Today’s Tiger: Champ Summers

Champ Summers

  • Born: June 15, 1946 in Bremerton, Wash.
  • Acquired: Traded by the Reds to the Tigers for a player to be named later on May 25, 1979. The Tigers sent Sheldon Burnside to the Reds to complete the trade October 25, 1979.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 3 (1979-81)
  • Bats: Left Throws: Right
  • Height: 6′ 2″, Weight: 205 lb.
  • Uniform Number: 24
  • Stats: .293 avg., 40 HR, 132 RBI, .896 OPS

ChampSummers.jpgChamp Summers was a fan favorite in Detroit and for good reason. He came to the Tigers as career underachiever — at least at the major-league level — in an under-the-radar trade roughly a week before they hired Sparky Anderson in 1979.

The year before, John Junior Summers was the Minor League Player of the Year for the Reds’ top farm club, Indianapolis of the American Association. He led the AA with a .368 average, 34 homers and 124 RBI.

It was in the majors, though, where Summers struggled to out together a career — and it wasn’t from a lack of opportunities. After debuting with the A’s in 1974 — a team with a loaded outfield featuring Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Rick Monday and Bill North, among others — he spent two seasons with the Cubs (hitting only .217 with four home runs). Next up was parts of three seasons with the Reds … and a .199 average.

In 1979, Summers was hitting .200 with a single home run after 27 early-season games with the Reds. But on May 25, the Reds sent him to the Tigers and, at the age of 30, he began the best three seasons of his career.

Continue reading “Today’s Tiger: Champ Summers”

Tigers Today: June 15, 2010

Tigers’ Record:

33-29, 2nd place; 2.5 GB Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers vs. Nationals | 7:05 p.m. ET – Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Max Scherzer (2-6, 6.30 ERA) vs. LHP John Lannan (2-3, 5.00 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Off Day

Tigers History Lesson

Today’s Birthdays

On this Date in Tigers History

  • 2008 — Former Tigers pitching coach Billy Muffett passed away at 78. Muffett took over for Roger Craig as Tigers pitching coach in 1985 and remained on Sparky Anderson‘s staff until 1994. As a player, Muffett pitched for Red Sox, Giants and Cardinals from 1957 through 1962 and finished with a 16-23 record, 15 saves, and a 4.33 ERA.

  • 1965Denny McLain made a first-inning relief appearance and struck out the first seven batters he faced, setting a major league record. He recorded 14 strikeouts in 6.2 innings as Detroit rallied to beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5. Bill Freehan had a record-tying 19 putouts at catcher.

  • 1963 — The Tigers acquired OF George Thomas and cash considerations from the Angels for RHP Paul Foytack and infielder Frank Kostro.

  • 1960 — The Tigers acquired RHP Clem Labine from the Dodgers for RHP Ray Semproch

  • 1948 — The Tigers and Hal Newhouser beat the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-1, before a crowd of 54,480 in the first night game at Briggs Stadium. The Tigers were the last American League team to install lights.

Tigers Today: May 25, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Record: 25-19, 2nd place; 1 GB Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Mariners | 10:10 p.m. ET – Safeco Field | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 & 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup Justin Verlander (5-2, 3.43 ERA) vs. RHP Doug Fister (3-2, 1.96 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Off Day

Continue reading “Tigers Today: May 25, 2010”

And Speaking of Birthdays…

Cabellenos.jpg Happy 59th to Enos Cabell.

The Tigers picked him up at the end of Spring Training 1982 from the Giants for Champ Summers. In two years with Detroit he hit .286 — .261 in ’82 and .311 in ’83.

I remember being surprised that the Tigers cut him loose after the ’83 season but then we heard rumblings that Old E liked the nose candy — and who among major leaguers didn’t in those days? A quick check of the always-reliable-if-not-accurate Wikipedia reports:

On February 28, 1986, Cabell and six others were suspended for the entire season for admitting during the Pittsburgh drug trials that they were involved in cocaine abuse. The suspensions for all seven were avoided after agreeing to large anti-drug donations and community service.

I’m guessing Sparky didn’t care for Cabell’s extracurriculars and thus was shown the highway component of Anderson’s “my way/highway” mantra.

Today, Cabell’s a special assistant to Astros GM Ed Wade. What’s more, he lives in Missouri City, Texas, the Houston suburb I once called home.

(Did you know that he’s a cousin of Dick Davis and Ken Landreaux? True.)