Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation
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Lou Pinella announced that Alan Trammell would be his bench coach for the Cubs next season. I always thought Tram got a raw deal in Detroit and I’m glad he’s getting another chance, and this time in a major media market. I know it’s not a head coaching job but I’d expect he’ll be back in charge of a team within the next five years.
I took some heat for my last post on Tram when I said he should be given one more year. First off, I apologize about the error. They were 26-26 in two runs games, not in games decided by less then two runs. All I was trying to show here was one of many indicators that the Tigers have been “okay” in close games.
I guess the main reason why I think Tram should be given another year is, he’s never been given the tools to win. We’ve been trying to rebuild since 2002 (actually, it’s a lot longer then that, but 2002 would be when the “current” rebuilding began) and we were starting from rock bottom. Even this year, when many (including myself) thought the Tigers might get over the hump, the Tigers really don’t have what it takes to win in our division much less securing a playoff spot. It goes to show you when Chris Shelton is your best hitter. While he’s had a solid season, I just don’t see him more then a “good” player on any team that’s in the playoff mix.
And while our rotation has done better then anyone would have expected, it’s still not much better then average. Kyle Farnsworth still leads our team in Runs Saved Above Average (10), and unless Bonderman (7) has a strong finish, Farnsworth could end up the team leader at season end.
I’d just like to see Tram be given a chance with a playoff contending team. If he falls on his face and doesn’t get the job done (a la Larry Bowa), then I’d feel safe about replacing him.
Two managers who come to mind that I would consider putting in Tram’s place would be Davey Johnson (who looks like he’ll be heading up the Orioles again) and Jim Leyland (not sure what his situation is, but he’ll be 61 in December). Both are proven winners and each have World Series rings. One of the readers mentioned Larry Dierker and he’d also be a definite upgrade. I am curious to know why he hasn’t found work since leaving Houston though. He did suffer from a seizure in the dugout, but that was 1999. He went on to have a few more successful years after that.
But outside of securing a handful of proven commodities, I’d like to see Tram in the dugout, and I’d also like to see how he could a handle a more talented team.
I finished David Wells autobiography “Perfect I’m Not.” It really was a great read. Just a good baseball book. And I dare someone to read it and not come away a David Wells fan or (I can hear the groans already) a Yankees Fan. Yes, they have obnoxious fans, but David Wells really paints the team in a favorable light.
I’m also reading John Helyar’s “Lords of the Reams,” which is a fantastic look at the business of baseball. I’m also 200 pages into David McCullough’s tome/biography of Harry Truman. Finally, I started another good read called “Wedding of the Waters” by Peter Bernstein. It’s a look at the construction fo the Erie Canal and it’s effect on our nation.
The Tigers took two today at KC after a tough series in Toronto. The World Champs come to town next for a three game series.
the Tigers have now lost eight of their last ten and nine of their last twelve. It’s definitely been a rough week for the Tigers, and I have a feeling we’ll start hearing (again) fans call for Trammell’s job.
Personally, I’d like to see what Tram can do next year. I don’t think there’s a likely replacement for him so there’s no sense in letting him go. The Tigers are 26-26 in games decided by less then two runs (through 8/6) so it’s not like he’s “blown” a lot of close games either. And while I know the manager is pretty much responsible for everything, it seemed like a tale of two seasons. In the first half, the pitching staff did well but the offense didn’t (give some credit to Bob Cluck). This half, the offense has done a little better, but the pitching has tapered off (which was somewhat expected, because none of our guys have really been tested as far as durability).
So I’m just as inclined to give him one more chance. Hopefully we’ll have a full season of Magglio Ordonez and a full season of Chris Shelton. Another good arm would be nice, as would Hideki Matsui (wishful thinking).
This weekend was the inaugural Negro League appreciation weekend. I went last year and it was cool watching the Tigers play in the old Detroit Stars uniforms. If you’d like to check out more information on the Stars, be sure to check Negroleaguebaseball.com.
The diary took a break because of some rainouts, and the Tigers will continue their pennant race tomorrow. A big series with the Yankees is coming up in about a week and a half.
The writing was on the wall, and it became official today. Alan Trammell was offered a job with the organization as Special Assistant to the GM, but he’ll no longer be the skipper of the Tigers.
I know I’ve taken some heat for defending Trammell. While I know at times his decision making has been questionable, I never thought he was given the support and tools to win. Which is why I was calling for management to give him one more year at the helm.
Now the search for a new manager begins, with Jim Leyland being the odds on favorite. Although he’ll be courted by Pittsburgh as well, so we’ll see what happens. I wouldn’t mind Bruce Fields getting another shot as well.
Leave it up to Tram. Old reliable. He had a career OPS+ of only 110, and he had just as many seasons below 100 as he did above. But over almost 2,300 career games, he posted a batting average of .285, and an OBP of .352.
1983 was Alan Trammell’s breakout season. In fact it was almost a carbon copy of what he would do in 1984. The five time All Star finished in the top five in hitting in four different seasons, and finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting on three different occasions, including a ninth place finish in 1984. He never won the award, but probably should have in 1987, when he lost out to George Bell.
