History of the Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers team, established in 1901, is one of only a few major league baseball teams that has had only one name and one city in its history. The Tigers had a successful early start, winning three American League pennants in their first decade. They have seen a resurgence in recent years, winning the American League Central division title in 2011 and 2012 and the AL pennant in 2012.

The Detroit Tigers were established as a major league baseball team in the same year that the American League was started as a major league. They played their first two years in two parks - Burns Park on Sundays and Bennett Park the rest of the week. In 1903, Bennett Park became the Tigers full-time home until 1912.

The 1905 season opened well for the Detroit Tigers with their acquisition of Ty Cobb. Three seasons later, the team won their first of three consecutive American League pennant races. They lost, however, the three World Series, the first two to the Chicago Cubs and the third, in 1909, to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Tigers did not win another pennant until 1934. Except for the 1915 season, when they won 100 games, the Tigers did not finish near the top of the American League. Even with Ty Cobb leading the team, first as a player and then, in the 1920s, as their manager, the Tigers could not advance in the standings.

The Tigers of the 1930s had new players, including future Hall of Famers Mickey Cochrane, Hank Greenberg and Charlie Gehringer. These powerhouse players led the Tigers to American League pennants in 1934 and 1935 and their first World Series win in 1935. After their 1935 championship win, however, the Tigers fell back in the standings until 1940 when they once again won the American League pennant.

After another slip down in the standings during the WW II years, the Tigers rose again in 1945, winning their seventh American League pennant and their second World Series. It would be their last post-season win for more than 20 years.

The 1950s were mediocre years for the Tigers, but they began to improve at the start of the 1960s. Still, they couldn't get past the powerhouse New York Yankees. However, the team consistently had winning records and they added new players, including pitcher Denny McLain, to their roster. In 1967, they finished in the American League just one game behind the Boston Red Sox. The next year, the Detroit Tigers took the American League pennant and another World Series.

In 1972, behind the leadership of manager Billy Martin, the Tigers had their only post-season win of the 1970s with the American League East division title. Martin only lasted another year with the Tigers, as they dropped in the standings. Ralph Houk took over but his success over the next five years was no better than the 1973 failed season.

The 1979 season brought one of baseball's greatest managers, Sparky Anderson, to the Tigers. Anderson, who had led the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati to victories, succeeded with the Detroit Tigers in 1984. That season, they won the American League East division title, the American League pennant and their last World Series championship. Anderson led the team to only one more win - the 1987 American League East division title. Although they finished only one game out of first place in 1988, the Tigers had to wait 20 years for another post-season win.

The Tigers had a drastic, fast decline in 1989, finishing with a 59-103 record. They improved in 1991 and 1993, but then fell again and they did not have another winning record until 2006. Their worst season was 2003 when they lost 119 games.

Changes occurred for the Tigers in 2006 when they hired Jim Leyland as manager. For the first time since 1993, the Tigers had a winning season and, finally, another post-season win. They won the American League Wild Card spot and then went on to defeat the New York Yankees in the American League Division series and the Oakland Athletics in the American League pennant race. They lost the World Series, however, to the St. Louis Cardinals. With strong MLB leaders, such as Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Justin Verlander, the Tigers have had winning teams in recent years and they are once again leading the Central division for the third consecutive year.

Source for Information
Wikipedia - Detroit Tigers