I suppose it was inevitable that the Tigers would retire Sparky Anderson. The only question, at least in my mind, was whether it would happen before or after owner Mike Ilitch moved on to the next life.
Two months after Sparky’s death, todaythe Tigers announced they’ll retire his number 11 and wear a patch with the number all season.
I understand his passing happened after the season and there wasn’t much they could do, but couldn’t the Tigers have chosen another time — any other time — to honor (or at least announce their intention to honor) their winningest manager?
Here are just a few opportunities they wasted:
- 1994: The 10th anniversary of the 1984 World Series championship
- 2000: His induction in to the Baseball Hall of Fame
- 2004: The 20th anniversary of the ’84 championship
- 2005: Comerica Park All-Star Game festivities
- 2006: Any time during the postseason
- 2009: The 25th reunion event for the ’84 club, when it was clear that Sparky’s health was declining.
Yes, the fact the Tigers are honoring Sparky is a good thing — and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Dave Dombrowski that finally convinced Ilitch that the Great Sparky Schism needed to end.
But still, two months after his death? 18 months after the last, best opportunity?
“Better late than never” just doesn’t work for me in this instance.
It’s not often Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski gets loose and talks at length about the club’s plans, but on Sunday in Baltimore he did just that, breaking some news and confirming a few long-anticipated decisions:
48-43, 2nd place; 2.5 GB Chicago
Tigers vs. Rangers | 7:05 p.m. ET – Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM
Armando Galarraga (3-2, 4.45 ERA) vs. RHP Tommy Hunter (6-0, 2.39 ERA)
Rangers 8 – Tigers 6
Continue reading Tigers Today: July 20, 2010
So that’s how the Dontrelle Willis Era ends in Detroit? With him being designated for assignment? Who thought he’d be the Tigers’ version of Brian Glynn*?
In my post from Saturday in which a I speculated about the fallout from Max Scherzer‘s recall, an anonymous commenter was stunned — to the point of calling me a dufus! — that I didn’t include Dontrelle in the list of possible roster moves. I suppose that’s fair.
But here are the two reasons why I thought the Tigers would stick with Willis come hell or high water:
Continue reading D-Train DFA’d: The D Stands for Disappointing
Yahoo! Sports’ Steve Henson says Scott Boras — bagman for Johnny Damon — saved the Tigers’ season. Them’s fighting words.
[Tigers owner Mike Ilitch] whipped out his checkbook and, just like that, Damon became the Tigers’ left fielder for 2010.
Luckily for Dombrowski. And for manager Jim Leyland. Both are consummate pros with solid track records, but without Damon they were headed pell-mell for disaster.
Were the Tigers headed for disaster without Damon? No way; they’d have made some other move to steady the offense, but probably not as nifty a move as Damon.
Continue reading The Yin and Yang of Johnny Damon
There are about 29 minutes left of Wednesday, so I can still file this collection of Tigers thoughts and make my self-imposed deadline.
- Did you see that Hall of Famer and Detroit Stars centerfielder Norman “Turkey” Stearnes will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Friday? The article in the Nashville Tennessean begins with this anecdote:
Norman “Turkey” Stearnes could work for Walter Briggs. He just couldn’t play for him.
During the offseasons between leading the Negro League in home runsseven times, the Nashville native worked in a Detroit car factory owned by Briggs, who also owned the major league Detroit Tigers.could work for Walter Briggs. He just couldn’t play for him.
Stearnes hit .400+ three times and posted a .350 career batting average with the Stars, the Nashville Elite Giants, the Montgomery Grey Sox, and the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues.
- I’ve had it with the Johnny Damon saga. Here’s hoping that Dave Dombrowski and Mike Ilitch gave up dealing with Scott Boras for Lent. Assuming they’re Catholic, of course.
- I tweeted about this but it’s worth repeating (at least I think it is): On this date in 1995 Sparky Anderson lit the flame that burned his bridge to Mike Ilitch when he refused to manage replacement players. He was put on an involuntary leave of absence but probably would’ve been fired if someone hadn’t talked Ilitch down from the ledge. Quick quiz: Who managed the faux Tigers in Sparky’s absence? Answer: Tom Runnells.
Whew! I made it.
First, let’s raise a glass — or mug of hot chocolate — in celebration of Magglio Ordonez‘s 35th birthday. Â¡FelÃz Cumpleanos, amigo!
- I wonder what was going through Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch head today when Lynn Henning of the News asked him about the team’s off season progress — at a press conference in which Ilitch was committing $72 million to Henrik Zetterberg.
- Remember all the panic from 2006 and 2007 as the Tigers dealt away blue-chip pitching talent? Things are already looking up.
- I was about to crack wise about poor Nationals fans who will be subjected to Rob Dibble as the new television analyst on MASN broadcasts. Then I realized Tigers fans have a problem of their own alongside Dan Dickerson in the radio booth.
- I’m with Ian: Timo Time es muy bueno.
Finally, Yahoo! Sports‘s Tim Brown recently pitched in his two cents on the 2009 Tigers in his Hot Stove Daily column.
Each year I forget that the Tigers’ team photo happens at the end of the year — i.e., today. Owner Mike Ilitch was there, of course, and weighed-in on this year and next year.
As you might’ve guessed, no real answers from Mr. I.
If you watched the FSN Detroit broadcast of the Tigers-Orioles game on Sunday, you likely heard the answer to the AFLAC trivia question:
On this date in 1958, Jim Bunning of the Tigers pitched a 3-0 no-hitter over the Red Sox and fans 12. Only two walks and a hit batsman mar Bunning’s performance as he wins his sixth game in seven decisions (8-6).
But did you know…?
- On July 20, 1979, the Tigers traded Rusty Staub, a spring holdout who got off to a slow start, to his former team Montreal for a minor league player to be named later (Randy Schafer).
- Ten years ago today the Tigers won the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees by a 4-3 score in 17 innings. The Yankees won the nightcap by the identical score. The 26 innings take nearly nine hours to play.
And how about some birthdays?
- Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch turned 79.
- Long-time Tiger Mickey Stanley turned 66.
— Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com