Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation
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Dan Petry had one of those typical 1980s career. He pitched a ton of innings at an early age, and went from looking like an ace to someone who’s just a little overmatched. From 1982 through 1985, he pitched no less 233 innings and won no less then 15 games. After that, he never pitched more then a 150 innings, and never won more then ten.
1984 was a great year for Petry. Coming off a 19-11 season the year before, Dan really picked up the slack when Jack Morris struggled. He had a career high 144 strikeouts during the season, and led all starters in ERA (3.24).
Dan Petry is now the television announcer here for UPN 50. He did a nice job last year in his first season, and I’m looking forward to him being back this year.
Anyway, here’s the numbers:
Pitching Runs above Replacement 65
This may be the toughest one yet. Petry threw more, had a better walk rate, and won more games. Don Gullett won 15 games in only 22 starts (so three less, but in a third of the of starts). Their Stuff is identical, and their SO/9 is nearly identical, but Gullett has a better ERA and WHIP, and gave up fewer homers.
I hate to hang Dan out to dry, but at least comparing these two seasons, Gullett has him beat.
Scorecard 1975 Reds 6, 1984 Tigers 4
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 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.
September 28, 1984 Tigers 4, Yankees 2 (103-57)
The Detroit Tigers tied the team record with their 103rd win of the season. Dan Petry pitched six solid innings before giving way to the pen with the game tied 1-1. The Tigers took the lead back in the seventh on an RBI single by Lance Parrish, but in the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees tied it back up on a sacrafice fly by Bobby Meacham.
Doug Bair did the job in this game by pitching four shutout innings, giving up no hits and only two walks. It allowed the Tigers to finally tag reliever Joe Cowley for two runs in the twelth inning on a two run shot by Lou Whitaker to win the game.
The Tigers ended the game with sixteen hits, but only four runs crossed the plate. They left seventeen men on base through out the game. The Tigers had two more chances to set the franchise win record and it was too bad they had to do all this on the road.
September 24, 1984 Tigers 7, Brewers 3 (101-55)
Juan Berenguer joined fellow Detroit Tigers Jack Morris, Milt Wilcox, Dan Petry, and Aurelio Lopez as pitchers who achieved ten or more wins. He pitched five solid innings, giving up only five hits and one run, before yielding to the pen.
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 11, 1984 Tigers 9, Orioles 2 (93-52)
This game was scoreless through four before the Tigers exploded for five runs in the fifth. Larry Herndon had the big day, going three for three and driving in three runs. Gibson went three for five, and Darrell Evans went four for four and hit his sixteenth homer of the season.
Dan Petry went 6 2/3, giving up only five hits, two runs, and he struck out six. Doug Bair and Willie Hernandez finished the game up, and with the win, the Tigers now had cut their magic number down to seven.
September 2, 1984 Tigers 6, A’s 3 (88-49)
Dan Petry gave up eleven hits in 5 1/3 innings, but only let three A’s cross the plate as the Tigers topped the A’s. The Tigers put four runs on the board in the third inning, and that was basically all they needed. Aurelio Lopez pitched 1 2/3 innings of one hit ball, and Willie Hernandez threw two perfect innings to earn his twenty seventh save.
August 29, 1984 Mariners 5, Tigers 1 (87-46)
A week and a half ago, rookie starter Mark Langston shut down the Tigers with a four hit, eleven strikeout appearance over 8 1/3 innings. This time, he did one better, pitching a two hit complete game, striking out twelve Tigers.
Dan Petry was the opposing pitcher the last time the Tigers face Langston, and a nice outing was wasted. This time he didn’t fare as well, but it really didn’t matter because Langston was on. Petry was gone by the end of the fifth, and suffered his eighth loss of the season.
August 24, 1984 Angels 5, Tigers 3 (84-45)
Dan Petry gave up four runs in the first inning, and that was basically the difference in the game. He’d end up calming down and actually finishing the game, but homeruns by Chet Lemon and Marty Castillo weren’t enough for the Tigers to ever get the lead.