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
Runs Created 98
Batting Runs Above Replacement 46
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 36
Equalized Average .297
Wins Above Replacement Player 9.0
So, the shutout ends. I actually thought Dave Concepcion would give Trammell a run, because he had quite a good career, but 1975 wasn’t one of his better seasons. Outside of fielding, Trammell is the better player. And even comparing these two seasons, that differential wasn’t very big.
Scorecard 1975 Reds 4, 1984 Tigers 1
1984 World Series Game 5 – October 14, 1984
Tigers 8, Padres 4
Tigers Win Best of Seven Series 4-1
The score looks like a blowout, but what a game. The Tigers took the series in five, and beat the Padres to win the World Series at Tiger Stadium. In all, they went 4-0 in the playoffs in front of their home fans.
For the fourth straight game, the Tigers got to the Padres very early. Lou Whitaker led off the game with a single, and was forced out on a fielders choice by Alan Trammell. Kirk Gibson then hit the first of two big blasts to put the Tigers up 2-0. Lance Parrish then singled and stole second, was moved to third on a single by Larry Herndon, and was then driven in on a single by Chet Lemon. Starter Mark Thurmond was then pulled after only 1/3 of an inning in which he gave up five hits.
Reliever Andy Hawkins would get the Padres out of that jam. Larry Herndon was caught stealing third, and Barbero Garbey popped out to end the inning. Starter Dan Petry had a nice three run cushion to work with.
After giving up a single in each of the first two innings, Dan Petry gave up his first run in the third on an RBI single by Steve Garvey. In the fourth, he gave up a lead off walk to Kurt Bevacqua. Garry Templeton doubled to put men at second and third when Bobby Brown drove in Bevacqua on a sacrafice fly. Alan Wiggins singled to drive in Garry Templeton, and all of a sudden, we had a tie ball game. Sparky had seen enough, and went to Bill Scherrer in his pen, who got Tony Gwynn to fly out for the final out of the inning.
The Tigers would strike back in the bottom of the fifth. Kirk Gibson, who did it all in this game, singled and moved to second on a fly out by Lance Parrish. Larry Herndon and Chet Lemon walked to load the bases. Gibby then scored on a sac. fly (it was actually a pop out to second base) to put the Tigers up 4-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers added a run on a solo homerun by Lance Parrish. With two innings left to play, the Tigers had a two run cushion that was short lived as the Padres put another run on the board with a solo shot by Kurt Bevacqua. The Tigers now had a razor thin one run margin, and they had one chance to put up some insurance runs for Willie Hernandez.
And insurance he got. In the bottom of the eighth, Marty Castillo walked, and Lou Whitaker bunted himself on. Alan Trammell moved them both over with a bunt of his own before one of the memorable at bats in Tiger’s history happened. Kirk Gibson came to the plate and hit a massive three run shot off of Goose Gossage to give the Tigers a comfortable four run lead. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was shown often during rain outs, where Goose Gossage talked the pitching coach down from intentionally walking Gibby, claiming he would strike him out. Gibson would finish the game three for four, with three runs and five RBIs.
The Padres managed a single in the ninth, but never really threatened. Willie Hernandez earned the save, the Tigers won the World Series. They were World Champions.
1984 World Series Game 4 – October 13, 1984
Tigers 4, Padres 2
Tigers Lead Best of Seven Series 3-1
Jack Morris had a an incredible first half in 1984. He had an equally poor second half as he got roughed up start after start. But once the playoffs started, Morris was rock solid, and definitely could be mentioned as a potential MVP candidate. This game was basically the Alan Trammell and Jack Morris show.
In the third, it was deja vu, as Lou Whitaker singled with one out, and then Alan Trammell hit a two run shot, his second homer of the game, to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead. They’d threaten more in the inning, getting two more baserunners on, before starter Eric Show got the hook.
As good as Trammell was with the bat, Jack Morris was as good on the mound. Jack went the distance, giving up only five hits and two runs (one of which didn’t come until the ninth). He struck out four, and carried the Tigers to within a game of winning the championship.
1984 World Series Game 3 – October 12, 1984
Tigers 5, Padres 2
Tigers Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Milt Wilcox got the nod in game three after pitching an incredible game a week before in the ALCS. He started out this game on a decent note. He let a baserunner on in each of the first two innings, but neither crossed the plate.
In the bottom of the third, the Tigers once again gave their starter a nice cushion. Chet Lemon got a one out single, and moved over to second on a Tim Lollar wild pitch. Darrell Evans moved him over to third base on a deep fly, and then Marty Castillo came up big, and hit a two run shot to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
The home team wasn’t done though. Lou Whitaker drew a walk, and was driven in on an Alan Trammell double. A Kirk Gibson walk and a Lance Parrish infield single loaded the bases before Tim Lollar got yanked. Reliever Greg Booker then walked in Tram, and then finally stopped the bleeding by getting Barbero Garbey to fly out (he also led off the inning with a fly out).
