Today’s Tiger: Richie Hebner

Richie Hebner

  • Born: Nov. 26, 1947 in Boston
  • Acquired: Traded by the Mets to the Tigers for Phil Mankowski and Jerry Morales on Oct. 31, 1979.
  • Seasons in Detroit: Parts of three seasons (1980-82)
  • Uniform Number: 2
  • Stats: .267 avg., 25 HR, 128 RBI, .769 OPS

Richie Hebner didn’t swing at the baseball as much as he chopped at it. That hacker’s cut was, the Tigers thought, an ideal fit for Tiger Stadium’s right field porch. It also served him well in the offseason when he dug graves in the Boston area.

According to the Associated Press story on the trade that brought Hebner to Detroit in October 1979, the Detroit acquired him for his punch:

“We’re really pleased to get somebody like Richie,” a Tigers spokesman said. “He’ll give us some power hitting we need.”

Power? Richie Hebner?

He came from the Mets where in 1979, his only season in New York, he hit just 10 homers. Keep in mind, no matter what Hebner did offensively in 1980, he’d be an upgrade over the featherweight hitting of Aurelio Rodriguez who hit only five homers in ’79. But by June of the 1980 season, Hebner was playing mostly at first base, replacing a true power hitter, Jason Thompson who was inexplicably traded to the Angels in May.

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Happy Birthday, Jerry Morales

JerryMoralesHappy 61st to Julio Ruben (Torres) Morales, the light-hitting, basket-catch-making rightfielder of the 1979 Tigers.

Wearing number 27, he hit a wispy .211 in his only season in Detroit with 14 home runs and 23 doubles — just one fewer than Magglio Ordonez hit last year.

He wasn’t a total loss for the Tigers though. He came to Detroit along with Aurelio Lopez and was traded (with Phil Mankowski) to the Mets for one my all-time favorites, Richie Hebner.

Most of his success came with the Cubs. In seven seasons he batted .275 with 59 homers … for some really bad teams.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Julio!

Historically, Christmas Comes 3 Weeks Early for the Tigers

PORTLAND, Ore. — As we all warm ourselves by that roaring hot stove, savoring yesterday’s blockbuster and thinking about the holidays, let’s not forget the boatload of trades the Detroit Tigers have made on December 4ths of the past. According to the Tigers 2007 media guide, the team has completed seven trades on Dec. 4, beginning in 1952.Despite some recognizable names, nothing Earth-shattering:Dec. 4, 1952 — The Tigers acquired Bob Nieman, and infielder Owen Friend and outfielder/infielder J.W. Porter from the St. Louis Browns for right-handed pitchers Virgil Trucks and Hal White, and outfielder Johnny Groth.Dec. 4, 1963 — The Tigers acquired outfielder Don Demeter and right-handed pitcher Jack Hamilton from the Phillies for right-hander Jim Bunning and catcher Gus Triandos.Dec. 4, 1969 — The Tigers acquired pitcher Joe Niekro from the Padres right-hander Pat Dobson and infielder on Dave Campbell.Dec. 4, 1974 — The Tigers acquired right-hander Tom Walker and catcher Terry Humphrey from the Expos for left-hander Woodie Fryman.Dec. 4, 1978 — The Tigers acquired outfielder Jerry Morales and right-hander Aurelio Lopez from the Cardinals for lefties Bob Sykes and Jack Murphy.Dec. 4, 1998 — The Tigers right-hander Willie Blair from the Mets for third baseman Joe Randa.Bonus Deal! Here’s a trade the Tigers completed 20 years ago today, Dec. 5, 1987: The Tigers acquired outfielder Gary Pettis from the Angels for Dan Petry.