Tigers Today: June 29, 2010

Tigers’ Record:

41-34, 1st place; 1/2-game lead

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Twins| 8:10 p.m. ET – Target Field | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Armando Galarraga (3-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. RHP Nick Blackburn (6-5, 6.10 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 7 – Twins 5

Continue reading “Tigers Today: June 29, 2010”

My Grandpa: 1 – The Bird: 0

When it comes to topics like the death of Mark Fidrych, I tend to be reflective — and that usually means several hours (or even a day) can pass before I post something about it.

sc001e295a.jpgI’ll certainly have more on The Bird this week, but I will share my single memory of Fidrych and his magical 1976 season.

My parents had tickets for one of the most dazzling games of that year: August 17, Detroit native Frank Tanana and the Angels against Fidrych and the Tigers at Tiger Stadium.

Back then, Tanana was a flamethrower and entered the game with a 14-8 record on his way to a 19-win season. The Bird was 13-4 and, as everyone knows, soaring toward the A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

Anyway, I had two choices: I could attend the game with my family or I could spend the evening hanging out with my grandpa. The choice was easy: I hung out with grandpa.

Continue reading “My Grandpa: 1 – The Bird: 0”

Happy Birthday, Milt May

MiltMay.jpgBetween Bill Freehan and Lance Parrish, the Tigers’ backstop bridge to the future was ol’ Milt May.

The Tigers picked up May in a Dec. 6, 1975 trade with the Astros. He came to Detroit with Jim Crawford and Dave Roberts for Leon Roberts, Terry Humphrey, Gene Pentz and Mark Lemongello.

May’s first season as a Tiger was Freehan’s last, and it was one to forget. A broken ankle limited him to a half-dozen games behind the plate. Freehan and Bruce Kimm, Mark Fidrych’s personal catcher, shared receiving duties that year.

Here’s how May, who wore number 12, was described in the 1978 Tigers Yearbook:

Steady it goes with Milt May, the Tigers’ experienced catcher. He missed all but six games of the 1976 season, his first as a Tiger, because of a broken ankle. But 1977 was another story, as Milt caught 111 games with fine defensive skill and some timely hitting.

His .249 at the plate [sic] included two eight-game hitting streaks and 12 home runs, the most for May in his major league career. One of the homers was Milt’s second grand slammer and he also hit two for the circuit in one game.

That year, May, the son of Phillies’ infielder Pinky May, caught in 94 games and despite being just 27, was being phased out in the transition to Parrish. The Big Wheel appeared in 85 games at catcher in 1978 and 142 in ’79.

After just five games in ’79, May’s tenure with the Tigers was over. On May 27, the White Sox purchased his contract and the Gary, Ind., native played in 65 games for Chicago. In the offseason, May signed with the Giants where he played from 1980 through August 1983 when he was dealt to his original team, the Pirates.

Milt May’s final season was 1984. In 50 games with Pittsburgh, he hit just .177. His final career line: 1,192 games, .263 average, 77 homers and 443 RBI.

After his playing career, May went the coaching route. First as Jim Leyland‘s hitting coach with the Pirates (1987-96), then the Marlins (1997-98). He spent the first half of the ’99 season with Tampa Bay and then became Leyland’s pitching coach in Colorado for the remainder of that season.

Happy 58th Birthday, Milt.

Birthdays! (And some history)

BaseballCandlesXSmall.jpg

  • Bruce Kimm, Mark Fidrych‘s personal catcher, turns 57 today.

  • Eddie Miller played 14 games for the 1982 Tigers and got one hit in 25 at bats; that’s an .040 average, folks. He turns 51 today.

  • Dizzy Trout was born on this date in 1915. The righty pitcher won 27 games for the Tigers in the 1944 season (and pitched 352 innings). Trout was part of a big-time trade on June 3, 1952. He was dealt by the Tigers with Hoot Evers, George Kell and Johnny Lipon to the Boston Red Sox for Bill Wight, Walt Dropo, Fred Hatfield, Johnny Pesky and Don Lenhardt.

  • Old-time Tigers outfielder Bobby Veach was born 120 years ago today. He played 12 of his 14 big-league seasons in Detroit and finished with a .310 average.

And these three nuggets from Tigers history, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:

On June 29…

  • 1968: Jim Northrup‘s third grand slam ties the major-league record for slams in a month (Rudy York, May 1938), and sets a major-league record for slams in a week. The Tigers win 5-2 over Chicago, as Denny McLain tallies his 14th victory.

  • 1984: Twins rookie Andre David hits a two-run home run off Jack Morris in his first major-league at bat to spark Minnesota to a 5-3 win over Detroit before 44,619. It is the only home run David will hit in the big leagues and stops Morris’ 11-game win streak over the Twins. Detroit wins the nitecap, 7-5, as Kirk Gibson starts the scoring with a two-run homer in the first and ends it with a two-run homer in the ninth. The Tigers also score in the second on back-to-back homers by Chet Lemon and Rupert Jones.

  • 1986: Detroit beats Milwaukee 9-5 in the first game of a doubleheader split, making Sparky Anderson the first manager ever to win 600 games in each league. The Brewers win game two, 3-1.