After only two innings, the Tigers had a 4-0 lead, and they had knocked out the Padres starter. This was a trend throughout the series, and the four runs the Tigers scored actually stood. The Tigers added a run in the third when Kirk Gibson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Padres did manage to tag Milt Wilcox for a run in the third. He pitched six before handing the ball to Bill Scherrer who gave up a run in the seventh. Willie Hernandez then summarily ended any chance of the Padres coming back by throwing 2 1/3 innings of one hit ball.
With the win, the tide had once again turned in the Tiger’s favor. For the second straight game, they forced the Padres to work deep into their pen, and never really gave them a chance to come back with strong pitching.
1984 World Series Game 2
– October 10, 1984
Padres 5, Tigers 3
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
If there’s one thing the Tigers did well in this series, it was getting out to early leads and knocking out the starting pitcher. This game was no exception, as the Tigers got through Padres’ starter Ed Whitson in the first inning.
Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Kirk Gibson led of the game with consecutive singles to score a run. Gibson stole second to put runners at second and third when Lance Parrish knocked in Trammell with a sacrafice fly. Darrell Evans then drove in Gibby with a single, and the Tigers were out to comfortable 3-0 lead. Ed Whitson would get one more out before giving up another single to John Grubb, and would be summarily pulled.
The Padres wouldn’t strike again until the fourth inning. Like the first inning, starer Dan Petry let the lead off man, Kurt Bevacqua, get on with a single. He’d score on a groundout by Gary Templeton to cut the lead down to a razor thing margin of one run.
The Padres took a page out the Tigers book by coming up with some great pen work. Andy Hawkins went 5 1/3 innings and gave up only one hit. Craig Lefferts did the same over three innings as they both shutdown the Tigers for the final eight innings of the game.
The Tigers pen would be as good, going 3 2/3 and giving up only two hits. The four relievers kept the Tigers in the game, but they just couldn’t get the bats going.
So they left San Diego tied 1-1. If they had lost the first and won the second, I would have said I was happy, but I wasn’t. The Tigers let this one slip from their fingers and hopefully they’d be able to wrap the series up at home.
1984 World Series – Game OneOctober 9, 1984 Tigers 3, Padres 2 Tigers Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
For the third time in four playoff games, the Tigers put a run on the board in the first inning. Lou Whitaker led off with a single, and Alan Trammell drove him in with a double. It’s always nice to have a lead before the other team even gets to swing their bats.
Unfortunately, the lead was short lived. Terry Kennedy drove in two runs with a double in the bottom half of the first off of starter Jack Morris. For the first time in the playoffs, the Tigers were down.
The next three innings saw each team getting only hit a piece. What looked like a game that could turn into a shoot out had settled down. Jack Morris had calmed down, and Padres starter Mark Thurmond was equally effective.
Then the Tigers pounced. In the top of the fifth, Larry Herndon came up big and hit a two out, two run homer to give the Tigers the lead for good.
Jack Morris went the distance, giving up only five hits after getting roughed up in the first inning. The Padres threatened in the sixth by getting their first two men on base with singles, but Morris summarily shutdown the rally by striking out the next three batters.
American League Championship Series Game 2October 3, 1984 Tigers 5, Royals 3 Tigers Lead Best of Five Series 2-0
While the first game was over pretty much after the first inning, this game showed why the Kansas City Royals walked away with the AL West division title.
Like Game 1, the Tigers went up quickly in the first to take a 2-0 lead. Lou Whitaker reached on an error, and moved over to second on a deep out to center by Alan Trammell. Mr. Clutch, Kirk Gibson drove in Lou with a double, and then was driven in himself on a double by Lance Parrish.
The Tigers extended their lead to 3-0 when Kirk Gibson hit a solo homerun in the top half of the third. Up 3-0, the Tigers looked to be comfortably in control, but the Royals were poised for a comeback.
It started in the bottom of the fourth off of starter Dan Petry. Pat Sheridan was driven in with a sac fly to cut the lead to 3-1. They added one more run in the seventh on an RBI single by pinch hitter Dane Iorg, then tied the game up off of Willie Hernandez in the eighth on a Hal McRae RBI double.
Neither team would score in the ninth or tenth innings, and it was finally in the eleventh when the Tigers sealed the game up. Lance Parrish led off with a single, and moved to second on an error committed while Darrell Evans was trying to move him over. Ruppert Jones forced out Lance Parrish at third to make it once again first and second with one out. Then John Grubb came up with the big hit, and drove in both baserunners with a two run double.
The Royals made an attempt in the bottom of the eleventh to come back by getting two men on, but Aurelio Lopez pitched out of the jam to earn the win.
And now the Tigers were heading home for two chances at home to take the series. Over in the NLCS, the Cubs had cruised to a similar 2-0 lead, and it appeared we’d have a rematch of the 1945 series.
American League Championship Series Game 1October 2, 1984 Tigers 8, Royals 1 (Tigers Lead Best of Five Series 1-0)
Big players produce during big moments, and two of the Tiger’s bread winners, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, came up huge in game one to give the Detroit Tigers a 1-0 lead in their quest for a world championship.
