History of the Detroit Tigers: 1961-1970: Championship and Division Play Starts!

Detroit Tigers history

Welcome back to another post in this series about Detroit Tigers history. I know it has been a long time since I have posted in it, but I will be finishing the series this summer and then starting a new one on one of the other Detroit sports teams when this series is finished. But today we will be talking about the Tigers from the period of 1961-1970.

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1961-1962: Good Success

After the 1960 season, the Tigers decided to hire Bob Scheffing as their manager, and Rick Ferrell as their GM. In their first season, the Tigers won 101 games and finished just 8 games behind the Yankees. Norm Cash won the AL batting crown, as he hit .361 with 41 homers and 132 RBI. Frank Lary lead the pitching with a 23-9 record and a 3.24 ERA.

The next year, the Tigers once again had a good season, going 85-76, but they still only finished third in the AL. Al Kaline hit .304 with 29 home runs and 94 RBI, while Jim Bunning led the pitching with a 19-10 record and a 3.59 ERA.

1963-1965: Average Seasons

in 1963, after the Tigers started off winning just 24 of their first 60 games, the Tigers fired Bob Scheffing and hired Chuck Dresson on June 18. He led the team to a 79-83 record, despite coming in to manage a team 12 games under .500. Al Kaline hit .312 with 27 homers and 101 RBI, and Hank Aguirre was their best pitcher with a 14-15 record and a 3.67 ERA.

The next year, the Tigers were 85-77, as they finished 4th in the AL. Bob Scheffing joined Ernie Harwell in the radio booth of WKMH. Bill Freehan hit .300 with 18 homers and 80 RBI. And Dave Wickersham had a 19-12 record and 3.44 ERA.

In 1965, the Tigers finished 16 games over .500 despite changing managers throughout the year. During spring training, Chuck Dressen had problems with his heart, so Bob Swift had to step in until Dressen returned on May 31. Willie Horton hit .273 with 29 homers and 104 RBI. And Hank Aguirre was 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA.


In 1966, the Tigers won one less game than the previous year but still moved up to third in the AL. Chuck Dressen managed until May 16, but was sidelined with a heart attack and ended up dying in August. Bob Swift took over for the Tigers when Dressen was sidelined, and Swift was appearing to be doing a good job leading the team until he went to the hospital during all-star break and a test showed he had lung cancer. Unfortunately, he would die in October after the season. Frank Skaff took over for the team after Swift was sidelined.

Al Kaline lead the team in hitting with a .288 average,  29 homers and 88 RBI. And Denny McLain led the team in pitching with a 20-14 record and 3.92 ERA.

1967-1968 New Leader and Championship

After the 1966 season, Mayo Smith was hired as the new manager of the Tigers, He quickly led the team to a 91 win season, and they finished tied for 2nd in the AL. Al Kaline had a breakout year with a .308 average, 25 homers and 78 RBI. And Earl Wilson was a great pitcher with a 22-11 record and 3.27 ERA.

In 1968, the Tigers won the pennant, and eventually, beat the St Louis. Cardinals in a 7 game World Series. Mickey Lolich won the World Series MVP after pitching 3 complete games and winning all three. During the regular season, Willie Horton batted .285 with 36 home runs and 85 RBI. Denny McLain won the Cy Young and AL MVP after an amazing 31-6 record and 1.96 ERA.

1969-1970 Division Play

After the 1968 MLB season, the league decided that the AL and NL would each be split into 2 divisions, and the 2 teams that won their divisions in each league would play in a best of 5 league championship series. In the 1969 season, the Tigers won 90 games, but they still finished 19 games back of an amazing 109-53 Baltimore Orioles team. Jim Northrup led the team in hitting with a .295 average 25 home runs and 66 RBI. And Denny McLain once again led the team in pitching with a 24-9 record and 2.80 ERA. He won the AL Cy Young again.

In 1970, the Tigers went back to mediocrity with a 79-83 record, good for 4th in the 6 team AL East. Willie Horton hit 17 home runs and drove in 69 RBI while batting .305, and Les Cain was their best pitcher with 12-7 record and 3.84 ERA.

