1941 Dick Wakefield becomes baseball’s first “bonus baby” when he signs with the Tigers for $52,000 and a new car. The University of Michigan standout will hit .143 in seven at-bats this season but he will eventually turn into a solid outfielder and All-Star for a couple seasons.
1939 For the first time in his career, Charlie Gehringer of the Detroit Tigers hits for the cycle, in a 12 – 5 win against the St. Louis Browns. Gehringer becomes the first player in MLB to hit for a “natural” cycle, that is, in order: single, double, triple, home run.
Dizzy Dean wins the opening game of the World Series, 8 – 3. Detroit Tigers manager Mickey Cochrane holds back his ace pitcher, Schoolboy Rowe, and the Cardinals’ Joe Medwick goes 4 for 4, including a home run.
Detroit Tigers future Hall of Fame OF Sam Crawford retires from MLB at 37. In addition to his career-record 312 three-base hits, he has hit 50 inside-the-park home runs. He will play in the Pacific Coast League for several more years.
Hank Greenberg makes his last MLB game before entering the U.S. military a memorable one as he hits two home runs with three RBI helping the Detroit Tigers to a 7 – 4 victory over the New York Yankees.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Schoolboy Rowe is sent up to pinch hit with the bases loaded in the 6th inning and cracks a grand slam off the Boston Braves’ Al Javery to break a tie. The Phillies win, 6 – 5, but it takes them 12 innings. For Rowe, it is his second career grand slam. He hit one in 1939 while with…
1987 New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly wins his $1.975 million arbitration case, breaking the record for the largest amount ever awarded to a player. The record was set by the Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris just four days prior.
The Detroit Tigers sell All-Star first baseman Hank Greenberg to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1946, Greenberg led the American League with 44 home runs and 127 RBI, but will slump to 25 home runs and 74 RBI with the Pirates and will retire after the season. Greenberg is elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956.
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander is the unanimous winner of the 2011 AL Cy Young Award. Verlander won the Pitching Triple Crown by leading the AL in wins with a 24-5 record, in ERA at 2.40 and in strikeouts with 250. He threw his second career no-hitter on May 7th.