[The twelfth in a series: I’m picking one player that I associate with a team (whether they spent the majority of their career there or not) that I would strongly consider adding to my official want lists. They may not always be superstars, or the most popular, and honestly they may not always be my favorite player from the team, but that’s what will make this fun, no?]
I know my National recap has begun, but that doesn’t mean I can’t throw a little variety into the blog posts.
The Cubs are entering a quick two-game set against the Tigers which makes for an interesting juxtaposition. Before the season, I think many still figured that Detroit would contend for, or win, the AL Central. Instead, they sit 5 games below .500 and wound up being sellers at the trade deadline. Conversely, most with a realistic view of the Cubs (and I’m not talking about the Vegas odds-makers), were hoping we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves and maybe make a run for a .500 season after being last in the NL Central in 2014. Now, especially after a 9 game winning streak, we appear to be legitimate playoff contenders and would be leading most divisions with our current record of 67-49.
Personally, I was expecting to be third or fourth in the division this year, and then hoping to make a bigger push in 2016. That still seems to be a strong potential, but with the added bonus of maybe, just maybe, making a Wild Card game to boost the confidence.
A couple guys come to mind when thinking about the Tiger teams from the 80s and 90s. Lou Whittaker, Cecil Fielder, Rob Deer, Mickey Tettleton, and of course, Alan Trammell.
Trammell has a lot of Hall of Fame support, although probably not enough to actually get in. I’m not sure if he would make my Hall of Fame, but I have very strict and harsh standards for these things. He was certainly good enough to make my hypothetical collection, however, which is really just as good.
Current player runner-up: Justin Verlander
Verlander’s stock is definitely falling, which is a big reason why he’s my choice. The lessened popularity would make it easier to chase his cards, but he has something of a history of greatness to make the quest worthwhile.
Retired player runner-up: Hank Greenberg
There likely won’t be a lot of pre-80s players on these lists. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about Greenberg, but I do know he had the nickname The Hebrew Hammer, and he was pretty much the first jewish superstar in MLB. He also left the game to serve his country and ended his career as a two-time MVP. Yet, despite all of that, not too many people really pay much attention to his cards. Perhaps I would use that as an opportunity to learn more about him, and other forgotten players from the era.
The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Indians – Jim Thome
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Phillies – Mike Schmidt
Pirates – Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Tigers – Alan Trammell
White Sox – Paul Konerko