HANS MOUNT RUSHMORE OF ALL-TIME DETROIT TIGERS

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Opening Day of the baseball season [ which should be a national holiday] is one day closer as we end the month of February. On my Mount Rushmore project today is the Detroit Tigers. There is no shortage of great players in the history of this franchise- which has won 11 American League Pennants and 4 World Series in their history. A note- I have been to games at 25 major league baseball park- my favorite was old Tiger Stadium. What a great place to watch a baseball game.

1. TY COBB- A no-brainer at #1. Cobb is one of the greatest players in baseball history. When I first became a baseball fan in the late 60’s the common feeling was the greatest player ever was either Ruth or Cobb. I think Cobb has fallen a few notches over the years but would still be a Top 10 great. Cobb was known as a great competitor who would do anything to win. He was a little unbalanced. BUT- don’t watch COBB with- Tommy Lee Jones and think that is the Ty Cobb story. That is a cartoonish movie based on Al Stump’s book and over the years Al Stump’s work on Cobb has been discredited. For a more balanced view of Tyrus Raymond Cobb I would recommend a recent book Ty Cobb- A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen. Cobb was by no means a saint but he certainly wasn’t the monster Stump made him out to be in his book [written safely after Cobb was in the grave- and the movie.}

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2. AL KALINE- Kaline at the age of 20 in 1955 won the American League batting title with a .340 average. He never led the league in any other of the triple crown categories the rest of his career. He was known as one of the greatest defensive right fielders-and was known for his great throwing arm. He won ten Gold Gloves and was selected for 18 All-Star Games. He just missed on two career milestones- he hit 399 home runs in his career and finished his career with a .297 battling average.He did get to the 3000 hits goal finishing with 3007. He had a big World Series in 1968 in helping lead the Tigers to a World Championship. He hit .379 in that series vs the Cardinals and had 2 home runs and 8 RBI. Spent his entire career as a Tiger 1953-1975. He was eighteen when he broke into the big leagues.

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3- CHARLIE GEHRINGER- The Mechanical Man. Spent his entire career with the Tigers 1924-42. Considered one of the greatest second baseman ever. A consistent player year and year out- he got his nickname from the Yankees Lefty Gomez. His teammate Doc Cramer said of him “You wind him up Opening Day and forget him.” He had two consecutive games played streaks of over 500 games. A quiet man who just went about doing his job- and putting up great numbers throughout his career. A .320 career hitter who came up a little short of 3000 hits with 2839. Satchel Paige said that Gehringer was the best white hitter he ever faced. Gehringer didn’t get married until his baseball career was over- and he missed his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame because his wedding was coming up in 5 days and he didn’t want it to interfere with the wedding. During his career he worked in the off seasons as a sales clerk at Hudson’s in Detroit. I wonder if there is even one player today who has an off-season job?

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4. ALAN TRAMMELL- The first three- Cobb- Kaline and Gehringer were easy choices- who to go with at #4? Both Trammell and his double play partner Lou Whitaker are solid choices, the triples king Wahoo Sam Crawford, Miggy Cabrera, Hank Greenberg, Bill Freehan, Hal Newhouser and Justin Verlander- all were considered before I settled on Trammell. The six time all-star spent all 20 of his major league seasons with the Tigers-and last year was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Something we will never see again- the Tigers had Trammell at shortstop and Lou Whitaker at second base for 19 seasons- which is a record for a double play combination. I also think that may be the record for most years two players were teammates in baseball history.  Trammell a famous nice guy. A few years ago during John Smoltz’s Hall of Fame speech he mentioned Trammell. Smoltz was drafted and signed with the Tigers out of high school. He got to hang around the major league club house for a month- he said Alan Trammell walked up to him and introduced himself and told him “anything I can do for you don’t hesitate to ask. This house is your house.” This was an all-star speaking to an 18 year old kid.

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11 responses to “HANS MOUNT RUSHMORE OF ALL-TIME DETROIT TIGERS

  1. It’s odd that the Yankees have had probably the greatest players ever but they are easier to pick four from… You could have gone with “Wahoo Sam Crawford, Miggy Cabrera, Hank Greenberg, Bill Freehan, Hal Newhouser and Justin Verlander” and been justified.

    I like Alan Trammell also…class guy. No way should it have taken this long to get into the Hall of Fame. I don’t understand it unless they were comparing it to 2000’s shortstops which you cannot do… I always had big respect for Greenberg and what he went through.

    • I think Lou Whitaker should get in too- not much difference between Trammell and Whitaker… yes Tigers have a pretty strong history.

    • Yes Whitaker should get in no doubt….

      Off topic… Harper signed for 13 years at 330 with no opt out with the Phillies. That is crazy…he will be 39 before it ends.

    • I think the best deal of the week was the Rockies securing Arenado.. the Harper deal- a bad year this year in Philly and his life will be miserable.

    • Arenado is worth it…Defense and Offense.
      I can’t believe Boras didn’t get an opt out… I agree… he will be miserable unless he is golden for 13 years…which will not happen

    • you are right it will have to be 13 all-star seasons and some championships or they will turn on him… an off-season or injuries won’t do in philly.

    • yes the two big free agents got their huge deals and with the Rockies signing Arenado- that should end all the crazy talk. I don’t think there is any other ‘big’ free agents out there now- some decent ones but no one who is going to take home the bank….

    • I’m glad the circus is over and I will be able to watch the MLB channel without having to listen to “Where are they going?”…
      Anything over 5 years is too long to me for a contract. The Dodgers signed Kenta Maeda a couple of years ago for 8 years but a 3 million guaranteed base with incentives. He bet on himself and has made a lot of money so far.

    • I agree i’d sign no one to more than 5 years guaranteed. those big contracts for the most part have not worked out well for the teams.

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