Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation
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Alan Trammell’s former staff is slowly finding its way back into baseball after they were all let go when Jim Leyland was brought on. Lance Parrish was recently hired to become the manager of the Dodgers new Single-A affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons. The Loons will be playing in a brand new stadium in Midland, Michigan in 2007. The Dodgers have had one of the better farm systems the past few years and I’d like to go up for a game and check these guys out over the summer. Also interested in seeing what the new stadium looks like.
With the exception of the 1945 Team, the Detroit Tigers have had great catchers on each of their World Championship Teams. In 1935, player/manager Mickey Cochrane ended up number four among all catchers in Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. The 1968 team had Bill Freehan (ranked 12th), and of course 1984 sported Tiger great, and current bullpen coach, Lance Parrish (ranked 19th).
1982 is probably Parrish’s best season, although he was fairly consistent throughout the early 1980s. 1984 was also one of his better seasons, and this is what it looks like:
Runs Created 73
Batting Runs Above Replacement 17
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 36
Equalized Average .255
Wins Above Replacement Players 5.9
It’s hard to argue against a Hall of Famer, so I think I’m going save the good fight for another day. This one goes to Johnny Bench.
Score – 1975 Reds 1, 1984 Tigers 0
You can read Blade’s analysis at Reds Cutting Edge.
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 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.
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 29, 1984 Tigers 11, Yankees 3 (104-57)
With a strong offensive performance, and with only one game left in the season, the 1984 Detroit Tigers won their 104th game, setting the franchise record. The game was actually close for a while, but with the game tied 1-1, the Tigers scored five runs in the sixth to bust the game open. They added five more in the ninth to seal the game up.
Juan Berenguer pitched another nice game to improve to 11-10. He went six innings, giving up only one run on two hits. His six walks were a concern, but he pitched out out of a bases loaded jam in the second and the third innings to walk away with a winning record on the season. Roger Mason finished the game off, going three innings and earning his first career save.
It was a historic day for the franchise, and fitting for what most people feel was the greatest Tiger’s season of all time.
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 25, 1984 Tigers 9, Brewers 1 (102-55)
Four runs in the first inning put this game away pretty quickly as Howard Johnson hit a grandslam, his twelth of the season. Lance Parrish followed this with a solo shot in the third, and the Tigers coasted to their 102nd win of the season.
Sparky went with the kids on the mound, and Randy O’Neal improved to 2-0 by pitching five shutout innings, giving up only two hits, and striking out three. Sid Monge, Bill Scherrer, Aurelio Lopez, and Willie Hernandez pitched an inning a piece, with the Brewers tagging Lopez for a run in the eighth. In total, the Brewers only managed six hits against the five pitchers.
And now they stood one win short of the record 103 wins set by the 1968 team. With five games left, the record was definitely within reach.
September 18, 1984 Tigers 3, Brewers 0 (97-54)
It was time to celebrate as the Tigers won the chance to play in the playoffs for the first time since 1972. Randy O’Neal and Willie Hernandez combined for a six hit shutout, and Lance Parrish drove in two runs.
The Royals held a razor thin margin over the Twins and the Angels, so who the Tigers would face in the first round still wasn’t clear. All Tiger fans knew was, WE’RE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!!!!
September 17, 1984 Tigers 7, Brewers 3 (96-54)
The Tigers would have to wait one more day to celebrate, as they easily handled the Brewers, but the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox. As it stood, the Tiger’s magic number was now down to one.
Roger Mason pitched six quality innings. The rookie gave up six hits and two runs, striking out four.
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 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 21, 1984 Tigers 12, A’s 6 (83-44)
For the second straight game, the Tiger’s bats allowed the pitchers a virtual night off. Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez both gave up two runs in an inning of work each, but four runs in the first and four in the sixth pretty much sealed this game up early.
Milt Wilcox pitched a nice game, going six innings and striking out seven. He improved to 14-7. Lance Parrish, Larry Herndon, and Darrell Evans all hit homeruns. Lance Parrish’s dinger was a grand slam in the first inning, and Darrell Evans ended the day going four for five, scoring three times, and driving in three runs.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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.
