Sept. 18, 1984: Tigers Clinch American League East Title

On this date in 1984, the Tigers clinched the American League East title, beating the Brewers 3-0.

Randy O’Neal pitched seven shutout innings, allowing four hits, one walk and striking out six. As he often did, Willie Hernandez earned a two-inning save, his 30th of the year.

Tom Brookens hit a solo homer off Brewers’ starter Bob McClure. Lance Parrish drove in Detroit’s other two runs.

If you want to take a deep dive into the ’84 club, pickup a copy of Detroit Tigers 1984: What a Start! What a Finish! from Amazon.com. (Disclosure: I wrote the bios of Rusty Kuntz, Johnny Grubb, Chet Lemon and Carl Willis that appear in the book.)

October Surprise Part 4: Bullpen Collapses in Game 3

As the Tigers and Twins square off for the biggest series of the year with the division title hanging in the balance, we continue our look back on the last great race in Tigers history: 1987 and the seven games against the Toronto Blue Jays in the season’s final 10 days. Today: Game 3.


American League East Standings: September 26, 1987

Team Record Pct. GB
Toronto 95-59 .617 –
Detroit 92-61 .601 2.5

BallTherapy.jpgIf the Tigers suffered any ill effects from the previous two games, they certainly didn’t show it in the third game of the series.

Detroit pummeled Toronto’s ace Dave Steib, tagging the right-hander for six runs on four hits in just 2.1 innings. Matt Nokes drove in six runs in his first two at bats: a first-inning two-run homer and a grand slam in the third.

The Blue Jays were having nearly as much fun with Detroit starter Walt Terrell. In his 2.1 innings, the Blue Jays came up with four runs on seven hits. The Tigers attacked five additional Toronto hurlers for a 9-4 lead in the fifth inning. Toronto wouldn’t go away quietly, tacking on three more runs. Heading into the bottom half of the ninth Detroit clung to a 9-7 lead.

Continue reading “October Surprise Part 4: Bullpen Collapses in Game 3”

Looking Back on Doyle Alexander’s 1987 Shutout at Fenway Park

Doyle.jpgDan Dickerson was quick to point out that Justin Verlander’s shutout on Thursday was the first by a Tigers pitcher at Fenway Park since Doyle Alexander blanked the Red Sox in 1987. (Thanks to a tip from Fungo contributor Doug Hill, we went scrambling for the details.)

The Tigers were a half-game out of first place on Sept. 23, 1987, for the finale of a three-game series against Boston. Alexander, who blanked the Red Sox a week earlier, 3-0 at Tiger Stadium, faced off with lefty Bruce Hurst and was untouchable. He allowed singles to the first two batters he faced – Ellis Burks and Marty Barrett – and a two-out walk to Spike Owen in the second and that was it.

Alexander got two runs in the second and one each in the fifth and sixth. Tom Brookens drove in a pair and Alan Trammell knocked home one in the win. (The fourth run was scored on an error.) The Tigers moved on to Toronto for a grueling four-game series for ages against the Blue Jays.

You’ve got to love Baseball-Reference.com; I know I sure do.

The Curious Case of June 2, 1980: Tigers and Mariners Play to a Tie

OldTimeWriterXSmall.jpgIn case you were wondering, here’s how the Tigers have fared against the Mariners since Seattle joined the American League in 1977:

  • All-Time Record: 185-152-1
  • All-Time at Home: 104-64-1
  • All-Time at Comerica Park: 22-18
  • All-Time at Seattle: 81-88

Wait a second. The Tigers and Mariners played to a tie? In the 20th century?

This little item sent me scrambling to my favorite site, Baseball-Reference.com, for the details. Here’s what I found:

Continue reading “The Curious Case of June 2, 1980: Tigers and Mariners Play to a Tie”