Today’s Tiger: Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson

  • Born: July 6, 1954 in Hollywood, Calif.
  • Bats: Left Throws: Left
  • Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 200 lb.
  • Acquired: Drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 1975 amateur draft.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 5 (1976-80)
  • Uniform Number: 30
  • Stats: .256 avg., 98 HR, 354 RBI, .779 OPS
  • Awards: Three-time All Star (1977, ’78 and ’82)

JasonThompson.jpg
On May 27, 1980, Tigers GM Jim Campbell traded my favorite player, first baseman Jason Thompson, to the California Angels for outfielder Al Cowens.

The Hollywood native joined the Tigers full time in 1976 and played 123 games that year, hitting .218, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI. Two of the homers cleared the rightfield roof at Tiger Stadium. It was in 1977, though, that he made his mark: .270, 31 homers and 105 RBI — and earned an All Star Game selection.

Continue reading Today’s Tiger: Jason Thompson

Tigers Today: July 14, 2010

BallGrassXSmall.jpgTigers’ Record:

48-38, 2nd place; 1/2-game behind White Sox

Today’s Game

All-Star Break

Yesterday’s Results

National League 3 – American League 1

Continue reading Tigers Today: July 14, 2010

Tigers Today: May 26, 2010

Tigers’ Record: 25-20, 2nd place; 1.5 GB Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Mariners | 3:40 p.m. ET – Safeco Field | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 & 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Jeremy Bonderman (2-2, 4.43 ERA) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.08 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Mariners 5 – Tigers 3

Continue reading Tigers Today: May 26, 2010

October Surprise Part 9: Comeback Complete

This is the final installment in our series that looked back on the Tigers’ and Blue Jays’ epic fight for the 1987 American League East title.

American League East Standings: October 4, 1987

Team Record Pct. GB
Detroit 97-64 .619 –
Toronto 96-65 .596 1


BallBatGrass.jpgIn the first six games one thing was constant: the team that scored first would go on to lose. The Blue Jays, with the season in the balance, would take their chances and welcome an early lead off Tigers starter Frank Tanana.

Instead, the Tigers struck first. Larry Herndon led off the Detroit third inning with a home run off Blue Jays starter Jimmy Key. A strong wind gust nudged the ball over Bell’s outstretched glove and into the lower deck in left. The Tigers led 1-0 on Herndon’s first homer since Aug. 18.

“Luckily, I just got enough,” Herndon said to Tommy George of the Free Press. “I saw Bell go back and it looked like he had a chance to catch it. I looked at Bell all the way. And then when I heard and saw the crowd reaction behind the fence, I knew it was out.”

Continue reading October Surprise Part 9: Comeback Complete

October Surprise Part 7: Doyle Foils Jays to Knot Division Lead

The final weekend of the 2009 season is here and the Tigers are in position for the American League Central title. Twenty-two years ago tonight the Tigers started the final season with the A.L. East in their sights. Here’s part seven of our series.


American League East Standings: October 2, 1987

Team Record Pct. GB
Toronto 96-63 .604 –
Detroit 95-64 .597 1

Doyle.jpgOf all the scenarios facing the Tigers for the final weekend, one was the most cut and dried: sweep the Blue Jays, win the division.

Game one of the decisive series took place on a cold Friday night. A crowd of 45,167 witnessed a rematch of the previous Sunday, Doyle Alexander and Jim Clancy.

The Jays scored first in the top of the second on Manny Lee’s three-run homer to right-center. In the bottom of that same inning the Tigers scored two runs of their own on a Chet Lemon single and a home run by rookie outfielder Scott Lusader.

Continue reading October Surprise Part 7: Doyle Foils Jays to Knot Division Lead

October Surprise Part 5: Setting the Bear Trap

As the Tigers and Twins wrap up the biggest series of the year with the division title hanging in the balance, we continue our look back on the last great race in Tigers history: 1987 and the seven games against the Toronto Blue Jays in the season’s final 10 days. Today: Game 4, the final game in Toronto.


