It took all of the second day in Cooperstown to make it through the balance of the Museum – and it did not disappoint. There’s so much I could write about but I think the photos I posted on TigersHistory.com tell the tale more vividly. Yet, one dimension in particular stands out and deserves a few words: the detail of the Museum.
The Museum is rooted in the minutiae of baseball and the memories these otherwise mundane objects evoke. You’d expect to see artifacts from Hank Aaron’s chase for the Babe, Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters and Rickey Henderson’s stolen base exploits. But it’s the other stuff that held me rapt. For example:
- The cornerstone from Ebbets Field
- The wall panel from Tiger Stadium’s deepest reaches – the 440-foot mark
- A deep-blue leather jacket from the Philadelphia Athletics
- The rotating thingy that sat atop the centerfield scoreboard at old Comiskey Park
- A scorebook from a Tigers/Indians game from the early 1970s
- The shoes worn by Hall of Fame National League umpire Doug Harvey in his final game in 1992
And so much more. Of course, there was lot of Tigers miscellany, some curious of not outright dubious.
For example, in the Tigers locker, part of the Today’s Game exhibit, you’ll find the hat worn by Luis Pujols when he managed against the Royals’ Tony Pena in June 2002. It marked the first time managers from the Dominican Republic faced each other. The fact someone has that on their radar and thinks to make contact ahead of time with the Royals and Tigers is astounding and impressive.
Also in the Museum is the hat worn by Octavio Dotel on April 7 when he appeared in a game for his record-setting 13th different club.
In a way it’s cool that these items are in Cooperstown, but these two names representing the Tigers with Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Hal Newhouser, Mickey Cochrane, George
Kell and Al Kaline? Kind of a joke, I thought. But the more I considered it, the more I appreciated that the seemingly minor and mostly forgotten stories of people like Pujols and Dotel shape the narrative and history of baseball.
I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
As we departed for the grueling drive back to Detroit I wondered when I’d get back to Cooperstown. Chances are it won’t be soon.
Until that time, I’ll be keeping a more watchful eye on the historical aspects as they happen and cherish a trip of a lifetime with my Dad, brother and brothers in law.
Listen to George Kell call the Tigers’ last division-clinching win.
Not this weekend.
Detroit’s recent good fortune against the Sox continues. (Right?)
- Here’s a terrific piece about Sparky Anderson from someone who knew him in his southern California community for 40 years.
- Out here in Phoenix, there’s some noise about the Diamondbacks pursuing the Mets’ David Wright. All things being equal — and Brandon Inge’s mono notwithstanding — I’d sure rather see him in Detroit. What about you?
- The Tigers’ all-time record against the White Sox heading into play tonight is 1,012-996-1. Why does it seem as if half those losses have come since 2004?
- Two tidbits about tonight’s starter Andy Oliver: 1. He was selected to participate in the Futures Game held prior to last year’s All-Star Game in Anaheim, but was unable to participate because he’d been called up to the Tigers. 2. Following last season, Baseball America named Oliver the third-best prospect in the Tigers organization, the 13th-best prospect in the EasternLeague and the 19th-best prospect in the International League.
- On this date in 1952 the Tigers acquired lefty Bill Wight, infielders Johnny Pesky, Walt Dropo and Fred Hatfield and outfielder Don Lenhardt from the Red Sox for righthander Dizzy Trout, infielders George Kell and Johnny Lipon and outfielder Hoot Evers.
- Have you been itching for a closer look at the Tigers’ platoon situations? ESPN.com’s Christina Kahrl has you covered:
The Tigers might be the team with the most potential variations, to the point that Jim Leyland could flirt with multi-positional solutions every bit as creative as [Rays skipper Joe] Maddon’s. After all, the Tigers broke in Ryan Raburn in a multi-positional utility role with a lean toward starting him against lefties in the past, and using youngsters Andy Dirks and Casper Wells as platoon outfielders now. Raburn and Brennan Boesch have struggled to stick in regular roles, opening up a host of possibilities for Leyland to try to hide some of his players from the sources of some of their struggles.
- Over at The Platoon Advantage, Bill offers up three ways to improve the All-Star Game.
Have a great weekend.
No Tigers baseball for a week, how are you managing? Here in Phoenix we’re prepping for another season of Arizona Fall League action. (More on that later.)
In the meantime, here are some odds and ends from the last week:
- If you’re still coming to grips with the notion of Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta manning the left side of the Tigers’ infield next season, here’s something I noticed that will either make you feel better or worse – and nowhere in between.
Based on this year’s stats, it appears that Inge and Peralta are practically twins:
2010 Stats Inge Peralta Games 144 148 At bats 514 551 Hits 127 137 Home Runs 13 15 RBI 70 81 Average .247 .249 On-base Percentage .321 .311 Slugging Percentage .397 .392 OPS .718 .703
Of Peralta, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski last Sunday said: “We don’t know what we will do with his ($7.25 million) option, but would like him back next year as our shortstop.”
I’m like many Tigers fans: skeptical, at best, about Peralta as a full-time shortstop. True, he’ll bring more pop to the position than either Danny Worth or Ramon Santiago. But that’s not saying much, is it? As for his defense, the 2010 edition of Baseball Prospectus described Peralta as “increasingly immobile.”
Gee, if we wanted an immobile shortstop, why not give the job back to Carlos Guillen?
68-70, 3rd Place; 13 GB
White Sox 5 – Tigers 4 (10 innings)
Royals 2 – Tigers 1
Tigers History Lesson
On this Date in Tigers History
In honor of George Kell’s birthday, here’s some terrific video from the Tigers’ clubhouse after they clinched the American League pennant in 1968.
This is the first of three installments — the others to follow.
41-35, 2nd place; 1/2-game behind Minnesota
Tigers @ Twins | 1:10 p.m. ET – Target Field | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM
Twins 11 – Tigers 4