It’s not often in our time as fans that we remember a seemingly simple tag-out as something that stands out almost a decade later, but when the Tigers faced the Seattle Mariners on April 17, 2013, one such moment occurred.
I have probably watched hundreds of Tigers games since 2013, but there are not many individual plays I could call out as being seared into my memory the way the conclusion of this game was.
It was a late-starting game, as we are accustomed to with west coast road trips, but in the grand tradition of the Tigers playing in Seattle, the night game had gone into extra innings, and was running well over four hours by the time the 14th inning rolled around. The Tigers, going into the bottom of the inning, had a one-run lead and there were two outs in the bottom when a laser hit to right field threatened to score baserunner Justin Smoak.
Torii Hunter threw to Prince Fielder and Fielder threw to back-up catcher Brayan Pena, who planted himself firmly on the base path and was bowled over by Smoak. Then, injured but triumphant, Pena lifted his fist in the air to show he was still holding the ball.
Smoak was out, and the Tigers had won. The game finished at four hours and twenty-seven minutes, and a Tigers legend was born.
Shoutout to our friends at This Day in Tigers History for reminding us of this tremendous moment.