Jose Valverde, closer for the Detroit Tigers, started as a replacement closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003. Two years later, he became their regular closer. In December, 2007, after five years with the Diamondbacks, Valverde was traded to the Houston Astros.
Justin Verlander, ace starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, was first drafted by the Tigers in 2004. The following year, he played primarily in the minor leagues, pitching in just two games for the Tigers. In 2006, his rookie year, Verlander played in 30 games and pitched 186.0 innings with an ERA of 3.63, a 17-9 record, and 124 strikeouts to 60 walks. Those numbers earned Verlander the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2006.
Torii Hunter, right fielder for the Detroit Tigers, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1993, but he didn't play full-time until 1999. Although the Twins called him up in 1997 and 1998, he played in just one game with them the first year and only six games with them the following season.
Victor Martinez, designated hitter for the Detroit Tigers, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1996. He played in the minor leagues for several years and after winning back-to-back MVP awards and batting titles in the minors in 2000 and 2001, Martinez got his chance with the Indians in September, 2002. In 12 games that month, he batted .281 with 9 hits. The following season, Martinez played in 49 games with the Indians. He played in the minor leagues for the rest of the season. His batting average with the Indians in 2003 was .289 with 46 hits.
Prince Fielder, first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, grew up with a father who was a successful major league baseball player. Cecil Fielder played for 13 years in the majors, hitting 319 home runs. Young Prince often joined his father in the ballpark and at batting practice. He played baseball throughout his school years and in his senior year in high school, the younger Fielder batted .524, with 13 doubles, 10 home runs, and 41 RBIs.
Jhonny Peralta, shortstop with the Detroit Tigers, first signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1999 and he made his major league debut in June, 2003. He played in 77 games in 2003, but in only 8 games the following year. However, in 2005, Peralta became the Indians' starting shortstop. He stayed with the Indians until the end of July, 2010, when they traded him to the Detroit Tigers.
Miguel Cabrera, power hitting third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, began his major league baseball career with the Florida Marlins when he was just 20 years old. He ended his 2003 rookie season with a batting average of .268 with 12 home runs and 62 RBIs in only 87 games. The following season he played in 160 games, batted .294 and had 33 home runs and 112 RBIs. Cabrera played even better ball in his next three years with the Marlins, batting .323 in 2005 with 33 home runs and 116 RBIs and .339 in 2006 with 26 home runs and 114 RBIs. In 2007, his last season with the Marlins, he batted .320 with 34 home runs and 119 RBIs. In five years with the Marlins, Cabrera earned 2 Silver Slugger awards (2005, 2006) and he was chosen for 4 All Star games (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007).
Jim Leyland, manager of the Detroit Tigers, is, at age 68, one of the oldest managers in major league baseball today. He also has one of the longest tenures as a manager, with 21 years of experience managing four teams (Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers).