit ball. Doug Bair finished the game with 2 2/3 perfect innings. Once again, a fine showing by the bullpen, and this time, it wasn’t even the usual Lopez/Hernandez tandem.
The Tigers scored all five of their runs in the second inning. Ruppert Jones hit a solo homer, Doug Baker had a three run triple, and Lou Whitaker drove in one on a sacrafice fly. Kirk Gibson added two hits.
July 31, 1984 Indians 6, Tigers 4 (71-33)
Dave Rozema got shelled and left the game in the third inning. Despite an amazing pitching performance by Aurilio Lopez, the Tigers couldn’t come back in this one.
You don’t see this anymore. Ever. Aurilio Lopez, basically the Tigers set up man, started pitching in the third, and finished the game. 6 2/3 innings of shutout relief. He gave up four hits, one walk, and stuck out five. Having Bair, Lopez and Hernandez gave Sparky a ton of flexibility, knowing he had three quality arms in the pen.
July 29, 1984 Tiger 3, Red Sox 0 (70-32)
Milt Wilcox threw a gem, as he pitched eight shutout innings, giving up only three hits, and walking none. Willie Hernandez closed out the game for his 21st save by pitching a perfect ninth.
The Tigers only managed four hits of their own against Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, but they made them count. Boyd struck out ten Tigers, and the only extra base hit in the entire game was a triple by Ruppert Jones.
July 28, 1984 Red Sox 3, Tigers 2 (69-32)
The 70th win of the season keeps on eluding Detroit, as Jack Morris pitched his best game in a while, but still came away with the loss. Jack threw seven innings, giving up eight hits and three runs while striking out seven. But three Boston pitchers held the Tigers to two runs, while striking out ten.
Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon, and Kirk Gibson all had two hits. Lou hit his sixth homer of the year.
July 27, 1984 Tigers 9, Red Sox 1 (69-30)
Another masterful outing by Dan Petry led the way for the Tigers. Dan went the distance in a six hitter, and it wasn’t until the ninth inning, when Rich Gedman hit a solo shot, that a run crossed the plate.
Chet Lemon hit his fourteenth homer, and Lance Parrish his 21st. The Tigers scattered nine hits, and they were all by different players.
July 27, 1984 Red Sox 4, Tigers 0 (69-31)
Bob Ojeda turned the table on the Tigers as he actually outdid Dan Petry in the earlier game. Ojeda pitched a three hitter, striking out five.
Glenn Abbot got shelled, lasting only 3 1/3. He gave up 10 hits and four runs. The bullpen shut the Red Sox down, but the Tigers couldn’t figure out Ojeda. Berenguer, Monge, Bair, and Lopez all pitched shut out innings (2 2/3 by Berenguer).
The prospect of a 70-30 start would have been nice, but the Tigers fell just short. Another loss by the Blue Jays put the Tigers up by a season high twelve games though, so the team had to be feeling good about itself.
July 25, 1984 Indians 4, Tigers 1 (68-30)
As usual during the year, the Tigers couldn’t win them all. Dave Rozema pitched a solid 6+ innings, but Cleveland Rookie Roy Smith shutdown the Tigers. The only real damage was a solo shot by Darrell Evans in the second inning.
Even with the loss, Toronto continued to struggle, so the Tigers remained 11 1/2 games up. The final game of the series was rained out.
July 24, 1984 Tigers 9, Indians 5 (68-29)
Milt Wilcox threw a nice game to win his tenth of the season, going 6 2/3, giving up six hits, one walk and four runs (none of them earned). He left the game to Willie Hernandez with nice lead, and he finished things off.
Lou Whitaker went three for five with three runs, and Kirk Gibson, Larry Herndon, and Lance Parrish all had two RBIs. Whitaker, Gibby and Dave Bergman all homered in the game. Doug Baker, Alan Trammell’s fill in while he was on the 15 day DL, went four for five hitting in the nine spot.
At this point in the season, the Tigers had moved into what was basically an insurmountable position. They held an 11 1/2 game lead over the Blue Jays, who had hit a rough patch. At this point, things were little more then formality as they had two more months until the playoffs started.
July 23, 1984 Tiger 4, Indians 1 (67-29)
The Indians gave Jack Morris a rough time, walking five times and getting five hits in six innings. But, most importantly, he stopped everyone from crossing the plate. The Indians didn’t score until the bottom of the ninth on a solo homerun by Andre Thornton off of Doug Bair.
Kirk Gibson hit his fifteenth homer and drove in two runs, and Lance Parrish hit his twentieth homerun to lead the Tigers offense.
July 22, 1984 Tigers 2, Rangers 0 (66-29)
Dave Bergman led of the Tigers half of the first inning with a solo shot. Little would anyone know that it would be all the Tigers would need. He also scored the Tigers other run on wild pitch.
Dan Petry was simply awesome. He went 8 2/3, gave up only four hits and one walk, while striking out eight. Willie Hernandez got the final out of the game to earn his twentieth save of the season.
The sweep put the Tigers 38 games above .500, they’re best mark of the season. They were near the end of the run where they’d win 11 of 12, and had increased their lead over the Blue Jays to nine games.
July 21, 1984 Tigers 7, Rangers 6 (65-29)
Bullpen, Bullpen, Bullpen.
Tiger starter Glenn Abbott got shelled in the third inning, giving up five runs, and getting chased out of the game. But Sid Monge, who was used only sporadically up until this point, pitched four innings of three hit ball to let the Tigers come back.
The Tigers would get five big runs in the bottom of the fifth to finish off the Rangers. Ruppert Jones had a one run single, Chet Lemon a two run double, and Howard Johnson a two run single. Willie Hernandez pitched the eighth and ninth, giving up only one hit and earning his nineteenth save.
July 20, 1984 Tigers 3, Rangers 1 (64-29)
Dave Rozema pitched eight solid innings to give the Tigers the win. Six hits and one run were all he gave up. Willie Hernandez garnered his eighteenth save with a perfect ninth inning.
Future Tiger Frank Tanana pitched nearly as well, but he gave up a two run shot to Barbero Garbey in the third, and a solo shot to Chet Lemon in the fourth. He’d go the distance, but take his ninth loss of the season. Chet Lemon ended up with three of the eight Tiger hits.
July 19. 1984 Tigers 9, Rangers 2 (63-29)
A three run second inning put the Tigers up for good as they racked up nine runs on thirteen hits, chasing starter, and future four time 20 game winner Dave Stewart out in the fifth inning.
Lou Whitaker went three for five, Ruppert Jones went four for four, and Lance Parrish and Kirk Gibson had homeruns.
Milt Wilcox threw a nice game,, going 7 1/3 and giving up only two runs. The usual suspects, Willie Hernandez and Aurilio Lopez finished the game out.
July 18, 1984 White Sox 10, Tigers 6 (62-29)
It’s not too often that your ace gets shelled to stop a nice winning streak, but that’s what happened as Jack Morris gave up 10 hits and seven runs in four innings of work. The last time Jack Morris won a start was June 24, nearly a month ago.
Larry Herndon drove in three runs on a triple, and Lance Parrish hit his eighteenth homer of the season.
July 17, 1984 Tigers 3, White Sox 2 (62-28)
The Tigers scored three quick runs in the first inning on a sacrafice fly by Kirk Gibson and two run shot by Darrell Evans. Eight innings later, they were still sitting on three runs, but it was just enough to walk away with a win.
Dan Petry pitched another fine game. He went 7 2/3, gave up five hits and one walk, while striking out five to improve to 12-4. Willie Herndandez then finished things up by throwing 1 1/3 perfect innings to earn his seventeenth save.
July 16, 1984 Tigers 7, White Sox 1 (61-28)
Glenn Abbott pitched his best game of the season, throwing a five hit, one run complete game. Glenn Abbott was used as fourth/fifth starter in certain situations, racking up eight starts over thirteen games. After a rough stretch, the Tigers ended up releasing him on August 14, 1984, ending his major league career.
Kirk Gibson was the hitting star, driving in three runs and scoring three on a homerun and a triple. Chet Lemon had two hits, and Lou Whitaker and Ruppert Jones also drove in runs.
July 15, 1984 Tigers 6, Twins 2 (60-28)
Dave Rozema pitched six strong innings and Aurilio Lopez pitched 3 2/3 innings of one hit ball to earn his eleventh save of the season. The two pitchers each had five strikeouts.
Dave Rozema had some nice years for the Tigers, but never reached his full potential. In 1977, he was the Tigers Rookie of the Year after going 15-7 with a 3.09 ERA. The fact that he struck out only 92 batters in 218 1/3 innings sort of gave everyone a reflection that this first season might have been an anamoly. He finished eighth in the Cy Young voting that year, but he’d never reach double digits in wins again.
