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Tigers Den Roundtable: Reminiscing on Curtis Granderson’s wonderful career

The BYB staff looks back at Granderson’s career.

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Rob: No long-winded intro, and no specific question this week. Let’s just talk about Curtis Granderson.

Adam: Curtis Granderson was everything good about baseball. [to be continued]

Ashley: Granderson was the living example of how a man could be a good person and a good player, and do both with equal joy. I’m so sad there was never a good opportunity to bring him back to Detroit, because he is such a great example to the next generation of baseball players about what it is to be a team player, a genuinely good human, and just an all-around wonderful ambassador for the sport. I know he hasn’t been a Tiger for a long time, but I always thought of him as one, no matter where he went, and I’m sure other teams fondly think of him as theirs, too. He’s just the kind of guy you would be proud to wear a jersey of.

Rob: It speaks to the kind of person Granderson was that he is still this beloved despite not having played for the Tigers in a full decade. Other players have come and gone. Better players have come and gone. But this fanbase and city take ownership of Granderson like few players I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Peter: Favorite Curtis Granderson memory? This, enough said.

Rob: I think that’s everyone’s favorite memory.

Peter: That play has everything you could ever want. An incredible game saving catch. An effortless climb of a 10-foot wall. Soul-crushed Cleveland announcers. And Granderson nonchalantly looking in after the catch like it was no big deal. That’s Curtis Granderson to me.

Brandon: I don’t have one particular memory that stands out, but more than the Pudge Rodriguez and Magglio Ordoñez signings, Granderson was the homegrown star that really made it feel like a whole new era of Tigers baseball had arrived. It was so long ago that he was traded, that it feels odd and surprisingly painful to let him go again so many years later. That’s a tribute to a player who defied time and was effective far longer than most, and to a man who took the privilege of playing professional baseball seriously and has been so dedicated to improving the lives of everyone around him. Had he just been a collection of skills, his career would have ended years ago, but through his personality and character, he made himself an extra asset to any organization who signed him, and to seemingly anyone he came into contact with. Congratulations on a great career. Hire this man, Tigers.

Adam: I echo all of the above sentiments regarding Granderson and the reasons why he is so beloved. While there is no particular highlight that stands out to me, his 2007 season with the Tigers when he made the 20-20-20-20 club (38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 home runs, 26 stolen bases) was absolutely magical — his triples numbers led all of the majors, he finished tenth in MVP voting that year and his .302 average was the highest he had his entire career. Despite the post-World Series hangover, Granderson kept the Tigers exciting and gave me another reason to keep an eye on the box score as he kept piling on the numbers. It feels like after that season is when he began his off-field work as well.

Patrick: Granderson had a greater impact on the Tigers lineup than any player they have drafted this century. He was a true star. He will be remembered for being a part of the 2006 team that burst into the playoff scene to win the first pennant that the Tigers saw in 22 years. Putting up 20 homers, 20 doubles, 20 triples and 20 steals in 2007, which no player had done since Willie Mays. When he was traded after the 2009 season, I was devastated, and shocked that the trade, which brought Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke, eventually worked out.

Rob: The Tigers are still benefitting from that trade (assuming Christin Stewart hits better this year).

Patrick: I don’t get to many Tigers games, living out west, but there was a game in the playoffs against the Yankees where Curtis, in center field for New York, started in on a ball in the first inning with runners on base, and wound up making a spectacular diving catch with his back toward the plate. We will remember his crow hop before he threw that ball back into the infield from center field. The way he’d do a pirouette as he stood up from diving back into first base after a pickoff throw. How he waited for every pitch with the bat resting on his shoulder and then steadying up as the pitcher went into his wind up. And we’ll remember how he headed straight for the cameras and the media who stood waiting to interview a well spoken player after a game — win or lose. He was a class act, and I think has a future in broadcasting if he wants it.

Brady: Man. I was still very young when he came up through the system and joined the team, but he quickly became the heart and soul of a franchise that seemed to lack one for so long. Not only was he a hell of a talent to watch with his odd left-handed stance and blazing center field speed, but he had the best smile in baseball, one of those smiles that you see and you are reminded that this world isn’t such an awful place after all because people like Curtis exist. With all the crap that has gone on in baseball and the world recently, we need more Curtis Grandersons.

Brady: So what does Curtis mean to me? He means that genuine kindness will never go out of style. That a smile can lift up anyone’s spirits. That baseball in Detroit can be fun again, even after years of thinking it’s a lost cause. Curtis Granderson means nothing but goodness and genuine wholesomeness, and for a guy like him who has been around for so long, I think that’s be best compliment I could give him. Also that catch in Cleveland [linked above] with the “it’s gone...! No it’s not.” call made me laugh for years.

Ashley: Truly one of the best moments.

Brady: If “Hall of Heart” were a thing, he’d be a unanimous first ballot inductee.

Zane: If you’re reading this and you have a child who was between the ages of 8-15 when Granderson and the 2006 Tigers team made their run, ask them who their favorite player was. They are going to either say Granderson or Justin Verlander, and that says a lot.