American League East Standings: September 27, 1987

Team Record Pct. GB
Toronto 96-59 .619 –
Detroit 92-62 .597 3.5

As the Tigers arrived at Exhibition Stadium for the series finale, they knew what was at stake. The chances of coming back from four-and-a-half game deficit in less than a week bordered on the absurd. If ever there were a must-win game, this was it.

GoodMorning.jpgThe Tigers turned to Doyle Alexander to stop the bleeding. Toronto looked to right-hander Jim Clancy to bury the Tigers’ fading division title hopes.

Nelson Liriano led off the home half of the first with a single to right and promptly stole second. Eventual league MVP George Bell drove in Liriano for Toronto’s first run. Though he baffled the Jays for the next eight innings, Alexander and the Tigers trailed 1-0 heading into the top of the ninth.

Continue reading October Surprise Part 5: Setting the Bear Trap

October Surprise Part 3: Game 2 Skips Away

As the Tigers and Twins square off for the biggest series of the year with the division title hanging in the balance, we continue our look back on the last great race in Tigers history: 1987 and the seven games against the Toronto Blue Jays. Today: Game 2.

Part 1October Surprise: Tigers and Jays Battle for ’87 Division Title
Part 2Showdown in Toronto, Game 1


American League East Standings

September 25, 1987

Team Record Pct. GB
Toronto 94-59 .614 –
Detroit 92-60 .605 1.5

Tigers left hander Frank Tanana had been in one divisional race in his 14-year career: in 1979 when he helped the California Angels win their first American League West title. In 1987, Tanana approached the twilight of his career but Toronto starter Jimmy Key’s best days were just dawning. Key had won 14 games in each of his first two years as a starter and in 1987 he would finish second in A.L. Cy Young voting, posting a 17-8 record and 2.76 ERA.
BallBatGrass.jpg

For the second straight night, the Tigers produced a two-run lead. In the Tigers’ second, Chet Lemon doubled and Darrell Evans singled him home. Later, in the sixth, Kirk Gibson bunted for a base hit and took second on Key’s wild throw to first. Larry Herndon followed with a single to left scoring Gibson and giving Tanana a two-run cushion.

Tanana pitched one of his best games of the season throwing seven scoreless innings, yielding just five hits and a walk. Key was equally masterful in his 8.1 innings pitched. He scattered nine hits, allowing only one earned run and walking a single hitter. Going into the ninth inning the Tigers maintained a 2-0 lead.

Continue reading October Surprise Part 3: Game 2 Skips Away

Talking with Johnny Grubb, Part II

JohnnyGrubb2.jpgThis is the second and final installment of my conversation with former Tigers outfielder and pinch-hitter extraordinaire, Johnny Grubb. You can find the first installment here.


Mike McClary: Heading into the 1984 season, was it a long off-season? It would seem like you would be chomping at the bit to get back on the field shortly after a little break. Was everyone coming into spring training raring to go?

Johnny Grubb: Yeah, I think so. I remember us getting Dave Bergman and Willie [Hernandez]. So they came over, and they fit right in with the team, too. I mean, we just had a good group of guys that got along, and Dave Bergman is a heck of a guy and so was Willie. So it worked out great.

MMc: Let’s talk about the ’84 season in general. Obviously, you got off to a great start, 9-0, and in the middle of that, Jack Morris throws a no-hitter. As you were getting older and becoming the seasoned veteran, were you really just enjoying about every moment of that season?

JG: Oh, gosh, yeah. It was fun to watch those guys play and every once in a while to jump in and do something myself. But it was a lot of fun watching Gibby and Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker and Darrell [Evans] — and Lance did a great job. And Howard Johnson had the great season for us. I thought he did a great job. And Larry Herndon and all those guys really did well in the pitching.

So really what I remember most about it is that I never really felt like we were out of any ballgame. Any lead a team could get, we felt like we could have a big inning and jump right back in the game. And we had real good pitching, so if we had the lead, we had Willie and [Aurelio] Lopez coming in to shut the door on them. The pitchers did their job, and the hitters did their job. And we just felt like we could win any game.

