News of Curtis Granderson’s retirement has graced the headlines of Bless You Boys for the past week, and for good reason. Whether it is reminiscing over his time in Detroit, be it his rookie year or his remarkable 2007 season, there are many reasons for Tigers fans to look back on everything he brought to the Tigers, the community and the sport of baseball.
As it turns out, there is even more to learn from Granderson as explained in this article from The Athletic, as he represents a different era of player development that seemingly ended with Alex Avila, the last position player to perform at an All-Star level — a distant eight years ago. What went wrong?
Basically, the farm was stripped by Dave Dombrowski trades and loss of draft picks to free agents who carried a qualifying offer. To compound the issue, the front office went practically all in on drafting pitching talent, including the “Great Relief Draft” of 2008 — in which, ironically, Avila was selected in the fifth round after four college relief pitchers were taken — failing to restock the farm to fill in for players who graduate to the majors.
The lesson learned here is that the Tigers organization needs to take a balanced approach to the rebuild, not only in the selection of prospect talent, but in all aspects of player acquisition.
Another look back at Grandy
As it turns out, Curtis Granderson is the gift that just keeps giving.
The Detroit Free Press published this retrospective by Anthony Fenech on the recently-retired center fielder, in which he fondly recalls the the first time he saw the future star long before he became a household name in Michigan.
Fenech describes the first time he saw the young Granderson in 2004 during his first cup of major league coffee against the Chicago White Sox that September. Throughout his piece, he reminisces on the quality of how Granderson conducted himself both on and off the field. Fenech cited the following events as some of Grandy’s greatest.
You remember where you were with some of Granderson’s moments: in stolen seats for his walk-off against the Reds in 2006; along the first base line in a standing-room only section when he robbed Willy Mo Pena of that home run in left-center field in 2007; sitting in a basement at college when he secured one of Verlander’s shutouts with an incredible leaping catch against Grady Sizemore and the hated Indians in 2009.
The article is a touching one that reminds us once again what has been lost with his retirement and the seemingly fleeting nature of baseball careers — even ones that last nearly two decades. Hopefully, one day we can have nice things again like the Grandy Man.
Al Kaline at No. 51 on The Athletic’s top 100 list
The Athletic’s The Baseball 100 series continues with Mr. Tiger himself, Al Kaline, just missing out on the top 50 at the No. 51 spot on the list. The article takes a long look at his storied career that — despite never reaching 30 home runs in a season, nor hitting 400 homers or .300 batting average for his career and never winning an MVP award — left a lasting impression on everyone who watched him play.
Here are some of the compliments he received from his peers after his breakout season in 1955 at the age of 20.
“He’s made some catches I still don’t believe,” Yankees manager Casey Stengel said.
“He’s just one of those naturals,” his teammate Ned Garvin said.
“The kid can’t miss,” Joe DiMaggio said.
“He’s the greatest right-handed hitter in the league,” Ted Williams said.
Nobody ever questions Kaline’s status as the face of the Tigers franchise, and for good reason. Despite not having the superlative stats to show for his efforts that many of his contemporaries in the Hall of Fame have, he still stands among the greatest to ever play the game.
Sunny day in the D
Days like these remind the denizens of Detroit that spring is getting closer every day.
50 years ago in Tigers history
Tigers legendary first baseman Rudy York died 50 years ago at the age of 56. York did his best to fill in for Hall of Fame slugger Hank Greenberg, who went off to fight in World War II for nearly five years.
Former #Tigers first baseman, Rudy York died in Rome, GA today. He was best known for hitting 18 home runs in a month as a #Tigers rookie in 1937. York spent 13 years in the majors, 9 with the #Tigers, hitting 255 HRs. York was 56 years old.— Tigers minus 50 (@DetTiger50) February 5, 2020
Congratulations to Patrick Mahomes
Nothing like a little snark to get the fans past the Super Bowl and ready for baseball season.
Congratulations to #Tigers 2014 37th-round pick Patrick Mahomes on winning MVP of his football game.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) February 3, 2020
Bless You Boys is the place to be
I still remember how I couldn't stop smiling when this published at @blessyouboys.— Emily Waldon (@EmilyCWaldon) February 6, 2020
Five years later and I'm still exceedingly grateful for @BYBRob and @KurtJustKurt taking a chance on an enthusiastic rookie who had no idea what she was doing.https://t.co/nj6lzBFTBV
- 2020 BYB Tigers Prospect #13: Wenceel Perez looks to gain traction this season. The young shortstop has good bat to ball skills and enough raw tools to keep us intrigued.
- 2020 BYB Tigers Prospect #12: Beau Burrows looks to put a lost season behind him. The young right-hander’s progress through the system finally hit a wall last year.
- 5 bold predictions for the Tigers’ farm system in 2020. A look into the future, or something roughly adjacent to it.
- Tigers, Twins will play spring training game in the Dominican Republic. The spring exhibition game is scheduled for March 7 in the capital city of Santo Domingo.
- Detroit Tigers Truck Day has arrived. Spring is just around the corner!
- USA Today predicts Tigers to be worst team in baseball again in 2020. The Tigers rank is not the most interesting thing about these predictions.
- New Tigers spring training caps aren’t that hideous this year. The theme worked for the Tigers, but not for everyone else.
- The Mookie Betts trade makes me sad for baseball. The blockbuster deal between the Dodgers and Red Sox shows us that baseball is broken.
Around the horn
Detroit Red Wings help promote the Tigers for Major League Baseball Opening Day. Emily Nemens’ “The Cactus League” is a nostalgic look at the world of baseball. Veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson finds new home in a familiar place. Astros try to move forward with new general manager James Click. Pete Rose uses Astros saga to ask for reinstatement.