This morning I received my Baseball Hall of Fame newsletter, Inside Pitch, and the lead story recapped yesterday’s Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown.
Before the game they held a parade that featured Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Ozzie Smith, Goose Gossage, Phil Niekro, Andre Dawson and Dick Williams.
Scanning through the article I could’ve sworn I saw Dmitri Young‘s name.
Dmitri Young? At the Hall of Fame Classic?
Lo and behold …
Soon enough the crowds headed to historic Doubleday Field for the day’s main event, which began with a Legends Hitting Contest won by two-time All-Star Dmitri Young in a finals showdown with Reggie Sanders.
“It felt great,” Young said minutes later. “It took a couple of swings but once you get in the swing of things and the mentality comes back with all the baseball players. I just started feeling comfortable up there.
“I was here in for the Hall of Fame Game in 2005 and came in second against Big Papi (David Ortiz). But now I’m the champ and have a watch to prove it.”
At this point I had to find out which players were a part of this game. The answer included several obscure former Tigers players including pitchers John Doherty, Jon Warden and Jack Lazorko, and infielder Frank Catalanotto.
You can see the box score here (be warned it’s not a web page — it fires up an Excel document) and you’ll see several well-known names — from Bill Lee to Dale Murphy to Dave Henderson.
And with names like that you can understand my curiosity about DY.
Classic, I suppose, but not in traditionally classic fashion.
Dave Schoenfield, the new voice of ESPN.com’s SweetSpot Network today listed some of the worst Opening Day starters from 2001 to 2010.
Of particular note:
5. Mike Maroth, Tigers, 2003
As a rookie in 2002, Maroth had posted a 4.48 ERA in 21 starts and struck out an uninspiring 58 hitters in 128.2 innings. Among pitchers with at least 75 innings, that was the second-lowest strikeout rate in the American League. However, considering the ’02 Tigers had lost 106 games, that was good enough to draw the opener. The Tigers lost that game 3-1 on their way to a 1-17 start and 119 losses — 21 of them by Maroth.
I don’t know, on Opening Day 1996 Tigers fans were treated to the stylings of Felipe Lira. Against the Twins in Minneapolis, he lasted only three innings, surrendered eight hits and six earned runs. The Tigers lost 8-6 in Buddy Bell’s managerial debut. Lira finished that awful season at 6-14 with a 5.22 ERA.
The past couple of years the Tigers swung some last-minute trades.
On March 30, 1991 the Tigers acquired catcher Andy Allanson from the Royals for catcher Jim Baxter. In 2009, they picked up outfielder Josh Anderson from the Braves for righty Rudy Darrow. And last year they dealt Nate Robertson to the Marlins for lefty Jay Voss — who hasn’t been heard of since.
Happy 55th Birthday to Jack Lazorko, who appeared in three games for the 1986 Tigers.
Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 14-9-2
Tigers @ Orioles | 1:05 p.m. ET – Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, Fla. | On the Air: MLB Gameday Audio
Dontrelle Willis (2-0, 1.20 ERA) vs. Brad Bergesen (3-0, 3.77 ERA)
Also scheduled to pitch: Ryan Perry, Jose Valverde, Fu-Te Ni and Joel Zumaya
P.S. Jeremy Bonderman will pitch for Triple-A Toledo at 1 p.m. in Lakeland.
The Tigers and Jays finished Monday’s game as a 2-2 tie and the story of the game was Rick Porcello. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth, setting down 16 of the first 17 hitters he faced. He allowed two runs on three hits, finishing with two strikeouts and no walks. He tossed an economical 72 pitches. Sounds like he’s ready for the season to start.
Tigers History Lesson
On this Date in Tigers History – Updated