It’s Friday, which means the second installment of the History of the Tigers series. Today we are highlighting the years 1911-1920. Make sure you go to my Facebook Page here and follow my Twitter @BenNykanen here. I hope you enjoy Part 2 as much as Part 1!
The period from 1911-1920 was the period of the largest percentage of population growth in the history of Detroit. The city’s population grew from 465,766 residents in 1910 to 993,678 in 1920. This growth was due to the explosion of the automotive industry, and the migration of factory workers from the southern United States to urban areas in the north, including Detroit. Even with the great population growth, the city’s population remained almost entirely white. The Tigers, of course, were also entirely white. Baseball was nowhere near integration. In fact, the Negro Leagues were still mainly “barnstorming” teams. An organized Negro Leagues would not start until the next decade.
Unfortunately, this period of growth for the city of Detroit was not matched by success for the City’s only professional sports team, the Tigers. In 1911, the Tigers missed the World Series by 12 games but still had a record of 89-65, and Ty Cobb continued his fantastic career by hitting .420, just two points shy of the American League record set by Nap Lajoie 10 years earlier. In 1912, the Tigers moved into a new stadium that was then called Navin Field, and they had a very bad season, finishing with a record of 69-84 and finishing 6th in the American League. The highlight of that season was when all of the players went on strike after Cobb was suspended for punching a fan in New York. The game was played by the Tigers with all sandlot players, and they lost 24-2.
In 1913, the Tigers had another disappointing season, going 66-87, good for just 6th in the American League again. The Tigers bounced back in 1914, winning 80 games, but that was still only good enough for 4th in the American League. But 1915 was the year when they recovered and showed their greatness again. The Tigers won 100 games, but manager Hughie Jennings remembered that season as “the biggest disappointment of his career” because of the Red Sox, led by Babe Ruth, who won the pennant with 101 wins. In 1916, the Tigers continued their winning ways with 87 wins, but the Red Sox claimed their second straight pennant.
1917 was a year where the Tigers were average, but not good enough to win the pennant because they were not good enough to finish first. In 1918, the Tigers went back to losing, going just 55-71 and finishing just 7th in the AL. 1919 was the Tigers final winning season in the decade, going 80-60, good enough for 4th in the Al. In their final season in this part, the Tigers had a horrible season with a record of 61-93, once again 7th in the AL.
I hope you enjoyed the second part of this History of the Tigers series. If you did, please share this article on social media or with your friends.
Sources: http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/history/timeline.jsp, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit