Sometimes things seem like they happened just yesterday. This seems like a lifetime ago.
Little did we know then how much lower the Tigers franchise would have to go before returning to competitiveness:
After opening their season with six straight losses, the Detroit Tigers fire manager Phil Garner and general manager Randy Smith. Coach Luis Pujols takes over the reins on an interim basis while team president Dave Dombrowski assumes the GM’s responsibilities.
I was living in Houston at the time and was listening to the Astros game at work. Milo Hamilton and Alan Ashby were reporting on a press conference taking place in Detroit. Hamilton said something like, “That probably is bad news for our pal Phil Garner.”
2009 – The Detroit Tigers surprisingly cut slugger Gary Sheffield, who is one home run shy of 500 for his career. Sheffield, a 9-time All-Star, is 25th on the all-time home run list and 27th in RBI (1,633). He only hit .178 in spring training, but went deep in 5 of 45 at-bats. He says he is not shocked, but is surprised. Marcus Thameswill replace Sheffield as Detroit’s starting DH.
This is right after Sparky came back from his leave of absence. Interesting, he makes no bones about the Tigers not developing young players — not since Kirk Gibson. Of course that’s why Sparky was saddled with such mediocre teams for his last seven years in Detroit.