The Tigers started things off early. Lou Whitaker led off the inning with a single, and was summarily driven in by Alan Trammell on his triple. A sacrafice fly by Lance Parrish put the Tigers up 2-0 without the Royals even touching their bats.
The Tigers added a run in fourth on a Larry Herndon homerun, and another run in the fifth as Alan Trammell struck again, hitting a homerun of his own. Tram wasn’t done, because in the seventh, he drove in Lou Whitaker on a single, his third hit of the game.
In the meantime, Jack Morris looked like his April self. He cruised through the first six innings, and it wasn’t until the seventh inning when the Royals finally tagged him for a run. He’d go seven innings, giving up only five hits, the one run, and he struck out four.
One run singles by Barbero Garbey and Darrell Evans in the eighth put the Tigers up 7-1, and Willie Hernandez closed out the game by pitching two perfect innings. The Tigers would add one more run in the top of the ninth on a Lance Parrish homerun, but this game was over with after the Tigers batted in the first inning.
It was an all around dominating performance by the Tigers. Good pitching and good hitting. Can’t ask for more then that, especially in a five game series where anything can happen.
September 22, 1984 Tigers 6, Yankees 0 (99-55)
Other then Jack Morris’ no-hitter, Dan Petry had probably the next five best pitching performances for the 1984 Tigers. And he saved some of his best stuff for last, as he went the distance, gave up only four hits, and struck out nine. He won his eighteenth of the season it what would be his final start of the regular season.
September 21, 1984 Yankees 5, Tigers 3 (98-55)
The Tigers got off to a hot start, scoring three runs on an Alan Trammell homer and a Ruppert Jones double. All three runs came off of starter John Montefusco, but that’s all they’d get the entire game as they’d only get three more hits
Milt Wilcox gave up three in the third and then two in the sixth. He gave up five hits, but walked five en route to the loss.
September 8, 1984 Tigers 10, Blue Jays 4 (91-51)
This game was cruising along, and was tied 2-2 going into the seventh, when the Tigers exploded for two runs in the seventh, and six runs in the eighth. Jack Morris left the game in the fifth, and Bill Scherrer took over and pitched an inning and a third. Aurelio Lopez finished the game out, going three innings and giving up two useless runs in the bottom of the ninth.
September 7, 1984 Tigers 7, Blue Jays 4 (90-51)
Wow, what a game. Up 4-0, future Tiger Doyle Alexander was cruising along until the top half of the eighth inning. Dave Bergman doubled to lead things off before John Grubb ground out to short. Lou Whitaker drew a walk, and then Alan Trammell flew out to right. Then Mr. Clutch, Kirk Gibson, hit a three run shot to cut the lead to one.
Lance Parrish drew a walk before Alexander was relieved by Jimmy Key. Barbero Garbey singled, and then Larry Herdon walked to load the bases. Then Chet Lemon drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game up at four a piece.
Willie Hernandez then came in to slam the door shut. Neither team scored until the tenth when Dave Bergman hit a three run shot off of Blue Jays reliever Ron Musselman. Willie Hernandez walked one in the bottom half of the tenth, but that was all they could do against him as he earned his ninth win.
With the win, the Tiger’s magic number was now 13. They definitely controlled their own destiny, they just had to fulfill it.
September 5, 1984 Tigers 1, Orioles 0 (89-51)
Orioles starter Mike Flanagan pitched a fine game, going the distance and giving up only six hits and one unearned run. Unfortunately for him, Juan Berenguer was just a little bit better, as he pitched 7 1/3 innings of two hit shutout ball. Willie Hernandez came in to finish the game after that, and he earned his twenty eighth save in the process.
The Jays lost, so the Tigers increased their lead to 8 1/2 games. With a day off before facing the Blue Jays in three game series, the Tigers magic number stood at fifteen.
September 4, 1984 Orioles 4, Tigers 1 (88-51)
Captain Hook was true to form as Dave Rozema gave up back to back singles, a sac fly to Cal Ripken, and then a third single before Sparky pulled the plug early. Bill Scherrer came in to stop the damage, as he got the final two batters out.
Then Sparky went to rookie Roger Mason, who made his major league debut. Mason pitched all eight remaining innings, giving up only four hits and striking out six. Unfortunately one of those hits was a two run shot by Rick Dempsey.
With the loss, the Tigers lead was cut to 7 1/2 games. With an upcoming series against the Jays, things were looking pretty dicey and the fans had to have been a little worried.
September 3, 1984 Orioles 7, Tigers 4 (88-50)
August 31, 1984 A’s 7, Tigers 6 (87-48)
Milt Wilcox struggled as he walked five batters and gave up four hits in 3 2/3 innings. By the time he left the game, the A’s were up 5-4. The Tigers tied it in the fifth on a solo shot by Alan Trammell.
With the scored tied 5-5 going into the ninth, both teams scored a run to put the game into extra innings. Then in the bottom of the thirteenth, right fielder Mike Davis scored on a Dave Rozema wild pitch to win the game.
