The Tiger hitters line up for a photo on Opening Day; April 17, 1951. Hall of Famer Bob Lemon out-pitched Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser, as the Indians beat the Tigers 2-1. The game only lasted two hours and 16 minutes. Amazingly, the game was nowhere close to a sellout; only 43,470 were in attendance. The Tigers jackets that the hitters are wearing are so cool! Check out the old wooden stadium seats above the dugout as well.
Let's continue with the Opening Day theme:
The Tigers opened on the road in 1984. By the time they arrived home for their Opening Day, they were 5-0 and Jack Morris had already thrown a no hitter.
Tiger fans saw their boys beat the Rangers 5-1 on Opening Day. They would go on to win the first 9 games of the year, the first 35 of 40, and win the World Series. Were you at opening day in 1984?
Ernie Harwell used to open every Opening Day broadcast with this quote from the Bible
"...For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land..." Song of Solomon 2:11-12
There's a new Jim Bunning page posted, featuring autographs on his Tigers era cards. Check them out here.
It looks like Cabrera will finish his career with the Tigers. Cabrera is an amazing hitter. If you watch the Tigers daily, you'll see that he's special. He just hits...he always hits. He consistently gets the runners in from 2nd and 3rd base. He's a triple crown winner, MVP, and has a chance to be one of the greatest players in the history of baseball.
The obvious question is: can he stay healthy? Cabrera's body broke down at the end of last year. Weight has always been a concern. He's 30 now. How healthy will he be a 37? Getting him back to playing first base will help.
The Tigers have two of the biggest names in baseball locked up in long term contracts - Verlander and Cabrera. The time to win it all is now.
Rusty Kuntz was with the Tigers for a short time - 84 games in 1984 and only 5 games in 1985 - but he had great timing. He won a World Championship with the Tigers, and is the answer to one of the best trivia questions from the 1984 season: Who hit the game winning RBI in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series; the final game that made the Tigers World Champs?
Most people answer Kirk Gibson because of his famous homer later in the game (see my post from March 18, 2014 for more details on that homer) but it was actually Rusty Kuntz's pop fly sacrifice to 2nd base in the 5th inning that scored the go ahead and winning run.
Mr. Kuntz signed this card for me via the Kansas City Royals spring training camp in Arizona. He is currently the Royals' first base coach.
Had to add the graded card to the Rainbow / type run. I'm now up to 16 different versions of this card. You can see them all here.
Castellanos has had a good spring. It will be fun to watch how he does during his first full year in the majors.
Below are some various pictures that I took during spring training of Castellanos.
It's funny how things sometimes work in autograph collecting. My 1968 Tigers team had been stalled for over a year, and then I get two cards done in a week (see the other card on my 3/20 posting). This card came via ebay, signed by Jim Lonborg, Earl Wilson, and Dean Chance. Wilson passed away suddenly in 2005 of a heart attack. His 1968 autographed cards are always in demand.
Max had a career year in 2013, going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He was the ace of the staff, with Verlander having a down year. 2014 is the final year of his contract and he has recently cut off negotiations with the Tigers until the new season ends. Can Scherzer come close to repeating what he did in 2013? Will Max be traded in 2014? Will the Tigers get a deal done? Stay tuned as this will be a big story all year long.
Here is Scherzer's newest Topps card for 2014, already graded a PSA 10. You can see my Topps Type Set run here.
With Jose Iglesias lost for the year, the Tigers are in trouble at shortstop. There was even talk of pulling first base coach Omar Vizquel out of retirement. So Dave Dombrowski made a move. He traded pitcher Jose Alvarez to the Angels for infielder Andrew Romine. Romine made his Tigers debut in Lakeland yesterday, wearing number 27. This shot was taken as he was waiting on deck.
Topps certainly has figured out how to string player collectors along. This is the one of one blank back of Nick Castellanos that I recently picked up. Now the Opening Day cards have been released, which are identical to the regular Topps issue, except for the "Opening Day" logo and date. As I complain, I'm also planning on picking up all of the Castellanos from that set as well; it's been a fun diversion this spring as I hardly ever buy new cards, except for
the purposes of obtaining autographs. This is my 15th different 2014 Topps # 195 Castellanos, and it's still only
We had great seats for yesterday's spring training game against the Braves at Disney, allowing me to get some good photos. Miguel Cabrera took a moment to catch up with former Tigers catcher Gerald Laird before his first at bat. Laird was with the Tigers in 2009, 2010 and again in 2012. Less then a minute later, Miggy wasn't very happy, as he had to lean back from a pitch at chin level.
I stumbled across this picture of Cabrera and Laird from Game 2 of 2012 World Series. They were hoping a bunt by Gregor Blanco of the Giants would go foul. It didn't...
The T206 set, also known as "The Monster", is now over 100 years old. Collecting the card backs is becoming extremely popular, most likely because completing the 500+ card set is so cost prohibitive. I'm working on getting all 30 Tigers that are in the set with 30 different backs - no easy challenge in itself - especially considering there are four different Cobbs in the set. You can check out my progress here. If you have a card I need, please contact me.
So, there's this guy that drives Detroit Tiger autograph collectors crazy. He appears as a 1968 Topps Tiger, but he didn't play one inning for the Tigers in in their World Championship year. None the less, he is on many collectors want lists because he hasn't signed through the mail in years. When he does the occasional private signing, his prices far exceed what a player of his background would normally command.
Marshall pitched a total of 14 seasons in the majors. He was a rookie in Detroit in 1967, appearing in 37 games. He spent all of 1968 in AAA Toledo, with a 15-9 record and a 2.94 ERA. He was then selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft, and that was the end of Marshall's relationship with the Tigers. Mike Marshall went on to win the Cy Young Award in 1974 and set a major league record the same year with 106 relief appearances.
While still pitching, he earned a Ph.D Kinesiology; which is why he signs his autographs as "Dr. Mike Marshall". Because of his 1968 Topps card, and for being an original Seattle Pilot, his autograph is in demand with collectors. It's a classic case of supply and demand. He rarely signs, so his prices are high. People like me pay those prices because we have a sickness and need to complete our sets!
Everything you wanted to know about how Kaline's Corner got its name can be found here.
Thoughts and findings of a lifetime Detroit Tigers fan and collector