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Category Archives: Tigers

Woodie Fryman – 1973 Topps #146

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ImageWoodrow Thompson Fryman (April 15, 1940 – February 4, 2011) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. A two-time National League All-Star, he is best remembered as the mid-season acquisition that helped lead the Detroit Tigers to the 1972 American League Championship Series.
Fryman was 25 years old when he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1965. He debuted out of the bullpen for the Pirates in 1966, he made more appearances as a starter, and was used pretty evenly in both roles throughout his career. He went 12-9 with a 3.81 earned run average his rookie season, including three shutouts in a row against the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. In Philadelphia, Fryman was used almost exclusively as a starter his first two seasons, but began being used more and more in relief in 1970 and 1971. In 1972, Fryman was 4-10 with a 4.36 ERA for the 34-61 Phillies when the club placed him on waivers at the end of July.
The Detroit Tigers were battling the Boston Red Sox first first place in the American League East when they claimed Fryman off waivers on August 2, 1972. Fryman turned his season around with the Tigers, and was 9-3 with a 2.21 ERA when the Red Sox came to Detroit for a three game set to end the season a half game up on the Tigers. ImageFryman’s .769 win percentage was tops in the American League in 1972, and his ERA+ of 154 is one of the highest in Detroit franchise history.
Fryman spent two more seasons with the Tigers before being dealt to the Montreal Expos for Terry Humphrey and Tom Walker in December 1974. Fryman’s record stood at 8-6 with a 3.74 ERA when he earned his second All-Star nod in 1976. As with his first selection in 1968, he was his team’s lone representative, and he did not appear in the game.
Fryman was inducted into the Montreal Expos’ Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. On February 4, 2011, Fryman died in his hometown of Ewing, Kentucky, where he was a tobacco farmer, two months shy of his 71st birthday.

Lerrin LaGrow – 1973 Topps #369

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ImageLerrin Harris LaGrow (born July 8, 1948) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played 10 seasons in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1970, 1972–1975), St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies. In 1972, LaGrow had a 1.32 earned run average in 16 games. He also pitched 1 scoreless inning in Game 2 of the 1972 American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics. LaGrow’s single inning led to one of the most memorable moments of the 1972 ALCS. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Bert Campaneris came to bat, having had 3 hits, 2 runs scored, and 2 stolen bases in his first 3 at bats in the game. LaGrow’s first pitch hit Campaneris in the ankle. Campaneris staggered for a moment,Image glared at LaGrow and then flung his bat toward LaGrow. The bat spiraled at LaGrow five feet off the ground, but LaGrow ducked, and the bat narrowly missed LaGrow, landing a few feet behind the mound. A bench-clearing brawl ensued, and Tigers manager Billy Martin had to be restrained by umpires and teammates to prevent him from going after Campaneris. Both LaGrow and Campaneries were suspended for the rest of the ALCS.
In 10 seasons he had a 34–55 Win-Loss record in 309 games, with 19 complete games, 2 shutouts, 140 games finished, 54 saves, 779 innings pitched, 814 hits allowed, 74 home runs allowed, 312 walks allowed, 375 strikeouts, a 4.11 ERA and a 1.445 WHIP.

Ike Brown – 1973 Topps #633

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ImageIsaac (Ike) Brown (April 13, 1942 – May 17, 2001) was an infielder/outfielder in the Negro leagues and a utilityman in Major League Baseball for the Detroit Tigers from 1969 through 1974. He batted and threw right-handed. In a six-season major league career, Brown posted a .256 batting average with 20 home runs and 65 RBI in 280 games played. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Brown was obtained by Detroit from the Negro league Kansas City Monarchs in 1961. He had originally signed with the Cardinals for $800. Brown spent eight years in the minor leagues, making it to the majors in 1969 after hitting .356 of that season for Triple-A Toledo and hitting two home runs against the Tigers during an exhibition game. His first major league hit was a home run at Yankee Stadium.Image
Career highlights include:
2 home runs and 4 RBIs against George Brunet and the Washington Senators (May 23, 1970)
six 3-hit games…the most impressive being two singles and a home run, good for 4 RBIs, vs. the California Angels (May 12, 1971)
hit a combined .400 (20-for-50), with 7 home runs, against All-Stars Jim Kaat, Gary Peters, and Wilbur Wood
At the time of his retirement from the Tigers in 1974, Brown was one of the last alumni of the Negro leagues (along with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays) still active in Major League Baseball. Brown died from cancer in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 59.