Once again, the usual combo of Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez kept the Tigers in this one and at least gave them a chance to win. They combined for 8 1/3 innings, giving up only three hits and one run, while striking out eight.
The loss once again put the Tigers back into a single digit lead over the Blue Jays. With 27 games left, they were 9 1/2 games ahead of Toronto.
August 30, 1984 Mariners 2, Tigers 1 (87-47)
Starters Jack Morris and Jim Beattie both took shutouts into the eighth inning before either scored. In the bottom of the eighth, the wheels came off the wagon for Morris though. Spike Owen led off with a walk. Then second basemen Jack Perconte laid down a bunt, and according to Retrosheet.org, Morris dove for the pop up, missed it, then three the ball into rightfield while sitting down. To make matters worse, Kirk Gibson then threw the ball into the Mariners dugout trying to throw Perconte out at third base. So the Mariners scored both of their runs without even getting a hit.
In all, Morris pitched a great game though. He went the distance, gave up only four hits, and struck out eight.
The Tigers tried to answer in the ninth. Barbaro Garbey drew a lead off walk before Chet Lemon grounded out. Larry Herndon then also drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Howard Johnson singled to load the bases, but Lou Whitaker struck out to leave it up to Alan Trammell. Tram came through by drawing a walk and driving in a run, but Kirk Gibson grounded to second to end the game.
August 28, 1984 Tigers 5, Mariners 4 (87-45)
Another great comeback win for the Tigers. With the game tied 1-1 going into the bottom half of the seventh, Juan Berenguer had runners on first and second with two outs, when Spike Owen reached base on a Howard Johnson error. The Mariners went on to score three unearned runs as a result of the mishap before newly acquired lefthander Bill Scherrer came in to get the final out.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to bounce back though, because in the top of the eighth, Ruppert Jones led off with a double. Dave Bergman then singled to leave runners at first and third. Barbaro Garbey flew out before Lou Whitaker drove in a run on a sacrafice fly. Then with Bergman on first, Alan Trammell hit a two run two out homer to tie the game.
Then in the top of the ninth, Darrell Evans got a two out single. Rusty Kuntz ran for Evans, who moved to second on a wild pitch by reliever Mike Stanton. John Grubb struck out, but with two outs, Ruppert Jones drove in Kuntz with a double to take the lead.
Willie Hernandez once again did his thing, as he pitched the eighth and ninth, giving up only one hit to improve to 8-2.
The day before, Bill Lajoie pulled the trigger and got Sparky another left handed arm in the pen. For cash and a player to be named later (eventually being Carl Willis), the Tigers acquired Bill Scherrer from the Reds. He’d give the Tigers a much needed extra option, as he ended up throwing 19 innings with an ultralow 1.89 ERA.
August 22, 1984 Tigers 11, A’s 4 (84-44)
For the third straight game, the Tigers scored into double figures on the Oakland pitching staff. Barbaro Garbey, Alan Trammell, Marty Castillo, and Doug Baker all had two hits, and the Tigers scored all eleven runs without a homerun. The Detroit Tigers did steal six bases though.
Juan Berenguer pitched seven quality innings, giving up five hits and one run.
With the win, the Tigers extended their lead to 12 1/2 games, with only 34 left. At this point, the playoffs were just about in the bag. The only question on Tiger fan’s minds was who they were going to play. The Minnesota Twins held a 5 1/2 game lead over the Angels and Royals at this stage of the season.
August 17, 1984 Tigers 6, Mariners 2 (80-43)
The last time the Tigers faced Seattle was the day after their heralded 35-5 start. The Mariners went on to hand the Tigers losses six, seven and eight in a three game sweep, and the Tigers got their revenge in this one.
By the end of the third, the Tigers were up 4-0, and that was really all they needed. Milt Wilcox pitched a nice game for his thirteenth win, going eight innings, and giving up one run on seven hits.
In Sparky’s book Bless You Boys, he mentions that this was the game where they broke the attendance record set in 1968. For only the second time, they pulled in 2,000,000 fans. They’d end up drawing 2,704,794, still a record. They’d draw 2 million three more times during the 1980s (1985, 1987 and 1988) and then wouldn’t draw as many until 1989, the final season at Tiger Stadium. Since then, only Comerica Park’s opening season has brought 2,000,000 fans to the ball park
August 16, 1984 Tigers 8, Angels 7 (79-43)
Some back and forth, wild and crazy games, can be called rollercoasters.
If that’s the case, then this one was Millenium Force. The Tigers took a quick 5-0 lead after two innings, essentially giving Jack Morris some easy sailing.
And he didn’t take advantage of it. Two innings later, Morris was gone, and the Tigers were down 7-5, as one again, he struggled to get batters out. Then enters the bullpen. More on that in a second.
Down 7-5 in the eighth, Alan Trammell drove in two with an RBI single to tie the game. In the bottom of the twelth inning, Barbaro Garbey came up huge with a walk off RBI double to win the game. A nice, solid, come from behind win.