This wraps up another decade in Tigers history. Make sure you stay tuned for more posts in the History of the Tigers series.

History of the Tigers 4: 1931-1940. World Series Victory!

In today’s History of the Tigers, we will be looking at the years 1931-1940, when the Tigers finally broke through to win a World Series. Make sure that you check out my previous posts about the History of the Tigers here, follow my Twitter, and like my facebook page.


In 1931, the Tigers did not have a successful season, as they finished 32 games under .500, and they also were 47 games out of first place, in seventh place in the American League. Their best hitter statistically was John “Rocky” Stone, with an average of .327, 10 homers and 76 RBI’s. Their best pitcher was George Uhle, with a record of 11-12 and an ERA of 3.50. In 1932, the Tigers finished over .500 with a record of 76-75, but they were still 29.5 games behind the first place Yankees. Gee Walker hit very well, with an average of .323, 8 homers and 78 RBI’s. Tommy Bridges was their best pitcher, with a record of 14-12 and an ERA of 3.36. In 1933, the Tigers fired manager Bucky Harris during the season and made third base coach Del Baker interim manager for the remainder of the season. They finished 4 games under .500, and 25 games behind the Washington Senators. Charlie Gehringer was their best hitter, with an average of .325, 12 homers and 105 RBI’s. Tommy Bridges once again went 14-12 and had an ERA of 3.09.


In 1934, the Tigers hired a new manager, and they immediately saw that they had picked a great leader. Mickey Cochrane was a competitive manager who was also a great catcher. The Tiger won the American League, and they won 101 games. They also were broadcast on a second radio station for the first season. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost in the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games. Charlie Gehringer hit .356 with 11 homers and 127 RBI’s, and Schoolboy Rowe went 24-8 with an ERA of 3.45. In 1935, the Tigers broke through to win their first World Series ever. In the regular season, they won 93 games, and they beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, 4 games to 2. Hank Greenberg hit .328, belted 36 home runs and drove in 170 runs. Elden Auker had a record of 18-7 and a 3.83 ERA.


In 1936, Walter Briggs Sr. became the Detroit Tigers full owner. He had been a part owner of the Tigers since 1919, and in 1936 he became the sole owner. The Tigers finished 12 games over .500, but they were still 19.5 games out of first place. Charlie Gehringer hit .354 with 15 homers and 116 RBI’s. In pitching, Schoolboy Rowe had a 19-10 record and a 4.51 ERA. In 1937, the Tigers continued their run of winning seasons, as they won 89 games, but once again the Yankees beat them out in the American League. Charlie Gehringer once again had an amazing season, batting .371 with 14 homers and 96 RBI’s. Elden Auker was their best pitcher, with a 17-9 record and a 3.88 ERA. In the 1938 season, the Tigers won 84 games and lost 70, and Hank Greenberg competed for the single season home run record. He had 58 homers going into the final weekend, but he couldn’t hit enough to tie or beat Babe Ruth’s then-record of 60. He was the first player to win the American League MVP unanimously though. He hit .315 with 58 home runs and 146 RBI’s. In the pitching category, Tommy Bridges had a 13-9 record and an ERA of 4.59.


In the penultimate season of this decade, 1939, the Tigers once again had a record of 84-70 and were fourth in the AL. Hank Greenberg was their best hitter again, with a .312 average, 33 home runs and 112 RBI’s. Tommy Bridges was their best pitcher again, with a record of 17-7 and a 3.50 ERA. In the final season of this post’s coverage, the Tigers were the American League Champions with a record of 90-64, just 1 game ahead of the Cleveland Indians and 2 games ahead of the New York Yankees. Del Baker became their manager. However, they lost in the World Series 4 games to 3 to the Cincinnati Reds. Hank Greenberg hit .340 with 41 home runs and 150 RBI’s, and Bobo Newsome had a record of 21-5 and a 2.83 ERA.

Thank you for reading the  4th History of the Tigers post and make sure you stay tuned for the next one coming out next Friday.

