Tomorrow will being my most ambitous project on this blog. I’m going to take a stab at documenting the first season that the Tigers won the World Series. What’s somewhat ironic is when the great Tiger teams are thrown on the table, you always here of 1968 and 1984. Rarely do you hear of 1935. But the third team that usually gets put into that class is the 1934 Tigers.
At the time, the 1934 Tigers set the team record for wins in a season (101), this has since been tied (1961) and passed in both 1968 and 1984, but the mark for winning percentage still stands (.656) to this day.
It was Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane’s first season coaching the team, and he had about as good of a collection of talent as you can get. Four future Hall of Famers played for the Tigers that season, and you can make a strong case that Tommy Bridges should be a fifth. As a team, the Tigers hit .300 (and this included pitchers hitting) and had a team OPS+ of 114.
Hank Greenberg’s 63 doubles is still fourth on the all time list. Five players on the team were in the top 10 in the MVP voting, with the winner and runner up being Mickey Cochrane and Charlie Gehringer. Four starters had an OBP above .400, and Gerhinger’s .450 was second in the league. Five players scored 100 runs, and four drove in more then 100.
And their pitching was solid as well. Schoolboy Rowe and Tommy Bridges both won 20 games, and they finished second and third in strikeouts.
As a team, the Tigers 957 runs scored was more then a hundred more then the next closest team. They finished second in ERA (4.06), second in strikeouts (640), and allowed the fewest walks (488).
About the only negative you can throw at this team is they outperformed their Pythagorean Win/Loss by three wins. Oh, and they did quite pull it off in the World Series as they lost to the Cardinals in seven games. They’d have to wait until the following year to finally claim their ring (and they’d eventually get their revenge by topping the Cards in 1968).
So be sure to check back tomorrow (and throughout the season) as the Tigers make history and bring home their first World Series.