Thomas Jefferson Davis Bridges ranks right up there with Hal Newhouser as one of the best Tiger pitchers of all time. According to The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, Bridges had the fifth best curveball of all time, and had a good enough fastball to go with it.
Over a sixteen year career that was interrupted by World War II, Bridges won 194 games, struck out 1,674 batters, and had a career ERA of 3.57 (ERA+ of 126). The six time all star led the league in strikeouts twice, and his career adjusted ERA+ of 126 is good for 47th all time. He’s also one of a handful of Tigers to play for both the 1935 and 1945 championship teams.
His best stretch of seasons was 1934-1936. During that time, he went 66-32 and logged at least 274 innings in every season. He was second in the league in strikeouts in 1934, and led the league in both 1935 and 1936. His biggest weakness was the propensity to walk batters, as he finished no better then sixth in walks allowed during the three year stretch.
Bridges and Schoolboy Rowe made quite a one-two punch for the Tigers. Both would have contented for the Cy Young in both 1934 and 1935, and Bridges probably would have won it in 1936 had the award existed.
As always, when there’s something better out there, I’m not going to try to out work the experts (because I can’t). If you want more information on Tommy Bridges, Rob Neyer did an excellent piece on him in The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, and I’d also highly recommend you check out his biography write up over at SABR’s Baseball Biography Project.