The Detroit Tigers have won the American League (AL) pennant and played in the World Series on 11 occasions from 1903 through 2017, giving the club the fourth largest number of AL pennants in history, following the New York Yankees with 40, the Oakland Athletics with 15 and the Boston Red Sox with 13. While the Tigers had some World Series, the team only managed to win the Fall Classic World Series championship four times—in 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984. Fans of the venerable ball club, founded in 1901 just before the first World Series in 1903, have kept hope alive at home games in downtown Detroit's Comerica Park. One day, the Detroit Lions will surely return to the greatest contest in baseball.
The six-year-old Detroit Tigers won the American League pennant and played in the World Series in three consecutive years from 1907 through 1909. Despite considerable talent, the Tigers lost the championship to the Chicago Cubs in 1907 and 1908 and to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909.
The Team: During these years, the Tigers' roster included Davy Jones, as well as future Hall of Famers Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb. Pitchers included George Joseph Mullin and Bill Donovan.
The Detroit Tigers played and lost to the Gas House Gang, otherwise known as the St. Louis Cardinals, in the 1934 World Series. The Tigers were leading three games to two following Game 5 of the series when the Cardinals tied by winning Game 6. It was the Cardinals decisive 11-to-0 victory over the Tigers in Game 7 that earned them the World Series championship.
The Team: The Tigers roster in 1934 included Hall of Famers Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg. While Greenberg batted in runs in Games 4 and 5, Pete Fox hit six doubles over the course of the seven-game series. Schoolboy Rowe's pitching also made things interesting, which wasn't a surprise considering that he won 16 consecutive games from June through August in regular season play.
The Detroit Tigers finally won a World Championship in 1935 against the Chicago Cubs, which was not a surprise after the Tigers' 93–58 regular season record. The Cubs won Game 1. But, even though slugger Hank Greenberg broke his wrist in Game 2, Detroit came back to with Games 2, 3, 4 and 6.
The Team: Hank Greenberg earned 36 home runs during regular season play and Charlie Gehringer earned 19, but it was Pete Fox who was the leading batter during series play. In addition to Hall of Fame pitcher Harold Newhouser, pitchers Tommy Bridges, Schoolboy Rowe and Elden Auker were instrumental.
This was the first of two World Series wins for two-time AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Greenburg, who hit 331 home runs and batted .313 in 13 seasons of a career cut short by service in the U.S. Army Air Forces. Three years later, in 1938, he hit 58 homers, two short of Babe Ruth's record at the time. He won his second World Series in 1945.
The Tigers only finished one game ahead of Cleveland in regular season play but managed to give the Cincinnati Reds a run for their money during the 1940 World Series. Game wins alternated between the two teams until Game 7 when Cincinnati broke the pattern and came away with the World Series championship.
The Team: Pitcher Harold Newhouser and second baseman Charlie Gehringer, both Hall of Famers, were again on the roster in 1940, but it was Rudy York, Pinky Higgins and Hank Greenberg who hit home runs during series play. Despite mourning his dad, pitcher "Bobo" Newsom also stood out for the Tigers during series play.
The Detroit Tigers won the championship from the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series. The Cubs won the first game, but the rest of the games in the series swung back and forth between the two teams. While Detroit was poised to take the championship leading into Game 6, the 12-inning game proved a nail biter. In fact, during the game, there were 28 hits, and nine pitchers took the mound. A Game 7 win, however, made the Detroit Tigers World Series champions once again.
The Team: Hank Greenberg hit home runs in Games 2 and 6, and pitcher Harold Newhouser was instrumental in Game 7. Both men were eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame. George Clyde Kell, another member of the Hall of Fame, was also on the roster in 1945.
It was more than 20 years before the Detroit Tigers made another appearance at the World Series. They played against the defending champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, in 1968. While the Cardinals won three of the first four games of the series, Detroit's pitchers dominated in the last three games, earning the Tigers their third World Series championship.
The Team: Pitcher Denny McLain came into the series after winning more than 30 games in regular season play. He pitched in Game 1 against Bob Gibson of the Cardinals. Both men had already won the Cy Young and MVP awards. In addition to McLain, pitcher Mickey Lolich also stood out. Lolich commented that he had earned the “redemption of the fat man” during series play.
While Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich, Norm Cash, Al Kaline, Dick McAuliffe and Jim Northrup all hit home runs during series play, the Tigers really proved their worth during Game 6, when they made 10 runs in the third inning and won the game 13-1.
The Detroit Tigers took no prisoners in 1984 under the management of Sparky Anderson, who was later inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Tigers started the regular season by winning 35 of their first 40 games. They finished the regular season 15 games ahead and swept the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres by winning games 1,3,4 and 5. Their dominance in 1984 earned them a “Bless You, Boys” from Ernie Harwell.
The Team: While Larry Herndon, Marty Castillo, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish all hit home runs during series play, pitcher Jack Morris and relievers Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez were also instrumental.
The Detroit Tigers made it to the World Series in 2006, despite a less than stellar regular season. While the Tigers won Game 2, the St. Louis Cardinals all but swept the series to take the World Championship in Game 5. While Tigers' pitching failed to prevent Cardinal slugger Albert Pujols from getting hits, the eight errors the Tigers made during the course of the five-game series didn't help them.
The Team: Justin Verlander, a rookie pitcher, took the mound in Game 1, and both Craig Monroe and Sean Casey hit home runs during series play. The roster also included Kenny Rogers and Todd Jones.
The 2012 World Series, according to baseball-almanac.com, was the 108th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series. The best-of-seven playoff was won by National League champion the San Francisco Giants in four games over American League champion the Detroit Tigers. It was the Giants' seventh World Series title, and it marked the first time since 1990 that the National League swept the American League. The fourth and last game of the 2012 series, played at Comerica Park, was notable for being played amid high winds and roiling rain, which were the outer belts of approaching Hurricane Sandy, hours away from rocking the East Coast with widespread damage and devastation.
The Team: In Game 1, the Giants' Pablo Sandoval tied a record by hitting three home runs in one World Series game, two off of Tigers ace pitcher Justin Verlander, and was named World Series MVP. In the third inning of the fourth and last game, Detroit took its first lead after 20 scoreless innings. The Tigers' Miguel Cabrera hit a high fly toward right field, and the Giants' Hunter Pence tried to catch it. But a strong wind pushed the ball over the wall, making a two-run home run possible. The game went into a tenth inning, ending with a third strike called on Cabrera for the last out of the series. The Tigers had made only three home runs in these four games, one by Jhonny Peralta in Game 1 and one each by Cabrera and Delmon Young in Game 4.