But give a huge dose of credit to the bullpen. Doug Bair, Aurelio Lopez, and Willie Hernandez combined for a total of 8 1/3 innings of four hit, shutout baseball. Another superb job by the pen kept the Tigers in the game, as they salvaged a 2-2 split of the series.
August 14, 1984 Angels 6, Tigers 4 (77-42)
The Tigers lost the first of two in a back and forth affair. The Angels took the lead on three different occassions, only to see the Tigers tie it up, until the top of the ninth when the Angels finally took the lead for good. A Doug DeCinces two run single off of Willie Hernandez was the winning blow, as Willie lost his second game of the season.
Juan Berenguer pitched a solid game, but for one of the few times this season, the Aurelio Lopez/Willie Hernandez combo didn’t come through. Lopez gave up a run in his sole inning, and Willie gave up his two after pitching two innings.
August 14, 1984 Angels 12, Tigers 1 (77-43)
The twelve runs by California matched the Tigers season worst for runs given up in a game. On two other occasions, Tiger’s pitching gave up twelve.
And there were no notables on offense. The Tigers spread out seven singles, and Darrell Evans drove in the only run. With the two losses, the Tiger’s lead over Toronto had dwindled to 7 1/2 games. What looked like a runaway race was tightening up quick.
August 12, 1984 Tigers 8, Royals 4 (77-41)
A four run first inning put the Tigers up for good as Milt Wilcox held the Royals scoreless through the first six innings. The Royals tagged Milt for four runs in the seventh, but the typical tandem of Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez finished the game up to give the Tigers the weekend series sweep.
August 11, 1984 Tigers 9, Royals 5 (76-41)
It wasn’t his best outing of the year, but Jack Morris went one batter short from going the distance, as he gave up five runs on eleven hits. Aurelio Lopez struck out the final batter to earn his twelth save.
August 7, 2004 Red Sox 12, Tigers 7 (73-40)
Jack Morris got pounded again. Coming off the heels of the best start he’s had in a while, Jack gave up six hits, two walks and nine runs 1 1/3 innings, forcing Sparky to go to the pen early. Bruce Hurst was hardly stellar, but when you’re given a seven run lead after two innings, there’s not much you can do to lose the game.
August 7, 1984 Tigers 7, Red Sox 5 (74-40)
Milt Wilcox cruised through the first six innings, and then gave up four runs in the seventh to give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. As a precursor to the 1986 World Series debacle, Dave Bergman scored in the ninth on an error by firstbasemen Bill Buckner that sent the game into extra innings.
August 5, 1984 Royals 5, Tigers 4 (72-37)
For the first time during the 109 games of the season, Willie Hernandez lost a game. A two run double in the top of the ninth by Dane Iorg broke a 3-3 tie as Bret Saberhagen takes the win in relief, and Dan Quisenberry notched his 29th save.
Larry Herndon had two hits and drove in two.
August 5, 1984 Royals 4, Tigers 0 (72-38)
Whether it was being tired, or good pitching, the Tigers couldn’t quite get going. Charlie Liebrandt held Detroit to five hits, and Dan Quisenberry pitched the ninth to complete the combined shutout.. Alan Trammell had the only multi-hit game, going two for three.
Juan Berenguer threw a fine game, going the distance and giving up four runs on eight hits. But it wasn’t enough. With the Royals sweeping, the Tigers now stood a meer eight games over Toronto. What looked like a run away was slowly turning into a pennant race again.
August 3, 1984 Royals 9, Tigers 6 (72-35)
Milt Wilcox was cruising along until the Royals hit him hard in the fourth. By the end of the inning, Wilcox would be sitting, and Aurilio Lopez would be in the game. Lopez threw another six innings of relief, but it still wasn’t enough.
Lou Whitaker went four for five, and Alan Trammell and Tom Brookens hit homeruns.
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 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 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.
June 26, 1984 Tigers 9, Yankees 7 10 Inning (53-19)
This was an exciting, if not back and forth affair. The Tigers started things off with four runs on five hits in the second inning. The Yankees bounced back with three runs in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fith, and then one in the sixth to take 7-4 four lead.
Then, the 1984 magic happened once again. In the top half of the eighth, with two outs, the Tigers scored three runs to tie it up on singles by Alan Trammell and Darrell Evans. Then in the top of the tenth, Lance Parrish hit a two run shot to seal the deal.
Willie Hernandez really bounced back in this game. After a poor performance the night before, he pitched 2 2/3 high leverage innings to improve to 3-0 on the year.
With the win, the Tigers had finally put a double digit lead between themselves and the Blue Jays. Not even half way into the season, they stood ten games ahead of the next nearest competitor in their division.
June 20, 1984 Tigers 9, Yankees 6, 13 innings (49-17)
The Tigers won a back and forth affair when Howard Johnson hit a three run shot in the bottom of the thirteenth inning. The Yankees had a 2-0 lead and a 4-2 lead before the Tigers picked up a few runs to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, then took a one run lead in the bottom of the seventh. Then the two teams went back and forth, scoring one run each until the game ended regulation at a 6-6 tie.