History of the Tigers 3: 1921-1930

In today’s installment of History of the Tigers, we will be looking at the years 1921-1930. This decade was marked by average play by the Tigers, with no World Series appearances.  The Tigers’ hometown was more successful, however, as the population of the City of Detroit grew 58% from 1921-1930. Although not as large of an increase as the prior decade, Detroit was still a quickly growing city.

If you enjoy this post, you can read the first 2 History of the Tigers entries here.  Please check out my facebook page and follow my twitter. Thank you!


The Tigers finished in 6th place in 1921, 27 games behind the American League leaders Yankees, with a record of 71-82. Despite their record, they got 1724 hits and had a batting record of  .316 as a team, both American League records. Detroit outfielders Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann were first and second in the American League batting average race, with Heilmann hitting .394 and Cobb hitting .389. But the reason the Tigers struggled so much was because of their pitching. Their team ERA was 4.40, and they allowed 9 or more runs 28 times.


In 1922, the Tigers record was 79-75, and they finished 3rd in the American League, 15 games behind the Yankees. Ty Cobb hit .401, and Harry Heilmann hit 21 home runs, 18 behind American League leader Ken Williams. Their best pitcher was Herman Pillette, with a record of 19-12 and an ERA of 2.85. In 1923, the Tigers finished second in the American League, once again behind the Yankees. Their record was 83-71, and they were 16 games out of first place. Harry Heilmann hit .403 with 18 homers and 115 RBI’s, and Hooks Dauss had a record of 21-13 and a 3.62 ERA. In 1924, the Tigers got their next great player as Charlie Gehringer joined the club. The Tigers stayed in the race for the pennant until the last week of the season, and they were 6 games out of first. Their best batter was Harry Heilmann. He hit .346 with 10 homers and 114 RBI’s. In pitching, Rip Collins was the leader, with a record of 14-7 and a 2.96 ERA.


In 1925, the Tigers finished 8 games over .500, but they were 16 and a 1/2 games behind the Washington Senators. Harry Heilmann once again had a great season, hitting .393 with 13 home runs and 134 RBI’s. Hooks Dauss had another good season as well, going 16-11 with a 3.16 ERA. In 1926, the Tigers were on the radio for the first time. They were on WWJ, which was one of the first commercial radio stations in the United States. The Tigers did not perform better because of this radio coverage though, as they finished 6th in the AL, 12 games behind the Yankees. Henie Manush was the leader in batting, with an average of .378, 14 home runs and 86 RBI’s. In 1927, the Tigers lost an amazing player as Ty Cobb retired. He would later go on to sign with the Philidelphia Athletics in 1927. In the Tigers season, they finished in 4th place, 27.5 games back. Harry Heilmann hit .398 with 14 homers and 120 RBI’s. Earl Whitehill had a record of 16-14 and an ERA of 3.36. In 1928, the Tigers were all the way down to 6th place, 33 games behind the Yankees and 18 games under .500. Harry Heilmann hit .328 with 14 homers and 107 RBI’s. And Ownie Carroll had a record of 16-12 and an ERA of 3.27.


After two disappointing seasons with Ty Cobb’s replacement George Moriarty, the Tigers fired him and hired Bucky Harris, hoping for a more successful season. But the Tigers once again finished 6th with a record 70-84, 36 games out of first place. Bob Fothergill hit .354 with 6 homers and 62 RBI’s. George Uhle had a record of 15-11 with an ERA of 4.08. In the last season of the decade, the Tigers finished 5th and only 4 games under .500. They were 27 games behind the Athletics. Charlie Gehringer had a superior season, hitting .330 with 16 home runs and 98 RBI’s. George Uhle was one of only 7 pitchers with a winning record, but Vic Sorell was probably their best pitcher with a record of 16-11 and an ERA of 3.86.





The Best Everything – NHL Franchise

This edition of The Best Everything is NHL Franchises. I will have one honorable mention and then the best franchise.

Honorable Mention

Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup more times than any other franchise with 24 championships. They have played 99 seasons and have a playoff record of 420-303. They have an all-time record of 3339-2177.

Best Franchise

Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups. In their 90 seasons, they have 64 playoff appearances, including an NHL-high 25 straight appearances, and they have won 325 playoff games.