Angel’s starter Mike Witt threw a nice game, going eight innings while giving up eight hits and three runs, while striking out six.
August 19, 2004 Mariners 4, Tigers 1 (81-44)
Rookie starter Mark Langston shut down the Tigers, giving up only four hits and one run through 8 1/3. More impressively, he struck out eleven Tigers. Mark led the league in strikeouts in his rookie campaign, and went on to do it as well in 1986 and 1987.
A fine game by Dan Petry was wasted, as he dropped to 15-6 while going the distance, and giving up ten hits while striking out eleven as well.
Just to show how bad the offense was clicking, Marty Castillo walked in the only run of the game for Detroit.
August 15, 1984 Tigers 8, Angels 3 (78-43)
At this stage of the season, with Jack Morris’ struggles, Dan Petry had become the ace in that he seemed to come up with a win to put a stop to any kind of substantial losing streak. Dan pitched eight solid innings, giving up eight hits and three runs. The Angels had the lead once, going up 2-1 in the fourth, but the Tigers bounced back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead for good. Willie Hernandez pitched a perfect ninth to finish the game off.
Tom Brookens had the big game, going three for three with two RBIs. Barbero Garbey went three for three, Dave Bergman drove in three runs, and Kirk Gibson scored three times. It was a solid all around performance by the team.
August 10, 1984 Tigers 5, Royals 4 (75-41)
It sounds like a broken record, but the usual suspects in the bullpen did it again. Dan Petry pitched 6 2/3 solid innings, but left the game tied 4-4. Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez were nearly flawless in the final 2+ innings, allowing Ruppert Jones to put the Tigers ahead with a solo shot in the eighth inning. Lopez improved to 10-0, and Hernandez saved his 25th game.
The contribution Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez made throughout the 1984 season were incredible. They threw a combined 278 innings, went a combined 19-4, and saved 46 games, all while striking out 206 batters and throwing up a 1.053 WHIP and a 2.43 ERA. Those numbers were by far better then any of the starters and shows why Willie Hernandez got the support he did for the Cy Young.
August 6, 1984 Tigers 9, Red Sox 7 (73-38)
Dan Petry didn’t have his best stuff, as he gave up six runs and eleven hits in only 4 2/3 innings, but Bob Ojeda was just as worse, as the Tigers scored six on the Red Sox starter as well. Aurelio Lopez pitched 2 2/3 to improve to 8-0, and Willie Hernandez picked up his 23rd save.
August 6, 1984 Red Sox 10, Tigers 2 (73-39)
A drubbing, plain and simple. Carl Willis got one batter before getting pulled, and Doug Bair didn’t much better. By the end of the fourth inning, the Tigers were down 9-1. Rookie starter Roger Clemens threw a solid eight innings, holding the Tigers to six hits while striking out nine.
August 1, 1984 Indians 4, Tigers 2 (71-34)
A good pitching performance by Dan Petry went to waste, as Cleveland’s Steve Farr shut down the Tigers. In all, the Tigers only managed three hits, one of which was a two run shot by Dave Bergman, his sixth. Tom Brookens made two errors at shortstop that led to an unearned run.
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 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 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 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 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.
June 30, 1984 Tigers 4, Twins 3 (55-21)
Dan Petry pitched 8 1/3 strong innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while striking out ten, but it almost wasn’t enough. Down 3-2, the Tigers tied the game in the seventh on a sac. fly by Ruppert Jones, and then scored the go ahead run in the bottom of the eighth on a wild pitch by Ron Davis. Willie Hernandez picked up his 14th save by getting the final two batters out.
Dave Bergman hit his second homer of the season, and Chet Lemon picked up two hits and scored a run.
Jun 15, 1984 Tigers 3, Brewers 2 (45-16)
The Tigers scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning to take the lead for good in this tight pitching matchup. John Grubb reached base on an error and drove in the tying run, while Larry Herndon had an infield single with the bases loaded to score what would be the winning run. Lance Parrish hit his tenth homerun while going two for three, and Larry Herndon contributed with two hits of his own.
