Everyone has their favorite; a long forgotten player they can reference to really wow their compatriots with Tigers knowledge. Mine has long been Francisco Cruceta, he of endless promise and endless visa delays. Al Alburquerque is what Dave Dombrowski hoped for when he signed Cruceta. Alas, it was never to be and the sands of time have covered over poor Francisco.
Let's brush back the sand and see what other gems time has forgotten.
Runner-up - Jose Alvarez
In 2013 the Detroit Tigers did something amazing. They got through the season with only six starting pitchers. While the big five - Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez, Fister, and Porcello - will never be forgotten, poor Jose Alvarez worked in relative anonymity, hitting neither the heights nor the depths of performance. Late this spring he was traded away to the Angels for Andrew Romine, thus putting him out of sight and out of mind in the years to come.
Most forgettable - Jose Ortega
Jose Ortega pitched in 11 games for the Tigers last year and I remember almost nothing about him. He is currently working in Toledo with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.645 WHIP. There may be a second chapter for Mr. Ortega, but the first one was pretty blasé.
Honorable mention - N/A
Runner-up - Brad Eldred
Brad Eldred was absolutely RAKING the ball in Toledo in early 2012. He hit 13 home runs in the first 20 games for the Mud Hens before getting the call up. The guy he replaced? Brandon Inge, who the team had just released. Eldred played in five games for the Tigers before returning to the Mud Hens and ultimately jetting off to Japan.
Most forgettable - Matt Young
Matt Young filled in for Andy Dirks, who went on the DL with tendinitis in his right Achilles tendon. After appearing in five games Young was sent back to Toledo to make room for Thad Weber who gets an Honorable Mention.
Honorable mention - Adam Wilk, Collin Balester, Thad Weber, Luis Marte
Runner-up - David Purcey
He was the guy we got for Scott Sizemore, I think. Dombrowski said of him, "We've tried to get David Purcey for a long time." Maybe Dave confused him with David Pauley?
Most forgettable - David Pauley
David Pauley was the overshadowed half of the Doug Fister haul, I think. David became a running joke because of Leyland's unwillingness to use him. Maybe Skip just forgot his name.
Honorable mention - Robbie Weinhardt, Lester Oliveros, Chance Ruffin, Andy Oliver
Runner-up - Jay Sborz
With only 2/3 of an inning pitched in his big league career you would think that Jay would easily be the most forgettable Tiger of 2010. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately!) for him those two outs were surrounded by 5 earned runs yielding him a 67.50 career ERA.
Most forgettable - Jeff Frazier
Frazier appeared in 9 games split among DH, RF and LF, and accumulated five hits. His .217 batting average was unremarkable and therefore I will make no further remarks.
Honorable mention - Max St. Pierre, Eddie Bonine, Fu-Te Ni, Casey Fien, Alfredo Figaro, Brad Thomas
Runner-up - Chris Lambert
Lambert pitched in 8 games for the Tigers in 2008 and 2 games in 2009. I can't remember any of them.
Most forgettable - Brent Dlugach
In five plate appearances Brent didn't get any hits, but I do remember making "let's start words with Dl" jokes.
It was a simpler time, okay?!
Honorable mention - Alfredo Figaro, Freddy Dolsi, Luke French
Runner-up - Dusty Ryan
Dusty Ryan played in a smattering of games in 2008 and 2009. He performed quite well in 2008 and hit two home runs but never quite stuck, which is a shame because he has a great cowboy name.
Most forgettable - Francis Beltran
Francis' middle name is LeBron, so that's neat!
Honorable mention - Michael Hollimon, Gary Glover, Francisco Cruceta, Yorman Bazardo, Denny Bautista
Runner-up - Macay McBride
Macay came from Atlanta as half of the first Kyle Farnsworth deal along with Roman Colon (see below). Macay didn't have a distinguished career, but he does have the record for most southern name ever.
Most forgettable - Virgil Vasquez
Virgil was a big time prospect for the Tigers for a while, getting as high as #6 on some lists. After he pitched in five games with the Tigers in 2007 he in appeared in 14 games for the Pirates in 2009. After that he went on to a successful career in the root beer business (may not be true).
Honorable mention - Timo Perez (unless you're Rogo), Jordan Tata, Jose Capellan, Frankie De La Cruz
Runner-up - Roman Colon
2006 was obviously a good year for the Tigers so there aren't that many hidden gems. Even the 2006 runner-up is pretty famous, or at least infamous. Since I'm not a real journalist, I'll just let wikipedia tell the story
Colón started the 2007 season on the DL. During a rehab assignment in Triple-A Toledo, he was involved in an altercation with fellow pitcher Jordan Tata. During the course of the fight, Colón attempted to punch Tata and instead landed a punch to the face of Jason Karnuth, the Mud Hens closer who was trying to intercede and break up the fight. The resulting injury caused Karnuth to be admitted to the hospital and undergo plastic surgery to his face. According to his wife, who filed an assault report against Colón on her husband's behalf, Karnuth required a titanium plate to be screwed into his head. Karnuth missed most of the 2007 season as a result of the injuries. The Tigers suspended Colón for 7 days after the incident. On January 15, 2008, Colón pleaded no contest to an assault charge and was sentenced to 200 hours of community service.
Most forgettable - Kevin Hooper
Hooper played with the Tigers in parts of two seasons as a September call up. He is probably most famous for playing all 9 positions in one game for the Mud Hens. He is currently the manager of the Wichita Wingnuts.
Honorable mention - Alexis Gomez (Leyland's best "gut feeling" move ever), Chris Spurling
Runner-up - Sean Douglass
In 2005 I went to a Tigers game eager to see a hot new prospect the Tigers just called up named Justin Verlander. I watched him warm up and shared some facts about him with my friends, proclaiming that he could be the real deal for the Tiger's future. I was watching Sean Douglass.
Most forgettable - Jason Smith
Jason Smith had a major league career that spanned nine years, last playing for Houston in 2009. Maybe it's just his bland name, but know nothing about him.
Honorable mention - Matt Ginter, Craig Dingman, Doug Creek, Jason Karnuth, Andrew Good, Mark Woodyard
Runner-up - Greg Norton
A career .249 utility player. That's all I got.
Most forgettable - Lino Urdaneta
Maybe I'll get ridiculed, but before today I've never heard of Lino Urdaneta.
I can summarize his Tigers career in one image:
That's a screen cap from Baseball Reference indicating his ERA with the Tigers is infinity.
That's right, poor Lino made one appearance and gave up six earned runs without recording a a single out.
But this story is not without a happy ending! In 2007 Urdaneta caught on with the Mets where he recorded three outs while only giving up only one earned run. This closed out Lino's career with ERA of 64.00 -- 3.5 runs better than Jay Sborz.
Honorable mention - Mike Difelice, John Ennis, Roberto Novoa, Danny Patterson, Al Levine, Steve Colyer
I've learned from Chris Iott you should end things with a music video.