Dmitri Young in the Hall of Fame Classic. Come again … ?

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.

Three for Thursday: ’06 All Over Again

3 fingers.jpgLooking at the scene today at Comerica Park — brilliant blue skies, a sun-drenched field — I can’t help but think back to three years ago today when the Tigers choked on a golden opportunity to win a division title. History repeating itself?

  1. Dan Gladden made an interesting point on the pre-game interview with Jim Price Wednesday evening. The Twins don’t have a Latin coach on their big-league staff and Orlando Cabrera has helped calm some of the club’s Latin players. I wonder what impact the Tigers’ infield coach Rafael Belliard has had on Miguel Cabrera, Ramon Santiago, et al? We know he worked wonders with Cabrera’s defensive work at first base. How much did the language thing play into it?

  2. The last Tigers’ division champion relied on contributions from several rookies including Scott Lusader, Jim Walewander, Matt Nokes and Mike Henneman. This year’s club has Rick Porcello, Alex Avila and Ryan Perry. At this point, 1987 wins on contributors and championships. For now.

  3. From the moment I saw the Tigers’ 2009 schedule, I didn’t like them playing the White Sox to end the season under any circumstances. Now the Tigers have to win two of three if they want to guarantee a championship. The weekend starts by facing Jake Peavy on Friday night, and then the Tigers are counting on Alfredo Figaro on Saturday? Yeah, things are certainly aligning nicely for Detroit.

Finally, Happy 63rd Birthday, 1968 Tiger Jon Warden.