Monday, January 25, 2010

#173 Detroit Tigers Team

#173 Detroit Tigers Team
The Tigers had a fair season in 1964, winning 85 and losing 77, but that was only good enough for fourth place in the American League, a distant 14 games behind the Yankees and a dozen back of the third-place Orioles. A 19-28 start buried the Bengals early; although the club went 66-49 after that low point on June 7, they had too much ground to cover. Manager Chuck Dressen's charges scored 699 runs and allowed 678. The Detroit fans were not exactly inspired by the team's near-.500 play, ranking sixth in the ten-team league with a total attendance of 816,139.

Detroit was a middle-of-the-road offense, ranking third in runs and OPS (.714) but seventh in doubles (199) and home runs (157). No player hit more home runs than shortstop Dick McAuliffe's 24. First baseman Norm Cash (23 HR) and utility player Don Demeter (22) were close behind. Cash paced the club with 83 RBI. The three Tiger All-Stars were catcher Bill Freehan (.300, 18 HR, 80 RBI), second baseman Jerry Lumpe (.256...second base must've been a weak offensive position in the A.L.), and right fielder Al Kaline (.293, 31 2B, 17 HR, 68 RBI).

The pitching wasn't much to write home about overall, as the Motor City Kitties ranked no higher than fifth in any statistical category; that includes a 3.84 team ERA that placed seventh out of ten A.L. teams. The staff was carried by the righty-lefty tandem of Dave Wickersham (19-12, 3.44 ERA, 11 CG) and Mickey Lolich (18-9, 3.26 ERA, 12 CG). Fred Gladding was the best among the relievers with a 3.07 ERA, seven wins, and seven saves.

While the Tigers stumbled in 1964, they did have plenty of talent. The promise of players like Freehan, Cash, McAuliffe, Kaline, Willie Horton, and Lolich would finally pay dividends in 1968, when the club stormed over the American League with 103 wins en route to a seven-game World Series victory over the defending champion Cardinals. Detroit made the most out of their sole Fall Classic appearance between 1946 and 1983!
#173 Detroit Tigers Team (back)

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