We complete our selection of all-time squads for this year’s Championship Series teams with the Detroit Tigers. We have already selected squads for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Tigers won the AL pennant in 1907-09, but failed to win the World Series during that stretch. Since then, they have won back-to-back pennants only once (1934-35) under player-manager Mickey Cochrane. This year they are bidding to do so again under Jim Leyland.
Here’s my all-time Tigers team:
C Bill Freehan — 13th on the RBI list, 58 RBIs ahead of Lance Parrish.
1B Hank Greenberg — Number one in Tiger OPS; number three in home runs.
2B Charlie Gehringer — Number five in OPS. Batted .320 for the Tigers.
SS Alan Trammell — Who else? A joy to watch play.
3B Miguel Cabrera — Number two in OPS. A triple crown winner for Detroit.
OF Sam Crawford — Led AL in RBIs three times; topped 100 six times during dead ball era.
OF Ty Cobb — Also wins Mr. Congeniality.
OF Al Kaline — His numbers would have been even better if he had gotten hurt less.
DH Harry Heilmann — The DH didn’t exist in his day, but with .927 OPS and .342 he would do ok.
P Hal Newhouser — Top MLB pitcher in 1944-46; quite good for a few years thereafter.
Lance Parrish — All-time greats Mickey Cochrane and Ivan Rodrigues also had good runs in Detroit.
Norm Cash — Seventh on the RBI list.
Lou Whitaker — Not as far behind Gehringer as many old-timers might imagine.
Donie Bush — Led league in walks five times. Later managed the Tigers.
George Kell — .325 BA for Tigers. Advanced metrics folks may prefer Travis Fryman, though.
Bobby Veach — Eighth on the hit list; ninth on the RBI list
Rudy York — Sixth on OPS list. A first baseman who could play catcher, third base, and outfield.
Tommy Bridges — An ace for the 1934-35 pennant winners. 194 wins, in total.
Jack Morris — 198 wins for this great workhorse of a pitcher.
Dizzy Trout — 161 wins; 3.22 ERA
Justin Verlander — Could be the starter on this team in a few years.
George Mullin — Won 66 games for the 1907-09 pennant winners. 209 wins, in total.
Mickey Lolich — Longevity (207 wins) plus Series heroics put him ahead of Jim Bunning, Denny McLain and Frank Lary, for me.
John Hiller — 2.83 ERA during 15-year Tiger career.
Willie Hernandez — Edges out Mike Henneman thanks to his Cy Young award season (1984).
Jim Leyland — If you saw the Tigers play before he arrived, you’ll understand.