This Week in History: Gordie signs, ’84 pennant, Miggy’s Triple Crown


Prince Fielder leaps into the arms of teammate Don Kelly after Kelly’s sacrifice fly scored the winning run in the 12th inning of Game Two of the 2012 American League Division Series on October 7.

This week (October 3-9) in Detroit sports history.

October 3
On October 3, 2012, Miguel Cabrera leaves the final game of the season early in Kansas City and receives a standing ovation from the crowd as they acknowledge him winning the triple crown. Cabrera finishes at .330 with 44 homers and 139 runs batted in to win the first triple crown since 1967 when Carl Yastrzemski did it. It’s Miggy’s second straight batting title and he is named American League Most Valuable Player in November.

On October 3, 2005, the Tigers introduce Jim Leyland as their new manager. Leyland, who came up through the Detroit organization as a player and minor league manager, replaces the fired Alan Trammell. The Tigers will win the pennant in Leyland’s first season.

On October 3, 1997, Gordie Howe returns at the age of 69 to play a shift for the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League. In so doing, Howe plays professional hockey in his sixth decade.

On October 3, 1990, Cecil Fielder becomes the 11th player to hit 50 homers in a season. The big Tiger slugger belts two homers against New York in Yankee Stadium, as Detroit wins 10-3 in the final game of the season.

On October 3, 1987, Alan Trammell singles in Jim Walewander with the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning to move the Tigers one game ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. The next day Detroit will clinch the division crown.

On October 3, 1981, the Tigers lose a heartbreaking game to the Brewers in Milwaukee on the next to the last day of the season, 2-1. As a result, the Tigers are eliminated from contention and Milwaukee clinches the second-half title in the AL East. The Tigers rode a nine-game winning streak in August and the hot-hitting of Kirk Gibson to contend for the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons.

On October 3, 1972, the Tigers clinch the AL East with a 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox. Woodie Fryman defeats Luis Tiant and Al Kaline delivers the game-winning hit.

On October 3, 1915, Ty Cobb steals third and scores on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to provide the winning margin in Detroit’s 6-5 win on the final day of the season. The victory is the 100th for the second-place Tigers, the first time the team has won that many in a season.

On October 3, 1907, the Tigers defeat the Browns 6-0 at Navin Field for the tenth consecutive victory. The win increases Detroit’s lead in the standings to 1 ½ games with three games left on the schedule. Four of the ten wins come off the arm of Ed Summers, who tosses complete games in each victory. The Tigers clinch the flag on the final day of the season.

October 4
On October 4, 1987, lefty Frank Tanana twirls a masterful 1-0 gem over the Toronto Blue Jays on the final day of the season to clinch the AL East title for Detroit. Larry Herndon’s homer is the only run of the contest. It’s the third straight one-run victory of the weekend for the Tigers against the Jays.

On October 4, 1925, Harry Heilmann collects six hits in a season-ending doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns to edge Tris Speaker for the American League batting title. Heilmann finishes at .393 to Speakers’ .389 mark to win his third batting crown. Over the last 21 games of the season, Heilmann hits a blistering .554 with 32 RBI to improve his average by nearly 30 points.

October 5
On October 5, 2006, in Game Two of their American League Division Series, the Tigers beat the Yankees 4-3. The winning run scores on a triple off the bat of Curtis Granderson in the 7th inning.

On October 5, 1984, the Tigers win their first American League pennant in 16 years, defeating the Kansas City Royals, 1-0 in a pitching duel. Detroit starter Milt Wilcox surrenders just two hits over eight innings and closer Willie Hernandez pitches the ninth for the save. The winning run scores on a fielder’s choice groundball off the bat of Marty Castillo.

On October 5, 1981, the Detroit Tigers release pitcher Mark Fidrych. Fidrych suffered another sore arm in spring training and spent time on the disabled list before spending the entire year with Evansville in the minor leagues, winning six games and posting a 5.75 ERA. The former Rookie of the Year will sign a minor league deal with Boston but will never again pitch in the major leagues.

On October 5, 1907, with a 10-2 victory over the St. Louis Browns, the Tigers clinch their first American League pennant. The win is Detroit’s fifth straight and 10th in their last 11 games played, as the Tigers roared past the Athletics to win the flag. Ty Cobb, on his way to his first batting title, hits a triple and a homer in the win.