Duke Sims – 1973 Topps #304

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ImageDuane B. (Duke) Sims (born June 5, 1941 in Salt Lake City, Utah) was a Major League Baseball catcher who played from 1964 to 1974 with the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Billy Martin took him to the Detroit Tigers in August 1972. His first game as Tiger resulted in a 3 for 5 day with game tying double and game winning off Gaylord Perry, Cy Young winner that year. Subsequently hit .316, 10 game winning or tying hits while catching for Tigers in the Eastern Division Championship season. ImagePlayed in all 5 games in the championship series both in left field and catching. Was the catcher in game 2 when Bert Campneris threw the bat at Lerrin LaGrow after being hit on the ankle. Duke left the Tigers in September 1973 and caught the final game in Yankee Stadium before it was remodeled and started the season with the Yankees in 1974 at Shea Stadium before being traded to the Texas Rangers for a player to be name later. Sims is also credited as the last person to hit a home run in the “old” Yankee Stadium. He did it as a member of the Yankees in a 8–5 loss to the Detroit Tigers on September 30, 1973.

Tom Timmerman – 1973 Topps #413

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ImageThomas Henry Timmermann (born May 12, 1940) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for six seasons with the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1960, but did not make his Major League debut until June 18, 1969. In his first three seasons with the Tigers, he was used almost exclusively as a relief pitcher. As a 28-year-old rookie in 1969, Timmermann had a 2.75 ERA and a 4-3 record in 31 games. Timmermann appeared to be a rising star. His second year proved to be the best of his career. In 1970, Timmermann finished 3rd in the American League with 27 saves and 6th in the league with 43 games finished. He appeared in 61 games, all as a relief specialist, and compiled a record of 6-7 with a 4.11 ERA. At the end of the 1970 season, ImageTimmermann was voted “Tiger of the Year” by the Detroit chapter of the BBWAA—an award given to Denny McLain the prior two years and to Mickey Lolich the following year. In 1971, he appeared in 52 games, with a 7-6 record, and a 3.86 ERA. In 1972, the Tigers moved Timmermann into the starting rotation, and he started 25 games and made 9 relief appearances. He compiled an 8-10 record in 1972, with a 2.89 ERA. On June 15, 1973, the Tigers traded Timmermann to the Cleveland Indians. Timmermann started 15 games for the Indians in 1973, and made 14 relief appearances, with a record of 8-7. Timmermann pitched only 4 games for the Indians in 1974. He played his final Major League game on April 26, 1974.

Jim Northrup – 1973 Topps #168

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ImageJames Thomas Northrup (November 24, 1939 – June 8, 2011), nicknamed the “Silver Fox” due to his prematurely graying hair, was a Major League Baseball outfielder and left-handed batter who played for the Detroit Tigers (1964–1974), Montreal Expos (1974) and Baltimore Orioles (1974–75).
Northrup had another solid season for the Tigers in 1969, as he raised his batting average to .295 (9th in the AL) and had career highs with 25 home runs and 31 doubles (6th in the AL). On August 28, 1969, Northrup became the first Tiger since Ty Cobb to hit 6-for-6, finishing the game with a 13th-inning game-winning home run over the Tiger Stadium roof. In 1970, the Tigers dropped to 4th place in their last season under manager Mayo Smith. The Tigers were an aging squad when Billy Martin took over, and Martin sought to light a fire under them. Martin turned the Tigers back into contenders in 1971 and 1972.
In the decisive 5th game of the 1972 American League Championship Series, the mutual dislike between Martin and Northrup may have affected Martin’s judgment. In the 9th inning, the Tigers were trailing 2-1, and Norm Cash was on base. Northrup had one hit already off Vida Blue, but Martin used Mickey Stanley to pinch-hit for Northrup. Stanley hit into a fielder’s choice, and the Tigers lost the ALCS. Northrup remained bitter about Martin’s decision.
In 1973, a 33-year-old Northrup hit .307 –- Imagethe highest batting average of his career. Despite his solid hitting, Martin kept Northup on the bench for part of the year. Northrup had played in at least 130 games for the Tigers for 7 straight years, but in 1973 he played in only 119 games. Martin was fired by the Tigers before the 1973 season was over, but Northrup’s time with the Tigers was also nearing an end.
Northrup died on June 8, 2011 from a seizure. Longtime friend Bill Wischman said Northrup had been recently admitted to an assisted living facility in Holly, Michigan, 20 miles from his home in Highland. Northrup had been in poor health for some time and had been at the home for about a month because of Alzheimer’s disease.

