The Detroit Tigers played their first game in 1901. In the nearly 120 seasons of the organization’s time on the field, Detroit has won four World Series titles. The most recent one came in 1984. The club also has nine retired numbers including Jackie Robinson‘s number 42. Here is a potential all-time starting lineup for the Detroit Tigers including a designated hitter, starting pitcher and relief pitcher.
1. Charlie Gehringer, Second Base (1924-1942)
Uniform Number 2 Retired by Detroit in 1983
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1949
Charlie Gehringer spent all 19 of his big league seasons with the Tigers. He only played in 13 combined games his first two seasons before playing in over 100 games from 1926-1941. Gehringer finished in the top 10 of the American League MVP voting each season from 1932-1938. He won the award in 1937 when he slashed .371/.458/.520.
2. Ty Cobb, Center Field (1905-1926)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1936
Ty Cobb was a member of the first Hall of Fame class in 1936. He spent most of his 24 year career with Detroit. In his time there, he had a slash line of .368/.434/.516 in 2,806 regular season games. He had 3,900 hits with the Tigers as part of the 4,189 for his career, putting him at second on the all-time hits list. Cobb also scored 2,087 in his 22 seasons as a Tiger.
3. Miguel Cabrera, Designated Hitter (2008-?)
Miguel Cabrera will be entering his 13 season with Detroit in 2020. In his first 12 years with the club, he has made some notable achievements. He won back-to-back AL MVP awards in 2012 and 2013. In the latter year, he won a Triple Crown award with a slash line of .348/.442/.636. “Miggy” had 44 homers and 26 two-baggers that season.
4. Hank Greenberg, First Base (1930, 1933-1941, 1945-1947)
Uniform Number 5 Retired by Detroit in 1983
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1956
Hank Greenberg is another player on the list to be a two-time MVP. Greenburg won the award in both 1935 and 1940. When he won it in 1935, he had 203 hits on the season with nearly half of them going for extra-bases. He recorded 168 RBIs on the year as well, leading the MLB by over 35 RBIs. Greenberg won two World Series titles with Detroit in 1935 and 1945.
5. Al Kaline, Right Field (1953-1974)
Uniform Number 6 Retired by Detroit in 1980
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1980
Al Kaline is an 18-time All-Star who played his entire MLB career with the Tigers. He is a member of the 3,000 hit club as he finished his career with 3,007 hits. Out of those 3,007 hits, 399 of them were home runs, and 498 of them were doubles. Kaline also played some solid defense in right field, as he is a 10-time Gold Glove winner.
6. George Kell, Third Base (1946-1952)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1983
George Kell played 15 seasons in the big leagues with five different teams. He played in seven seasons with Detroit, making six All-Star games during that stretch. In 1950, he led the league in both hits (218) and doubles (56). He had a slash line of .340/.403/.484 that year, helping him finished fourth for American League MVP on the year.
7. Willie Horton, Left Field (1963-1977)
Uniform Number 23 Retired by Detroit in 2000
Outfielder Willie Horton debuted with the Tigers in 1963 and remained with the team until 1977. In that time, Horton made four All-Star games and was in the top 10 of the AL MVP voting twice. He reached fourth for the AL MVP voting in 1968. That season, Horton finished with 36 homers and 20 doubles. The club also won the World Series that year. Horton had a 1.013 OPS in that World Series.
8. Alan Trammell, Shortstop (1977-1996)
Uniform Number Retired in 2018
Hall of Fame Inductee in 2018
Yet another player on the list to spend his whole big league career with the Tigers is Alan Trammell. The shortstop played in 20 seasons with Detroit, logging six All-Star appearances, four Gold Glove awards and three Silver Slugger awards. The closest Trammell got to a regular season MVP was in 1984 when he finished in ninth for AL MVP. He went on to win World Series MVP that year when he helped the Tigers win the 1984 Fall Classic.
9. Bill Freehan, Catcher (1961, 1963-1976)
Bill Freehan made 11 All-Star games in his 15 year career. He made 10 in-a-row from 1964-1973. Freehan also won five Gold Glove awards. They came in consecutive years from 1965-1969. Freehan was the runner-up for AL MVP in 1968. That year, Freehan slashed .263/.366/.454 with 25 long balls and 24 doubles. The club went on to win the World Series that season.
Starting Pitcher- Justin Verlander (2005-2017)
In the 13 seasons Justin Verlander pitched with Detroit, he won a Rookie of the Year award, a Cy Young and a MVP. He was AL MVP in 2011 when he pitched 251 innings and posted a 2.40 ERA. Those numbers helped his career totals with the Tigers. They include 2,511 innings pitched, a 3.49 ERA and 2,373 strikeouts. Verlander also pitched 23 complete games in his time with Detroit.
Closing Pitcher- John Hiller, (1965-1970, 1972-1980)
John Hiller played his entire career with Detroit, spending 15 seasons as a pitcher in the big leagues. He only pitched a combined eight innings his first two years. A few seasons later he pitched 128 innings, recording a 2.39 ERA with 78 strikeouts. Then in 1973 he pitched one of the best seasons of his career. He pitched in 65 games, finishing 60 of them. Hiller finished in fourth for both AL MVP and AL Cy Young that season.
Feature Image Courtesy of Zimbio