I thought it was my birthday gift from the Indians — Carl Pavano starting? That’s gotta be a win waiting to happen, no? No. Not against this mirage of a first-place club.
Some birthday for me. Actually, yesterday was a fine day and I never let the Tigers’ performance impact my birthday mood.
Because there’s absolutely nothing positive to discuss about the Tigers’ finale against the Tribe, humor me as I walk through notable Tigers games and events that happened on Aug. 2 since the year I was born.
- Overall, the Tigers are 20 and 15 on my birthday; in seven years they didn’t play, including during the 1981 strike.
- The Tigers beat the Twins 6-5 at Metropolitan Stadium on the day I was born in 1968. Don McMahon got the win in relief of Joe Sparma. Bill Freehan drove in three runs while the Twins’ Rod Carew went 3 for 4, of course.
- On Aug. 2, 1972, the Tigers purchases the contract of P Woodie Fryman from the Phillies. Two days later, they purchased C Duke Sims‘s contract from the Dodgers. Fryman, just 4-10 for Philadelphia, goes 10-3 for Detroit, while Sims hits .316 for the Tigers in 38 games.
- In 1975, at Fenway Park the game-time temperature was 103 degrees and the Tigers wilted under the heat of Rick Wise and the Red Sox and lost 7-2.
- In 1984, I was there when Jack Morris out dueled Bert Blyleven as the Tigers beat the Indians 2-1.
- On Aug. 2, 1985, Frank Tanana allowed one hit, a homer by Ben Oglivie in the 5th, and struck out eight on his way to beating the Brewers, 4-1.
- In 1990, Yankees rookie Kevin Maas hits his 10th home run in just 77 at bats, the fastest any player has ever reached that mark. Big deal. The Tigers won 6-5 in 11 innings.
Thanks for taking the trip down memory lane with me. Assuming you’re still there. Hello…?
Happy 60th to Ben Oglivie who, after the Tigers inexplicably traded him for Jim Slaton and Rich Folkers, went on to hit 176 home runs for the Brewers over nine years. He retired after the 1986 season with a lifetime average of .273 and 235 career homers.
Tom Veryzer turns 56 today. He played five years in Detroit (1973-77) before being dealt to Cleveland for Charlie Spikes. His last year in the bigs was 1984 when he was a bench rider for the Cubs. Had Leon Durham fielded a grounder more cleanly in the NLCS that year, perhaps Veryzer could’ve ended his career where it started, at Tiger Stadium. His final career numbers: .241 average, 14 homers, 231 RBI, .966 fielding percentage.
Happy Birthday, gentlemen.
I’m all over the board this morning:
- Remember Macay McBride? He spent this season on Toledo’s DL and is a long, long shot to make the 2009 Tigers. Nevertheless, today’s his 26th birthday. (Happy Birthday to infield coach Rafael Belliard, too. He’s but a pup at 47.)
- According to Baseball Reference, 100 years ago today “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was introduced by singer Billy Murray. The song writing team of Albert Von Tilzer (music) and Jack Norworth (lyrics) created the song having never seen a game.
- Thirty-five years ago this week the Tigers acquired Ben Oglivie from the Red Sox for Dick McAuliffe. If the Tigers had held on to Benjie instead of dishing him off to the Brewers for Jim Slaton a few years later, Oglivie-for-McAuliffe could’ve been the steal of the decade.
- For some reason this year’s postseason seems to be painfully long. I’m already tired of Tropicana Field, Fox’s closeups and, of course, Tim McCarver. And who thought cowbells in a domed stadium was a good idea?
- In one week, the World Series will be over and teams can start making trades. I’m eager to see if the Tigers are trigger happy again this year. Somehow I doubt they’ll jump into any moves before the Winter Meetings. You?
Finally, while the Rays are the fashionable pick in the Series, find it in your heart to root for former Tigers Chad Durbin and Matt Stairs.
Go Blue. Go Green.