Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation
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Sparky Anderson loved to platoon. And left field was no exception in 1984. After coming off of back to back quality seasons in 1982 and 1983, Larry Herndon lost time to the recently acquired Ruppert Jones, who actually outplayed him in the time he got.
Herndon, as you’ll see, had a pretty mediocre season. He only played in 125 games, and although he did hit .280, it was really without a lot of punch. Let’s take a look at the numbers:
Runs Created 54
Batting Runs Above Replacement 17
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 12
Equalized Average .266
Wins Above Replacement Player 3.2
The OPS+ of 104 and the equalized average of .266 tell it all. To take things one step further, his Batting Runs Above Average was 3, and his Fielding Runs Above Average was 0. It’s unanimous. Larry Herndon had a pretty average season, and doesn’t match up to George Foster.
Score Card 1975 Reds 5, 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 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 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 16, 1984 Tigers 8, Blue Jays 3 (95-54)
This one was over relatively quickly as the Tigers rallied for seven runs in the first three innings. Six different Tigers drove in runs, and seven different Tigers scored. Marty Castillo, Tom Brookens and Larry Herndon all hit homers for the Tigers.
Four Tiger pitchers combined to hold the Jays to six hits and three runs (two earned). Juan Berenguer pitched five solid innings to earn his ninth win.
The Tigers took the series and basically won the division with two nice performances. They drew over 135,000 fans for the three game series, as Tigers fans everywhere were celebrating.
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 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.
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 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 20, 1984 Tigers 14, A’s 1 (82-44)
Not even with the way Jack Morris had been pitching could he have blown this one. The Tigers scored fourteen runs on twenty hits. Larry Herndon, Doug Baker, and Darrell Evans had three hits a piece, and Chet Lemon drove in three runs.
By the end of third, the Tigers had a 6-1 lead. With five in the fifth, they went into double figures. Jack Morris won his sixteenth by pitching seven innings of three hit ball, and Dave Rozema pitched two solid innings of relief.
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.
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 18, 1984 White Sox 10, Tigers 6 (62-29)
It’s not too often that your ace gets shelled to stop a nice winning streak, but that’s what happened as Jack Morris gave up 10 hits and seven runs in four innings of work. The last time Jack Morris won a start was June 24, nearly a month ago.
Larry Herndon drove in three runs on a triple, and Lance Parrish hit his eighteenth homer of the season.
June 22, 1984 Tigers 7, Brewers 3 (50-18)
Well, it wasn’t exactly a “full” house, but close to 49,000 fans showed up to see the Tigers win their 50th game of the season. A strong six innings by Dave Rozema, who improved to 4-0, got the Tigers off to a nice start, and Willie Hernandez struck out five in 2 1/3 innings of one hit ball to earn his thirteenth save of the season.
Kirk Gibson and Larry Herndon drove in two, and Tom Brookens went two for two.
June 21, 1984 Brewers 4, Tigers 3 (49-18)
Don Sutton started the game with 4 1/3 innings of no hit ball as he and two relievers combined for a four hitter. The Tigers made a late inning run in the seventh by scoring three, two of which from Larry Herndon’s first homer of the year. From that point on, Rollie Fingers pitched 2 1/3 innings of one hit ball to shut down the Tigers the rest of the way.
Other then Herndon’s two run shot, there’s not a lot to note in this one. Juan Berenguer pitched fair, and Sid Monge and Aurilio Lopez combined for 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball to give the Tigers a chance to come back, but it wasn’t to be.
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 5, 1984 Blue Jays 8, Tigers 4 (39-12)
A six run fourth inning and four total homeruns by the Blue Jays did the Tigers in. Starter Glenn Abbott couldn’t make it through four innings, and the ever reliable Doug Bair was hit hard as well.
Detroit managed eight hits and eight walks, but only four men crossed the plate. Brookens (double) and Herndon (triple) had the only extra base hits, and Kirk Gibson went two for four.
May 20, 1984 Tigers 4, A’s 3 (32-5)
This was another one run game where the Tigers got off to a nice early lead, but watched the other team nearly come back to beat them. Milt Wilcox was simply awesome, and improved to 6-0. He threw six innings, and only gave up three hits and a walk. Willie Hernandez pitched the final three innings, and his only blemish was a solo homerun by Mike Heath. In total, the two pitchers would hold the A’s to four hits while only giving up one walk.
Dwight Lowry, the Tiger’s backup catcher, hit the first homerun of his career. Larry Herdon picked up two singles to be the only Tiger with a multihit game. Nine of the ten Tiger hits were singles, with the Lowry homer being the exception.
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 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 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.
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