Frank Navin did it. So did Walter O.Briggs, John Fetzer, and Tom Monaghan. In fact, you’d have to go back over 100 years to find an owner of the Detroit Tigers who did not win a World Series championship. Perhaps that’s why current Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, 80, is pulling out all the stops in pursuit of a ring.
The Detroit Tigers have only had nine primary owners since their inception in 1894. The Tigers (also known as The Creams) were a minor league team from 1894 through 1900 so those years don’t really count as far as the World Series is concerned. Another factor is that the World Series didn’t start until 1903.
So in reality, Ilitch is one of only three eligible Tigers owners to not win it all. You’d have to go back to 1907 to the days of owner William Yawkey to cite a Tigers owner who hasn’t won a World Series.
If there is one characteristic Mr. Ilitch has demonstrated as a professional team owner, it is a burning desire to win. That’s why it must be killing him that after 17 years at the helm he hasn’t been able to make it happen. In fact, under his ownership, the Tigers suffered their longest consecutive season losing streak and broke the American League single season loss record with 119 in 2003.
If he’s not successful, I believe Detroit Tigers fans realize it will not be from a lack of effort. But lately it seems like his overreaching and reckless spending have caused just as many problems as its solved. Here’s hoping that Mr. Ilitch goes down in Tigers history as the fifth consecutive owner to bring a World Series title to Detroit.