Willie Hernandez pitched four strong innings of relief, and Doug Bair improved to 4-0 by pitching two innings of one hit ball. Alan Trammell, Lance Parrish and Chet Lemon all hit homer to go along with HoJo’s extra innings blast.
This double header seemed liked a big win at the time, but it basically marked the point where the Tigers continued to widen the distance between themselves and Toronto. They’d come in with a 5 1/2 game lead, and left with a seven game lead. Toronto would pull a little closer in the next week, and pull to within six games in early July, but the 35-5 start gave the Tigers too strong of a base to start with.
June 10, 1984 Tigers 10, Orioles 4 Game 1 (42-14)
Another tough start by Glenn Abbott. He didn’t make it through the third, giving up seven hits and three runs through 2 2/3. At the end of the third, the game would be tied, but then the Tiger’s bats took over.
Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Kirk Gibson, the Tigers 1-2-3 hitters, were a combined 8 for 13. Lou Whitaker went three for four and scored five runs. Tram went two for four with a double and triple, had four RBIs, and scored twice. Kirk Gibson went three for five and chalked up four RBIs. Four Orioles errors led to five unearned runs.
Doug Bair went 3 1/3 of one hit ball to pick up his third win, and Willie Hernandez went three innings to chalk up his ninth save.
June 10, 1984 Tigers 8, Orioles 0 Game 2 (43-14)
This was a blow out, plain and simple. Dan Petry bounced back to throw a three hitter. Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, and Howard Johnson all had three hits, and Hojo hit his fourth homer of the year.
Nearly 52,000 fans showed up for the doubleheader.
June 8, 1984 Tiger 3, Orioles 2 (41-13)
The Tigers beat the Orioles in front of over 50,000 fans in a tight affair. Milt Wilcox threw six solid innings to win his seventh game, and the bullpen was stellar. In all, the Tiger’s staff only gave up six hits and three walks. Once Milt was taken out, Doug Bair threw a perfect seventh, and Willie Hernandez finished things out by pitching two strong innings to earn his eighth save.
The Tigers stranded ten baserunners again, but this time it didn’t cost them a win. With the score at 2-1, the Tigers scored two runs in the top half of the seventh on a double by Howard Johnson and a sacrafice fly by Alan Trammell.
June 1, 1984 Tigers 14, Orioles 2 (38-9)
At the beginning of June, the Tigers held a 5 1/2 game lead over second place Toronto, who were 32-15 (second best record in the majors) and 10 1/2 games ahead of Orioles, who sat at a respectable 28-21. Had Baltimore been in any other division, they would have sat in first place in the AL West (by three game), and would have also been in first place in the NL West. They tapered off later in the year, but were in the midst of a five game winning streak as they went off to Detroit to face the Tigers.
In front of 47,252 fans, Dan Petry pitched six strong shutout innings, giving up only three hits. More importantly, he’d be handed a 13 run lead, as the Tigers scored more runs in a game in that 1984 season. They’d match the 14 runs later in the year, but would never surpass it.
Alan Trammell, Chet Lemon, and Lance Parrish all hit homers with at least one man on base. The Tigers had a six run lead after two, a nine run lead after three, and a twelve run lead after four.
Dan Petry improved to 8-2, and Doug Bair earned his third save of the season. The save was of the three garbage inning variety. No offense to Doug Bair though, who continued to give the Tiger’s quality innings when they needed them or not.
May 28, 1984 Tigers 6, A’s 2 (36-8)
A four run first sealed this one pretty early as Jack Morris didn’t give the A’s much to work with. He improved to 10-1, went the distance, and only gave up six hits while striking out eight. On top of that, neither of the two runs he gave up were earned.
Jack Morris was definitely the Tigers “ace.” This term gets thrown around a lot, but in my mind, it’s basically a great pitcher who’s also a losing streak stopper. Someone who goes out, and no matter how bad the team is doing, does what it takes to end that streak. And that’s exactly what Morris did here. He’d have his troubles later in the year (10-1 was sort of his pinnacle, as he’d go 9-10 the rest of the way), but the Tigers needed a win here to stop the three game skid.
I also specifically remember at around this point was when the “30 win” talk began to heat up.
Lance Parrish hit his eighth homer of the season, and Alan Trammell went three for four.
May 25, 1984 Mariners 7, Tigers 3 (35-6)
It all had to end eventually. But to be sitting near the end of May, and to only have six losses, is quite an accompishment. The major league consecutive road victory streak record remained intact, with an added name, but it wouldn’t be broken.
Milt Wilcox never got on track in this one. He gave up three quick runs in the first two innings, and then gave up three more in the fifth inning. He walked with his first loss of the season. The pen pitched well, but the Tigers couldn’t put the runs on the board to come back.
The only real hitting highlight was Alan Trammell hitting his sixth homerun. Darrell Evans also put up a two hit game.
