Editor’s note: The Major League Baseball season has started, but the sports staff is going to continue to remember the 1984 season within our publication. Enjoy.
The All-Star Game used to be one of the pinnacles to any Major League Baseball season.
In 1984, six Tigers were among the American League playing roster. Second baseman Lou Whitaker, catcher Lance Parrish and centerfielder Chet Lemon were voted as starters to the team, meaning Detroit had one-third of the starting positions. Meanwhile, shortstop Alan Trammell, pitchers Jack Morris and Willie Hernandez were also added to the roster. Some had solid outings. Whitaker provided two hits while Lemon had one. Morris also pitched two innings of shutout ball.
However, the Tigers entered the mid-season break with questions. The starting rotation had struggled and now Trammell was having arm problems. A stint on the disabled list looked possible. The Tigers looked beatable.
But those concerns quickly faded as the Tigers were almost as hot during their first games after the All-Star break as they were when the season began. The Tigers lost their first game after the break, posting a 4-2 road defeat against the Twins, but they quickly bounced back to win the next three games in extra innings. On July 13, Kirk Gibson forced extra innings when he gunned down the Twins’ Tim Tufel out at the plate with the potential game-winning run. Then in the top of the 11th inning, Tom Brookens hit a two-run triple, setting up the 5-3 win. A day later Dave Bergman hit a solo home run, setting up extra innings. A Lemon RBI-single and a Bergman sacrifice fly in the 12th sparked the 6-5 victory. In those two wins the bullpen was amazing with Willie Hernandez, Aurelio Lopez and Doug Bair tossing a combined nine innings of one-run ball, enabling the bats to eventually win the contests.
In the final game at Minnesota the Tigers (60-28) got 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief from Lopez, sparking the 6-2 win.
The Tigers returned home on July 16 for a seven-game homestand with the first three being against the Chicago White Sox. Glenn Abbott tossed a complete-game five-hitter and Detroit won the opener 7-1. Gibson drove in three runs with a home run and a triple. The next night, Darrell Evans sparked a three-run first inning, hitting a two-run home run. That’s all the runs starting pitcher Dan Petry needed as he tossed 7 2/3 innings of five-hit ball, earning the win. Hernandez eaned the save by pitching the final 1 1/3 innings. Detroit lost the next game, 10-6, but still ended up winning the series.
Texas was next, playing four against Detroit at Tiger Stadium. It ended up a four-game Tigers’ sweep. Parrish and Gibson hit home runs and Ruppert Jones had four hits in the 9-2 first-game victory. In the second game, Dave Rozema pitched eight innings of one-run ball, leading Detroit to a 3-1 victory. Barbaro Garbey hit a two-run home run in the contest.
In the third game, the Tigers used a five-run fifth inning to earn a tight 7-6 win against the Rangers. Lemon hit a two-run double while Howard Johnson provided a two-run single.
In the final game, Petry pitched 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball, and Hernandez got the final out for the save in a 2-0 Tigers’ win. Bergman hit a solo home run in the first inning to provide the game-winning RBI.
The Tigers had accomplished all of this with Trammell on the disabled list. The Tigers were 66-29 and now nine games ahead of the second-place Blue Jays who were playing some pretty solid ball of their own. The Tigers were looking unbeatable once again