June 29, 1984 Twins 5, Tigers 3 (53-21)
Jack Morris got hit hard, giving up 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Doug Bair pitched 3 1/3 strong innings of two hit ball to allow the Tigers a chance to come back, but it was too much to overcome as they hit the ball (11 hits), but couldn’t get men across the plate.
Lou Whitaker went three for five, and Lance Parrish had a two run double.
June 29, 1984 Tigers 7, Twins 5 (54-21)
Another win for the bullpen. It’s amazing how game in and game out, the pen allowed this team to get back into games.
Milt Wilcox gave up five runs through five innings, allowing the Twins to take a one run lead. But the usual combo of Aurilio Lopez and Willie Hernandez slammed the door shut tight to let the Tigers come back and win this one. Lopez went 2 1/3, and Hernandez went 1 2/3 to improve to 4-0.
Kirk Gibson had a big day, hitting two homers and driving in four runs. Ruppert Jones and Chet Lemon hit solo shots.
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 24, 1984 Tigers 7, Brewers 1 (52-18)
Jack Morris had missed a couple of starts due to a sore elbow, but the rest must have done him some good, as he bounced back nicely. He’d finish with six innings of one hit ball to improve to 12-3, and Aurilio Lopez would pitch the final three to earn his ninth save. In all, the Brewers only had three baserunners.
Lance Parrish went three for four and hit his thirteenth homer of the year, and Ruppert Jones, lumber trance and all, hit his third, a three run shot in the sixth.
With the win, the Tigers expanded their lead to 8 1/2 games heading into a road series with the Yankees. A nice cushion that would slowly get larger over time as the Blue Jays hit a rough patch.
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.
June 19, 1984 Tigers 7, Yankees 6 (48-17)
This was another classic example of the pen bailing out the Tigers once again. With starter Carl Willis getting hit hard, Doug Bair got out of a bases loaded jam to lessen the damage. He then went on to throw two more shutout inning before giving it up to Aurilio Lopez, who shut the Yankees down for 1 1/3 before giving it up to Willie Hernandez, who finished things off for his twelth save. In all, the bull pen would throw 4 2/3 innings of no hit ball (two unearned runs would score on six walks though).
Larry Herndon drove in the tying run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, and Rusty Kuntz followed it up with a two run single to give the Tigers the lead for good. Lance Parrish and Don Mattingly both hit their eleventh homer of the season.
The Blue Jays finally lost, allowing the Tigers to extend their lead to 6 1/2 games. Another 41,000 fans came out to see the Tigers.
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.
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 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 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 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.
May 3, 1984 Red Sox 1, Tigers 0 (19-4)
A few firsts in this one. This was the first time the Tigers were shut out. It was also their first two game losing streak. And finally, it was Jack Morris’ first loss, despite throwing a heck of game.
His only real blemish was an eighth inning solo homer to Dwight Evans, but that would be all the Sox would need. For the second game in a row, the Tigers out hit the other team, but walked away with a loss.
The Tigers threatened in the ninth, so once again, they didn’t go down without a fight. Lance Parrish singled with one out and Larry Herndon walked. But Chet Lemon flew out, and Kirk Gibson struck out to end the game.
April 26, 1984 Tigers 7, Rangers 5 (16-1)
Neither starter was effective in this one. Future Tiger Frank Tanana gave up six runs in less then four innings, and Dave Rozema was just marginally better as he gave up five runs in 4 1/3. Once the starters were pulled, things really calmed down, as only the Tigers scored one run in the final four innings of this one. Doug Bair pitched two shutout innings to notch his second relief win of the year, and Aurelio Lopez threw 2 2/3 perfect innings to garner his second save.
Whitaker, Trammell, Herndon, and Lemon all had multi-hit games, and Lance Parrish homered in his third consecutive game, boosting his season total to five.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 16-1 on the season, and had a six game lead in the AL East. Everyone points to their 35-5 start, which is simply an incredible start, but it’s only after you go back and see what they actually did throughout those first couple of months can you appreciate what this team accomplished.
April 25, 1984 Tigers 9, Rangers 4 (15-1)
Dave Stewart didn’t make it out of the first inning in the Tiger’s Home Opener, and he didn’t fair too much better in this one as the Tigers finally got to him in the seventh inning. By the end of the game, the Tigers scored nine runs on thirteen hits.