May 24, 1984 Tigers 5, Angels 1 (35-5)
Jack Morris is one of those players who ends up in history making situations. He’d later do it for the Twins in his classic 10 inning, Game 7 shutout during the 1991 World Series. He’d also be a part of history again in 1984 as he’d win the game most people recognize as what the 1984 Tigers embodied, their 35-5 start.
Morris would get off to a shaky start, giving up two hits and one unearned run in the first. He then went on to only give up two hits the rest of the way, while ending up with 10 strikeouts.
Alan Trammell’s two run homer in the fourth led to a four run inning that put the Tiger’s up for good. Lance Parrish added a solo shot in the sixth, but it was a run they wouldn’t end up needing.
With the win, the Tiger’s improved to 35-5, the best start ever over the course of the first quarter of the season (and as far as I could determine, the best 40 game stretch ever). They broke an AL record with their 17th consecutive road victory, and also tied the 1916 New York Giant’s major league record for consecutive road victories. It was truly a memorable day, and the 35-5 start would go down as possibly the Tiger’s greatest single accomplishment in the history of the franchise.
May 19, 1984 Tigers 5, Oakland 4 (31-5)
This is a game that almost got away. Detroit got off to a comfortable 5-1 lead, and almost let things slip through their fingers. Aurelio Lopez gave up a solo shot to Dwayne Murphy in the ninth to cut the lead to one, but held on the rest of the way to earn his fifth save. Jack Morris had a rough outing, walking six and giving up eight hits in 7 1/3, but he got through some jams to earn his eighth victory.
Lou Whitaker and Darrell Evans drove in two runs a piece (one of Lou’s came off of a solo shot), and Kirk Gibson scored twice. Alan Trammell stole his 12th base, which at that point was one more steal then what Rickey Henderson, the eventual league leader, had stolen. The Tigers scored all five of their runs in five seperate innings.
May 14, 1984 Tigers 7, Mariners 5 (27-5)
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to get back to their winning ways. They struggled in this one, but two runs in the bottom of the eighth finished off the Mariners. Alan Trammell followed up two hitless games with a three for five outing, which included his fourth homer of the year. Rusty Kuntz drove in the go ahead run, and went three for four with three runs.
The pitching wasn’t so great. Dan Petry struggled through five innings, but held the Mariners to three runs. Doug Bair, who had been rock solid and had a 1.174 ERA in 6 relief appearances going into the game gave up two runs in only two innings of work. Aurelio Lopez did the job though, as he shut down the Mariners in the final two innings and picked up his fourth win.
May 8, 1984 Tigers 5, Royals 2 (24-4)
For most of the early 1980s, when you think of closers, you thought of Dan Quisenberry. With his submarine pitching style, Dan led the league in saves in five of six seasons from 1980 through 1985. He wasn’t a big strikeout guy, but he rarely walked batters, and had a career 1.175 WHIP. He was also a more durable closer then people are now are used to, as during his prime years, he never pitched less then 128 innings.
1984 was one of those league leading years, for Dan Quisenberry but for the first time in his career, he made the BIG mistake. With the Tigers down 2-1, Dan inherited the bases loaded from starter Bud Black, and Alan Trammell made them all pay as he sent the ball over the leftfield fence for his third homer and first grand slam of the season. It was the first time Dan Quisenberry had ever given up a grand slam in his career.
Give credit to Jack Morris as well. He pitched another complete game, giving up only seven hits and two runs, while striking out five.
May 7, 1984 Tigers 10, Royals 3 (23-4)
This one was actually close through five innings, and then the Tigers bat heated up for eight runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Chet Lemon had another great game, going 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Alan Trammell went three for five with two runs. At this point, Lemon had 27 RBIs in 27 games, and Tram was hitting .373 (Information provided by Sparky Anderson’s “Bless You Boys”).
Juan Berenguer pitched into the seventh inning, and Doug Bair nailed the door shut the rest of the way. Another day, another win.
May 1, 1984 Tigers 11, Red Sox 2 (19-2)
When it was all said and done, the Tigers had racked up eleven runs on sixteen hits. Rusty Kuntz, Barbero Garbey, and Chet Lemon all had three hits (Chet had two dingers), and Trammell extended his hitting streak to eighteen games with a double and single. Eight different Tigers scored runs, and probably the oddest line was that only three players had RBIs. Kuntz had three, and Lemon and Garbey both had four.
Milt Wilcox had a fine game as well, as he pitched eight, while giving up only seven hits and two runs (one earned) as he advanced to 3-0.
And with the win, the Tigers sat on a 19-2 record, giving them a .905 winning percentage. This would be the last time they’d be above the .900 mark, but it just shows how impressive this run was. At this point, they were 16-3 away from their fabulous 35-5 run. And while 16-3 is very impressive, the fact that they started 19-2 to get there makes it equally impressive.
And I’m going to do some checking, but if someone can answer this, I’d appreciate it. What is the record for the best 40 game stretch (not just to begin the season, but at anytime during the season)? Do the Tigers have it at 35-5, or has someone gone 36-4?
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 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 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 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 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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