Dan Petry pitched another fine game, going seven innings of seven hit ball. Willie Hernandez nailed the door shut with two shutout innings to earn his eleventh save.
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 6, 1984 Blue Jays 6, Tigers 3 (39-13)
The Tigers losing ways went on, as they had now dropped 8 of 12 since their fantastic start. Dan Petry got shelled, giving up 10 hits in four innings, and the Jays had five runs on the board before the Tigers got one across the plate.
Aurilio Lopez pitched four strong innings of relief to keep the Tigers in it, but like yesterday, they couldn’t get it done with men on base as they left 10 men stranded throughout the game. Venezuelan native Luis Leal improved to 6-0 for the Jays, which was impressive for a man with 58 career wins.
Lou Whitaker went three for four, and Howard Johnson went two for three.
At this stage of the season, the Tigers lead now stood at 3 1/2 games. They had basically blown their lead. We all know how this story ends, but at this point, there was some geniune concern. Fortunately for the Tigers, they’d go on a run, and this would be the closest the Jays would ever get.
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 23, 1984 Tigers 4, Angels 2 (34-5)
Lance Parrish hit a two run homerun in the seventh to lead the Tigers to their record tying 16th consecutive road victory. Only the 1912 Washington Senators had won as many road games in a row as the 1984 Detroit Tigers.
Dan Petry, who was born Palo Alto, CA, 10 minutes away from the Angels ballpark, threw another gem of a game to pick up his seventh win. He walked two and gave up five hits, but the only real damage was the two run shot he gave up to Doug DeCinces in the fourth inning. Willie Hernandez pitched two perfect innings and struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his seventh save.
May 18, 1984 Tigers 8, A’s 4 (30-5)
This game would hardly got past the fifth inning, but it had the makings of high scoring one. The Detroit Tigers scored five in the first, and in total, scored in four of the five innings they batted in. Lance Parrish and Kirk Gibson both drove in two runs, and Barbero Garbey and Darrell Evans hit homeruns.
Dan Petry went the distance to garner his sixth win. He’d struggle, giving up seven hit and four runs. But the bats were there for him. Another 40,000+ crowd came out to see the hometeam win their 30th of the season.
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 9, 1984 Tigers 3, Royals 1 (25-4)
This one was all about pitching. Dan Petry threw 6 2/3 strong innings before walking two batters in the seventh. Sparky then handed the ball to Aurelio Lopez, and Senior Smoke simply did the job. He got out of the jam in the seventh, and walked only one batter in 2 1/3 innings to completely shut down the Royals the rest of the way. En route, he’d strike out four, and garner his fourth save of the season.
A lot of winning championships is catching magic in a bottle. If you look at most of the “surprise” championship teams, you have players having career years. Aurilio Lopez was having one of those years, and was an integral part of the Tiger’s championship run. He set a career high in innings pitched, won 10 games, and saved 14. And this was in a season where another reliever on the same team won the MVP and the Cy Young. Lopez basically gave Sparky a closer quality pitcher from both the right (Lopez) and left (Hernandez) side.
With the win, the Tigers tied the 1955 Dodgers mark for the best start in history. a mark which I believe still holds.
May 4, 1984 Tigers 9, Indians 2 (20-4)
The Detroit Tigers gave Dan Petry the support he needed in this one. The scoreboard doesn’t indicate it, but he really struggled. He only lasted five innings, and he gave up six hits and six walks. In the fourth, he walked three batters, but got out of the inning unscathed.
Willie Hernandez, on the other hand, was simply incredible as he slammed the door on any chance of an Indians comeback. He pitched four shutout innings, gave up only two hits, and struck out four, while earning his third save of the season.
Lou Whitaker was the hitting star in this one, as he went four for five, and scored two runs. Larry Herndon went three for five. Lance Parrish drove in two, one each on two sacrafice flies.
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 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 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 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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