By 1984, Dave was near the end of his career. He did have a fine season, as all the Tigers seemed to do that year, playing the role of spot starter and long reliever for the Tigers. He pitched 101 innings, and racked up an impressive ERA of 3.74.
Lou Whitaker went four for five, and Darrell Evans hit had three RBIs and a homerun. Lemon, Bergman, and Howard Johnson all had two hits.
July 14, 1984 Tigers 6, Twins 5 (59-28)
Chalk up another win for the bullpen. Starter Milt Wilcox pitched 5 2/3 mediocre innings before leaving the game with the Tigers down 4-3. Doug Bair pitched 3 1/3 perfect innings, and Willie Hernandez pitched three innings of one hit ball to earn his second win in as many games.
With the Tigers down by a run in the ninth, Dave Bergman hit a solo homer to send the game into extra innings. Then an RBI single by Chet Lemon and a Sac. Fly by Dave Bergman in the twelth put the game away. Tim Teufel his a solo shot off of Hernandez in the bottom half of the twelth, but it wasn’t enough.
July 13, 1984 Tigers 5, Twins 3 (58-28)
Jack Morris and the usual suspects in the pen, Aurilio Lopez and Willie Hernandez, kept the Tigers in this one just long enough for the bats to get going and win the game for them.
Jack Morris pitched one of his better games in a while, going 7 1/3, walking none, and giving up only eight hits and three runs (one earned, two unearned).
The game was saved by Kirk Gibson, who threw Tim Teufel out at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth (Thanks again to Sparky’s Bless You Boys, this doesn’t show up in the boxscores). Then in the top half of the eleventh, Lou Whitaker hit a two run in the park homerun to put the Tigers up for good. Willie Hernandez improved to 5-0, and Aurilio Lopez earned his tenth save.
July 12, 1984 Twins 4, Tigers 2 (57-28)
Another tough loss, as a relatively strong pitching performance by Dan Petry was wasted. Dan went 7 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and four runs (three earned, one unearned).
Frank Viola was a just a little bit better. Eight innings, five hits, one run, and five strikeouts. 1984 would be Frank Viola’s breakout season, and for the last half of the 1980s, he was dominating as any pitcher, including 24 wins and Cy Young in 1988. Frank was also the World Series MVP in 1987. From 1984 through 1988 he won no less then 16 games in a season and never pitched less then 245 innings. After a rough 1989 season, he bounced back and won 20 games in 1990 with the Mets.
July 10, 1984 National League 3, American League 1
The National League scored one run in each of the first two innings, and that’s basically all they needed. Gary Carter hit a homerun in the second inning, and I believe he ended up the MVP.
Tiger notables included the following:
Lou Whitaker 2 for 3
Chet Lemon 1 for 3
Lance Parrish 0 for 2
Jack Morris 2 IP, 2 hits, 1 BB, 2 strikeouts
Willie Hernandez 1 IP, 1 strikeout, gave up a solo shot to Dale Murphy
July 8, 1984 Rangers 9, Tigers 7 (57-27)
Doug Bair got his only start of the season, and basically got pummelled. Jack Morris was picked to pitch in the All Star Game, so Sparky had to let him have the day off on this Sunday game. Bair only lasted 2 2/3, and by the end of the third inning, the Tigers found themselves down seven to nothing. An inning later, and it was eight to two.
The Tigers made an attempt to come back, scoring four in the sixth and one in the seventh, but it just wasn’t enough. Chet Lemon went two for three with three RBIs, and Howard Johnson hit his eighth homer of the year, and drove in three.
Since starting 35-5, the Tiger’s went into the break still exactly 30 games above .500. So for an extended stretch, they were basically playing .500 ball. They still held a seven game lead, but it still didn’t seem like enough.
July 7, 1984 Tigers 5, Rangers 2 (57-26)
This was a nice win. At this stage of the season, Dave Rozema was basically a fifth starter/long reliever. In this slot, you wouldn’t expect too much from him, but he threw a fine game, going six innings and giving up only one earned run. Willie Hernandez pitched the final three innings, giving up only one hit and striking out five, to earn his sixteenth save of the season.
Lance Parrish hit his sixteenth homer and scored twice. Ruppert Jones went three for four, scoring once and driving in a run.
July 6, 1984 Rangers 5, Tigers 3 (56-26)
Juan Berenguer only lasted 2 2/3, giving up five hits, two walks, and three runs. The three runs in the third were most of what the Rangers needed to win this, as the Tigers only scored three runs, and it wasn’t until the eighth inning on a three run shot by Lance Parrish. Future Tiger manager Larry Parrish hit his thirteenth homer of the season, going three for four.