John Grubb, Howard Johnson, and Lance Parrish all hit homeruns in this one. In fact Lance Parrish hit his second three run shot in as many games. Milt Wilcox went six innings, and Willie Hernandez finished the game by pitching the final three innings, as he picked up his second save of the season.
April 24, 1984 – Game 1 – Tigers 6, Twins 5 (13-1)
Jack Morris had his worst outing of the season so far, but managed to walk away with his fourth straight victory. He went the distance, giving up five runs on seven hits and five walks. But as was typical of this magical season, it was just enough as the Tigers won in dramatic fashion.
The Tigers entered the bottom of the ninth down 5-3. Kirk Gibson led off the inning with a triple. John Grubb then reached base on a fielder’s choice (and would leave the game as Rusty Kuntz would run for him). Dave Bergman then drove in Gibson with an RBI single, cutting the lead to one rune.
Then, the wheels really came off the wagon as relief pitcher Ron Davis would put one in the dirt, allowing the tying run to score on a wild pitch, and moving Bergman over to second. Howard Johnson grounded out to third, and with one out, Chet Lemon was given the intentional pass. Lance Parrish then lined out to second base.
So with two outs, and runners on first and second, Lou Whitaker singled, and drove in Bergman to win the game. Tigers Win 6-5!!!
April 24, 1984 – Game 2 – Tigers 4, Twins 3 (13-1)
Lance Parrish hit a three run homer in the fifth inning, and Aurelio Lopez shut the Twins down in the final three innings in the back end of the double header. Starter Dan Petry was forced to leave the game with a sore shoulder in the third.
Glenn Abbott took over in the fourth and gave up two runs in the top half of the sixth, but Parrish answered in the next inning with his three run shot.
Aurelio Lopez got the three inning save, as he pitched three shutout innings, giving up only one hit and two walks, while striking out three.
April 20, 1984 Tigers 3, White Sox 2 (10-1)
This time, the Tigers managed to get eleven hits, but they had a hard time making them count as they also left eleven men on base in this nail biter. The Tigers never had the lead in this one until the game ended, and Milt Wilcox, despite not getting the win, threw a great game to keep the Tigers in this one. Eight innings, eight hits, three walks, and only two runs.
The Tigers were down 2-1 going into the seventh when Larry Herndon drove in Barbero Garbey on a single. Then in the ninth, with the score tied 2-2, Lou Whitaker drew a lead off walk. Tram bunted him over to second. Dave Bergman grounded out, but moved Lou over to third, and then Lance Parrish drove in Whitaker on a two out walk off single.
A great game, and the fans were beginning to appreciate what the Tigers were doing, as they drew nearly 34,000, the most since opening day.
April 19, 1984 Royals 5, Tigers 2 (9-1)
Despite what everyone in Detroit thought at the time, the Tigers couldn’t win them all, and they finally dropped their first game of the season to the Royals. A great pitching performance by rookie pitcher Bret Saberhagen, who earned his first career victory, was basically all the Royals needed as the Tigers could only manage seven hits and two runs.
The Tigers actually managed to get the lead early, as Lance Parrish drove in Lou Whitaker in the first inning. The Royals would get two in the third, one in the sixth, and then two insurance runs in the eigth to pretty much seal the game up. Kirk Gibson would hit a solo shot in the ninth, but it was too little, too late, as the Tigers finally put a notch in their loss column.
April 13, 1984 – Tigers 13, Red Sox 9 (8-0)
Neither Milt Wilcox nor Boston starter Bruce Hurst would make it past the first inning in this slugfest. The Tigers started things off by scoring 8 runs in the top half of the first inning. Four Tigers would bat twice in the inning, and in a fashion, Lance Parrish was responsible for all three outs. He struck out in his first at bat, then grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Boston responded with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the first, chasing Wilcox out of the game. Doug Bair, another key member of the Tigers bullpen, came in and pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up only 3 hits and one walks, and striking out five.
Six different Tigers had multihit games in this Friday the 13th game, and the Tigers would improve to 8-0.
And the diary will take a short break. In an unusual stretch of the season, the Tigers had four consecutive days off because of rain, and even snow. So be sure to check back on April 18th. In the meantime, hopefully the 2004 Tigers will give me more to write about.
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