October 6
On October 6, 2011, the Tigers defeat the Yankees 3-2 to eliminate New York in Game Five of their first round playoff series. Delmon Young’s home run in the bottom of the 7th inning is the game winner. Relievers Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde pitch the last 2 ⅓ innings to preserve the win.

On October 6, 2006, behind Kenny Rogers, the Tigers defeat the Yankees 6-0 to take a 2 games to 1 lead in their playoff series. Rogers stymies the Yanks over 7 ⅓ innings in the first playoff game played in Comerica Park.

The Detroit Lions play their first game in the Pontiac Silverdome on October 6, 1975. They lose to the Dallas Cowboys, 36-10, as 79,384 fans attend the game.

On October 6, 1908, the Tigers beat the White Sox 7-0 in Chicago to win their second consecutive American League pennant on the final day of the season. The Tigers beat White Sox ace Doc White, who was pitching on two days rest, behind Wild Bill Donovan, who tosses his sixth shutout of the season.

October 7
On October 7, 2012, Don Kelly hits a sacrifice fly to right field to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game Two of the AL Division Series against the Oakland A’s at Comerica Park. With the dramatic 5-4 win, Detroit takes a convincing two games to none lead in the series.

On October 7, 2006, the Tigers defeat the Yankees 8-3 in Game Four of the AL Division Series to advance to the Championship Series. Jeremy Bonderman retires the first 15 Yankees he faces and allows just five hits in 8 ⅓ innings of work. Magglio Ordonez and Craig Monroe hit homers in the win.

On October 7, 1968, in Game Five of the World Series, Willie Horton throws out Cardinals’ speedster Lou Brock at the plate in the fifth inning, keeping the Tigers one run back in the critical game. Detroit will go on to win the game 5-3 and eventually win the Series in seven games.

On October 7, 1961, both Alex Delvecchio and Gordie Howe score goals in the All-Star Game as the NHL All-Stars defeat Chicago, 3-1 in the 15th annual exhibition.

On October 7, 1923, Harry Heilmann walks in his second at-bat and leaves the Tigers’ final game of the season after going 0-for-1, with his batting average at .403. He becomes the second Tiger to hit .400, joining his manager Ty Cobb in the exclusive circle of batters. Heilmann’s mark wins him his second American League batting title.

October 8
On October 8, 1972, Oakland shortstop Bert Campaneris throws his bat at Detroit pitcher Lerrin LaGrow after he is nearly hit by a pitch in Game Two of the League Championship Series. Both benches emptied and Tiger manager Billy Martin had to be restrained as he tried to fight Campaneris. The Tigers lose the game and the series in five games.

On October 8, 1946, Gordie Howe signs an NHL contract with Detroit after spending two seasons with the top junior teams. Howe, just 18 years old when he signs, will spend the next 25 years as a member of the Red Wings.

On October 8, 1907, in the first World Series game ever played by Detroit, the Tigers play a 12-inning tie against the Cubs at Chicago’s West Side Grounds. Wild Bill Donovan pitches all 12 innings for Detroit, and 20-year old Ty Cobb goes 0-for-5 in the first of his 17 World Series contests. Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Tiger catcher Boss Schmidt lets a ball skip past him for a passed ball on strike three. The miscue allows the tying run to score from third base and denies Detroit a victory.

October 9
On October 9, 2002, Alan Trammell is named manager of the Detroit Tigers. Having spent 20 years as a player for the club from 1977 to 1996, Trammell is one of the most popular figures in franchise history. He replaces interim manager Luis Pujols.

On October 9, 1996, the Red Wings obtain defenseman Brendan Shanahan from the Whalers in a deal that sends Paul Coffey to Hartford. Shanahan will anchor the Detroit defensive unit for nine seasons, making five All-Star Games and helping the team to three Stanley Cup titles.

On October 9, 1968, the Tigers score 10 runs in the third inning of Game Six of the World Series, on their way to a 13-1 victory. Jim Northrup hits his fifth grand slam of the year in the frame, giving Denny McLain the support he needs to win on two days rest and tie the series at three games each.

On October 9, 1909, in the third inning of Game Two of the World Series, Ty Cobb steals home against the stunned Pirates. The Tigers win the game, 7-2, knotting the series at a game each.