Tigers All-Time Team v.2012

Today, we're taking a look at the Tigers All-Time team, version 2012.

Last year's inaugural team can be seen here.

I would consider the Tigers All-Time team a very strong team compared to other All-Time franchise teams.  It lacks strength atop its rotation but it includes several "greatest of all-time" type players, including Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline (I would rank all of those guys among the top 10 at their respective positions).

In addition to our normal review process - reviewing active players and checking for omissions based on reader comments and internal due diligence - we had to add an infielder and two starting pitchers to last year's squad as part of our roster re-vamping.

We identified two active players worthy of consideration; Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander both made this year's team at third base and starting pitcher, respectively. 

Admittedly, Cabrera at third base is a bit of a stretch, as he has only played there one season, but we felt that he was a worthy replacement for George Kell and adding Miggy allowed us to find a spot for 19 year Tiger veteran, Lou Whittaker; we slid Sweet Lou onto this team as our extra infielder. 

We could have went with Norm Cash as the extra infielder and it was close (Stormin' Norman's career adjusted OPS of 139 tells you the type of hitter he was) but we felt that Whittaker was the better choice.

With regards to starting pitching, we considered five names for the two spots in the rotation - Justin Verlander, Dizzy Trout, Dennis McLain, Mickey Lolich and Tommy Bridges.  You can see the chart below and make your own determination; needless to say, this was a tough decision.  With only two spots to fill, we knew that we were going to be leaving someone off.  Lolich led the bunch in terms of wins, shutouts and strikeouts.  Bridges compiled the most WAR, threw the most complete games and earned the most all-star appearances.  McLain was a two-time Cy winner, a league MVP and a thirty game winner.  Verlander has a Cy, A ROY and an MVP and the highest win percentage.  Trout appeared on four MVP ballots... like I said, this wasn't easy.  We went with Verlander and Lolich and as always, we invite you to tell us what you think.

C - Bill Freehan
1B - Hank Greenberg
2B - Charlie Gehringer
SS - Alan Trammell
3B - Miguel Cabrera
IF - Lou Whittaker
OF - Ty Cobb
OF - Al Kaline
OF - Harry Heilman
OF - Sam Crawford
SP - Hal Newhouser
SP - Jack Morris
SP - Mickey Lolich
SP - Justin Verlander
RP - Willie Hernandez


  1. A case was made via Twitter to consider John Hiller at reliever... we're taking a look at it.

  2. Replace IF with DH and add Norm Cash. I know people like Lou but...

  3. My question is why Jim Bunning not even considered with the pitchers? Even though he is in the HOF with a Phillies cap on, he was with Detroit for 9 years (as opposed to 6 with Philadelphia) which, consequently, lead to him pitching in more games and more innings with the Tigers. Yes, you could argue his best individual seasons were with the Phillies, but he still had many remarkable ones with the Tigers, including his only 20 win season in 1957 (and yes, I am aware that wins have become and antiquated stat, but his other numbers were very good as well).

  4. Thanks for commenting, Charley. I tried to reply earlier on my phone and it crapped out and I never got to this... here's the explanation. For these all-franchise teams, we're trying to come up with the players that best represent a particular franchise - we isolate stats with that particular franchise and focus on things that stand out. Bunning, who had a Hall of Fame career, is certainly better than some of the names on this team in terms of talent and we did consider him but he didn't get mentioned because I don't think there's enough there as a Tiger to really consider him for this team. The problem is that you don't immediately associate the Tigers with Jim Bunning (or Bunning with the Tigers, for that matter). Fair or not, that's the assessment. Further, if you isolate his stats as a Tiger (in comparison to that group above), he would rank second to last in wins, second to last in WAR total and among the bottom in the other categories we looked at. He DID have more All-Star appearances than all but two of those guys we looked at but he didn't have any hardware and no postseason appearances. Make no mistake, this was probably one of the toughest decisions we have had to make and it will be something we look at again next year. Greatly appreciate your comment and thanks for checking in.

  5. Bridges and Trout over Morris and Verlander for me.


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