That 35-5 start really helped a lot, too. But I think that pretty much was an indicator of how strong we were because that’s pretty phenomenal when you think about a 35-5 start in the major leagues. That’s pretty good.

Continue reading Talking with Johnny Grubb, Part II

The Non-Sequiturs: Matinee Edition

After reading Doug‘s pithy and spot-on assessment of Todd Jones — heretofore known by me as the Tigers “opener”, not “closer” — I decided not to waste my or your time with a vitriolic post about him. What more is there to say? For me, nuttin’. For Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski, lots apparently.According to today’s Detroit News:

“I have no problem with Todd Jones. None,” Leyland said. “He’s done an outstanding job, and he’s a heck of a pitcher.“But he’s such a perfectionist and competes so hard, what I think happens to him on occasion is that he outthinks himself. You try to pitch too carefully, it can backfire on you.”

Ahem.And this from the GM in the Freep:

“He’s our closer. He’s done a solid job for us. He’s pitched well at times. Other times, he hasn’t. He’s pitched very similarly to the way he did last year. He’s not your dominant-type closer, but we know what Todd is.”

Insert your own punchline. Or, better yet, don’t:

“It’s not fun to be the butt of everybody’s jokes,” Jones said Wednesday.

Will Jones be summoned from the ‘pen this afternoon? Yeah, probably. Settle in.How’s that for not writing about Todd Jones? Now, on to the Non-Sequiturs:

  • Peter Pascarelli, the new host of ESPN’s Baseball Today Podcast, is a Tigers believer. He’s been on board for a while now and again this morning said he knows this Tigers have inquired about both Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka. Earlier this week he interviewed Leyland about the Tigers’ season so far. Check it out here.
  • One other Pascarelli note, he said that if the Tigers get the bullpen together they could run away with the division.
  • I don’t know about you but yesterday’s rainout was just what the Tigers needed to put the Tuesday nightmare behind them. Let’s see how they respond today. (Rod Allen just said the same thing on the telecast.)
  • Remember in the winter of 2005-06 when Tigers fans were clamoring for Kevin Millwood? Remember, too, the outcry (I might have been the loudest) when the Tigers signed Kenny Rogers instead? So how’d that workout for both teams?
  • Looking to buy the ugliest Detroit Tigers hat ever created? Here it is.
  • I suppose I’m in the minority when it comes to the Tigers first base situation and its lack of pop. I know that the offense is clicking and all that but I’m sorry, one dinger from Sean Casey and six from Marcus Thames is unacceptable. Detroit hasn’t had a full-time power threat at first since the days of Cecil Fielder and Darrell Evans. (Apologies to Tony Clark.) Get Mark Teixeira, if not for this season then at least for the long haul and before the Yankees scoop him up. Here’s what Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has to say about it:

Tigers: An obvious possibility, considering that the team ranks 11th in the American League in on-base/slugging percentage at first base. However, Sean Casey’s OPS is over .800 since his horrid April, Marcus Thames helps against lefties and Chris Shelton is performing decently at Class AAA.”Our offense is not a problem,” GM Dave Dombrowski, noting that the Tigers are on pace to set the all-time franchise record for runs scored. “I don’t think we would put resources into position players at this time. Our biggest need is the bullpen.”

  • Question for you: Who gets an All Star Game invitation as a reserve: Gary Sheffield, Curtis Granderson or Carlos Guillen? One, two or all of the above?
  • Another question: If the Tigers do take the plunge and shore up the bullpen via trade(s), who are you willing to give up for relief help? Nate Robertson? Craig Monroe (but of course)? Thames? Shelton? Omar Infante?

Finally, during the rain delay on Wednesday I had to endure the Monroe spotlight on FSN Detroit. Mike McClary enjoyed Craig Monroe talking about Craig Monroe in the third person. Mike McClary particularly enjoyed the segments of the show in which Monroe was wearing a Texas Rangers uniform.If only it weren’t six-year-old footage.