Friday Freehans: Brocail, Uni Numbers and Chet Lemon

Less than three weeks until Grapefruit League games. Time to get loose.BillFreehan.jpg

  • If you, like me, are inexplicably fascinated by the uniform numbers worn by Tigers players, you’re going to be disappointed that the Tigers haven’t yet assigned numbers to the new guys.
  • Arm troubles limited Doug Brocail‘s career trajectory but not his longevity — he pitched for four clubs, including Detroit, for 15 season. (In four seasons with the Tigers he notched a 17-14 record with a 3.06 ERA; he also started four games in 1997.)

    The flame-throwing setup guy is retiring after countless surgeries and a serious heart issues. ESPN’s Buster Olney caught up with him to discuss his career highs and lows, and to my delight a lot of his best memories come from his years in Detroit. Here are a few snippets:

    Continue reading “Friday Freehans: Brocail, Uni Numbers and Chet Lemon”

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.