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Who didn’t like Mickey Tettleton? He was built like a tank, stood ramrod straight at the plate and could crush the ball from either side of the plate. And, he wasn’t half-bad behind the plate.
Tettleton came to Detroit in a steal of a trade from the Orioles 20 years ago next week, the Tigers sending once-promising righty Jeff Robinson to Baltimore in the deal.
After four nondescript seasons with the A’s in which he never hit more than 10 home runs, Tettleton was released by Oakland and signed by the Orioles at the end of March 1988. That season he hit 11 homers but struck out 117 times in 411 at bats.
In 1989, however, he became a dangerous hitter, clubbing 26 homers and earning an All-Star appearance. And while his strikeouts rose along with his plate appearances, so did his walks. In 1990, he fanned 160 times (a career high) but walked 106.
Why would the Orioles, who weren’t exactly brimming with offensive talent, want to part ways with Tettleton? According to this story, they “did not want to pay him more than $1 million to be backup to Bob Melvin.” Bob Melvin! And shortly thereafter his ticket to Detroit was punched.
“He has good defensive skills and is adept at working with pitchers,” acting Tigers General Manager Joe McDonald said. “In addition, he brings even more punch to our lineup.”