I have been a fan of the Detroit Tigers since the Summer of 1984. That means I am lucky enough to vividly remember my baseball team winning a World Series title, and waiting for them to win another. Since every year the team itself asks me who my Tiger is I decided to write about my favorite 25 Tigers since I became a fan…at eight years old…This has less to do with performance as it does with whatever intangible qualities Tigers’ players have…I mean this is the town that loved Brandon Inge and Don Kelly…and no neither one of those players will make my list…With all of that being said…
#7 Starting Pitcher Jack Morris
It feels like maybe Jack Morris, the ace of the 1980’s Detroit Tigers pitching staff, should be higher on the list. The winningest pitcher of the 1980’s, the ace of the World Series winning 1984 squad, and the surly man who isn’t going to the Hall of Fame in no small part due to his attitude with the sports media.
All of that is true and yet it feels like his biggest moments came after he left Detroit. Who can forget the ten innings he threw in the 1991 World Series for the Minnesota Twins…he was the MVP of that World Series and it has always been my argument that a player should win a MVP, Cy Young, or World Series MVP to be considered for the Hall of Fame. Of course his 3.90 career ERA keeps him out…all those years playing in Tiger Stadium really hurt him stats wise.
For the Tigers he is fifth all time in career wins with 198. Ninth in games played with 430, fourth in innings pitched, second (for now as Justin Verlander should pass him in 2016) in strikeouts, second to Mickey Lolitch in games started, and eighth in both complete games and shutouts. I mention these stats because it is a crime that Morris has not had his number retired.
At the time of this writing the only one member of the 1984 World Series Champion Detroit Tigers has had their number retired is Manager Sparky Anderson and even that was done posthumously. Why the current Tigers owner refuses to give this team its due is almost as infuriating as the fact that not one player for a team that went 104-58 and win their division by 15 games is in the Hall of Fame (not to mention other achievements in the 1980’s). I guess not winning another title really hurt a core group of Tigers that were pretty dominate over an entire decade.
I was never that big of a Jack Morris guy. I was still pretty young when he was very dominate and my fandom always seemed to land with one of the other starters be that Frank Tanana, Doyle Alexander, or Dan Petry but those are due to more personal memories than anything else.
Jack was the man, and he has the stats to back that up…but in terms of most beloved Tigers of all time I don’t think he would rate very high…not that that should really mater so much…this is the team Ty Cobb played for after all.