The All-Time Detroit Tigers (a draft book chapter)
Who would be selected for a mythical All-Time Tigers dream team roster? Who would be the starters and who the backups? Who gets snubbed, not quite good enough to make the squad? And how have other authors, as well as fan surveys and the like, answered this fun question throughout the years?
This is the latest of my Seamheads postingsÂ that summarize draft book chapters in my forthcoming book on baseball “All-Time Teams” (book title TBD.) As I update/write each chapter, I will post an abstract here, with a link to the full draft chapter as a PDF file hosted at my personal website. I am doing this in part to get comments and feedback as I continue the writing process. To read the entire draft chapter for the Tigers, please see theÂ index web page and see the PDF for the Tigers chapter. Also, I encourage you to read the draft of the book introduction as well, which explains a few ground rules for this project (e.g., that I am not separatingÂ OF positions into RF, CF, LF, and that I am only counting the time players played for that particular franchise, not their time played for other teams).
As you will see, the All-Time Tigers team is full of great hitters, with 3B being the only position of relative weakness. Their pitching staff, relative to other All-Time teams is not particularly strong, but even there they have had their share of strong individual seasons to be sure.
I will now list my selections for starter and backup at each position, including six outfielders (without separation by RF/CF/LF), and also including 10 pitchers (any combination of up to 8 starters and up to 4 relievers). For my write-ups on why I chose each player, and for the many other players I considered at each position, see the full draft chapter for this team.
- 1B: Hank Greenberg, Norm Cash
- 2B: Charlie Gehringer, Lou Whitaker
- 3B: George Kell, Travis Fryman
- SS: Alan Trammell, Harvey Kuenn
- C: Bill Freehan, Lance Parrish
- OF: Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Bobby Veach, Willie Horton
- SP: Hal Newhouser, Mickey Lolich, Jack Morris, George Mullin, Dizzy Trout, Tommy Bridges, Hooks Dauss, Denny McLain
- RP: John Hiller, Willie Hernandez
There were some tough decisions, and lots of good players who didn’t make this roster, so see the full draft chapter for details. And for each team I am picking one “extra” player, the one who I felt was most deserving amongst those who were not selected as a starter, backup, or amongst the ten pitchers. Who do you think it should be for the Tigers?
So assuming no DH, one reasonable starting lineup might be:
1. Ty Cobb OF
2. Sam Crawford OF
3. Al Kaline OF
4. Hank Greenberg 1B
5. Charlie Gehringer 2B
6. Alan Trammell SS
7. George Kell 3B
8. Bill Freehan C
9. Hal Newhouser SP
In the full draft chapter I then discuss the selections from other authors and fan surveys, including:
- 1957: Sport magazine, December issue
- 1969 The Sporting News Fan Poll
- 1990: The Baseball Research Journal
- 1992 The All-Time All-Star Baseball Book, Nick Acocella, and Donald Dewey
- 1995 Baseball Ratings by Charles S. Faber
- 2000 They Earned Their Stripes: The Detroit Tigers All-Time Team
- 2003 Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups by Rob Neyer
- 2006 The Team By Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, by Dennis Purdy
- 2010 Few and Chosen: Defining Tigers Greatness Across the Eras, by Lance Parrish with Phil Pepe
Do you know of any books or fan surveys that I’ve missed here? Please let me know in the comments to this posting.
Finally, as part of this project I am determining the all-time team that would be determined by Bill James’ innovativeÂ Win Shares system. To see those results, see the full draft chapter for this team.
Again, your comments and feedback on the draft chapter are very much appreciated, as I hope to get the book published in the next year or so.