Berenguer dropped to 4-7, and Aurilio Lopez pitched 4 1/3 innings of relief. The only other Tiger notable was Chet Lemon, who went two for four.
July 5, 1984 Tigers 7, Rangers 4 (56-25)
It’s nice to see the Tigers pulled things together on my birthday. I wished I would have remember this one, because it was an impressive comeback.
Down 4-1 in the ninth, the Tigers scored six runs on five hits to pull it out. What was even more impressive was that they scored all six runs with two outs. Lou Whitaker had a two run single. Then Alan Trammell got a one run single. The big blow was by the Tiger’s Mr. Clutch, Kirk Gibson. He finished off the Rangers with a three run shot. Knuckleballer Charlie Hough took the loss and went the distance.
Dan Petry was hit hard, but the pen once again shut the opposing team down to allow the Tigers a chance to come back. Doug Bair pitched 1 1/3 innings of no hit ball. Aurilio Lopez threw 1 2/3 innings of one hit ball to improve to 7-0. And Willie Hernandez got the final out of the game to earn his 15th save.
56-25 at the half way point. They were on pace to win 112. They didn’t quite make that, but a solid first half. If the Yankees were to win their next five, they’d still only be 55-26 at the break.
July 4, 1984 White Sox 8, Tigers 2 (55-25)
I’m sure the Tigers were very happy to get out of Chicago. Three games. Three beatings. Richard Dotson pitched eight innings of three hit ball to shut down the Tigers. The Tigers tried making a run in the ninth, but fell way short.
Milt Wilcox walked seven and gave up five hits and six runs, all in the sixth inning.
Darrell Evans and John Grubb hit homers for Detroit to account for their two runs.
Forty games after starting 35-5, the Tigers still stood at third games over .500. After a forty game stretch of .500 ball, they stood seven games ahead of Toronto, losing 1 1/2 games from where they were at the forty game mark.
July 3, 1984 White Sox 9, Tigers 5 (55-24)
This one was pretty ugly. Jack Morris gave up eight runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings after the Tigers scored three runs in the first on a three run homer by Lance Parrish.
Hall of Famer Tom Seaver got the win for the White Sox. Near the end of a great career, Tom Seaver went 15-11 in 1984, and won 16 games the following year. In 1986, he pitched for the AL pennant winning Red Sox, but missed the post season, I think because of injury.
For those of you who have never picked up and at least flipped through Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, you’re definitely missing something. Pound for pound, there’s more baseball information in this book then any you’ll find. In it, Bill James lists Tom Seaver as the sixth best pitcher, but like Roger Clemens, mentions that you could put him into the number one spot because of the era he played in.
But the numbers he put up are astounding. 311-205, a career 2.86 ERA, a career 127 Adjusted ERA+. and a almost 3/1 strikeout to walk ratio. Tom finished in the top 10 in the Cy Young voting 10 times, and walked away with three awards. In 1971, he had an Adjusted ERA+ of 193. And his 61 shutouts puts him at seventh all time.
And he’d get the best of the Tigers on this day back in 1984. Ruppert Jones and Howard Johnson also had homeruns, and Kirk Gibson went two for three.
July 2, 1984 White Sox 7, Tigers 1 (55-23)
Two tough losses in a row. Once again, neither the pitching or the offense was there. The Tigers managed only one run on five hits, and starter Dave Rozema was sent to the bench after only four innings of work.
Alan Trammell had two hits as the designated hitter. Sparky mentions in his book “Bless You Boys” that Tram’s arm was bothering him at this point of the season, so he played him at DH during this series. Doug Baker made his major league debut in place of Tram at shortstop. Baker would play bits and pieces of seven major league seasons for the Tigers and the Twins.
July 1, 1984 Twins 9, Tigers 0 (55-22)
A very tough day for the home team, as the Tigers got beat in just about any way that you can imagine. Frank Viola pitched a four hit shutout, and Juan Berenguer got roughed up in his five innings of work.
Probably the oddest thing about this game was backup outfielder Rusty Kuntz, who ended his career in 1985 with a career .236 batting average in 441 career at-bats, was in the leadoff spot, probably giving Lou Whitaker a night off against the lefty Viola.
The Tigers had three different four game losing streaks during the 1984 campaign, and this was the beginning of the first one.
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