A Brief Tigers History Lesson

On this date in 1908: Ty Cobb signs with the Detroit Tigers for $4,000 plus an $800 bonus if he hits over .300.

On this date in 1908:

Ty Cobb signs with the Detroit Tigers for $4,000 plus an $800 bonus if he hits over .300. He will collect the bonus with a league-leading .324, becoming one of only three American League regulars to top .300 this year – the National League has five.

— From Baseball-Reference.com:

Clearing out a crowded mental notebook

It’s been a while, I know, but a weeklong vacation to New Jersey followed by an annual physical and a balky back will do that to you.

Let’s empty my mental notebook before a family function this afternoon:

Thank you Jim Leyland for finally seeing that Marcus Thames provides more consistent offense than Craig Monroe. The man can hit (righties/lefties it doesn’t matter) and therefore deserves the opportunity to play five times a week. Fill in with Monroe if you must, but I’d just as soon see Ryan Raburn get the spot start out there as well. The kid worked hard to earn his way back up to the bigs, so reward him with the playing time.

I predicted to no one in particular (maybe it was just to myself) that Magglio Ordonez would have to cool off and it appears his offensive inferno has been put out. This isn’t a Home Run Derby hangover is it? That means it’s all the more important for Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco to get on so opposing pitchers can’t pitch around Gary Sheffield. Sheff will wind up leading this team in RBIs when it’s all said and done.

Speaking of Sheff, I’m with our host Mike McClary. I had no idea how good of a ballplayer he was. His baseball instincts are so good and he does the little things that put teams in a position to win games. It’s been a pleasure to watch him play. Of course D.J. on my t-ball team who insists on wagging his bat like Sheff scares the bejeebers out of me, but that’s a story for another day.

Sheffield’s productivity aside, I still think my MVP this year will be Granderson. He’s really growing into an all-around, five-tool player before us this year. He hits for power, has speed, and not enough is made of his fine defense. On a team full of players that are fun to watch, he’s the one I most enjoy. Maybe it’s because I feel the triple is the most exciting play in sport this side of an inside-the-park-homer or maybe it’s because he’s so effortless hawking balls in CF. No matter, he’s the guy I hope’s in the lineup when I show up at CoPa.

Todd Jones still doesn’t instill any confidence in me when he marches in from the pen. But aren’t Cleveland Indians fans saying the same thing about Joe Borowski?

J.J. Putz? Seriously? I believe I saw this kid in college and I never could have predicted this.

Say what you will about the Wildcard in baseball, but it certainly has had the desired effect on teams selling off high-priced players by the end of the July. With over half of each league still in the mix for the post-season, it sure looks like the Tigers are going to have to overpay to get anything of quality to shore up their bullpen.

Ty Cobb died 46 years ago today at the age of 74. Irrascible yes, but I guarantee you he wouldn’t allow Monroe and others to swing at the first pitch after the pitcher walked the previous batter on four straight pitches. To me it’s inexcusable.

Speaking of Cobb, I’ve been reading New Baltimore author Tom Stanton’s latest book Ty and The Babe. An excellent read that chronicles their vituperative-filled playing days and then their peculiar friendship that led to a three-match golf tournament in 1941. Some terrific nuggets to be found in there, like the fact Ruth’s second wife Claire had dated Cobb years before. Who knew?

Is there a better way to fall asleep than to the soothing tones of a baseball game? Sounds crazy I know, but I ponied up and bought XM primarily so I could have baseball filling my ears as I drifted off to sleep. Best $200 I’ve ever spent.

Now if only we could do something about that Price fellow who works for the Tigers!

I went to Cooperstown earlier this year with my father. I thought many of you would find it interesting to note that Gabe Kapler has a Tigers’ jersey in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, that Gabe Kapler! It’s his jersey from the Tiger Stadium finale with no name or number on it when he was representing Cobb. Couldn’t they have chosen Robert Fick‘s #25 in honor of Norm Cash? After all, he cleared the roof in that game against KC.