Bill Freehan – 1973 Topps #460

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William Ashley Freehan(born November 29, 1941 in Detroit) is a former professional baseball player. He played his entire Major League Baseball career as a catcher for the Detroit Tigers. An eleven-time All-Star, and winner of five consecutive Gold Glove Awards, he was regarded as the premier catcher in the American League for several years. Freehan attended the University of Michigan, where he set an all-time Big Ten Conference batting mark of .585 in 1961 and also played football. He signed with his hometown Tigers in 1961 for a $100,000 bonus, which his father withheld until he graduated in 1966, and broke in briefly with 4 games at the end of the season before returning to the minors in 1962. In 1963 he arrived in the majors to stay, working with former catcher Rick Ferrell on his defense and splitting catching duties with Gus Triandos, who was traded following the season. The 1964 campaign gave indications of what was to come; he batted .300 to finish sixth in the American League, along with 18 home runs and 80 runs batted in. He also earned the first of ten consecutive All-Star selections, and placed seventh in the Most Valuable Player Award balloting. In 1965 he led the American League in putouts for the first of six times, and received his first of his five consecutive Gold Gloves. In 1966 he again led the league in putouts, and also led in fielding percentage for the first of four times.

Frank Howard – 1973 Topps #560

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Frank Oliver Howard (born August 8, 1936 in Columbus, Ohio), nicknamed “Chico”, “The Washington Monument”, and “The Capital Punisher”, is a former left and right fielder, coach and manager in Major League Baseball who played most of his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Senators/Texas Rangers. One of the most physically intimidating (6 ft 8 in) hitters in the sport, he was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1960, and went on to lead the American League in home runs and total bases twice each and in slugging average, runs batted in and walks once each. His 382 career home runs were the eighth most by a right-handed hitter when he retired; his 237 home runs in a Washington uniform are a record for any of that city’s several franchises, as are his 1969 totals of 48 HRs and 340 total bases. His Washington/Texas franchise records of 1,172 games, 4,120 at bats, 246 HRs, 1,141 hits, 701 RBI, 544 runs, 155 doubles, 2,074 total bases and a .503 slugging average have variously been broken by Jim Sundberg, Toby Harrah and Juan González. Following his retirement as a player, Howard managed the San Diego Padres in 1981 but finished in last place in both halves of the strike-marred season. With the Mets, he took over as manager for the last 116 games in 1983 after George Bamberger resigned, but again finished in last place. He posted a 93–133 career managerial record. He also coached for the Milwaukee Brewers (1977–80, 1985–86), Mets (1982–83, 1994–96), Seattle Mariners (1987–88), Yankees (1989, 1991–92), and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998–99). Since 2000 he has worked for the Yankees as a player development instructor. He now helps raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Gates Brown – 1973 Topps #508


William James “Gates” Brown (born in Crestline, Ohio on May 2, 1939) is a former Major League Baseball player who spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers (1963–1975). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. In a 13 season career, Brown was a .257 hitter with 84 home runs and 322 runs batted in in 1051 games played. On June 19, 1963, coming off the bench, Brown became the American League’s 11th player to hit a home run in his first at bat. A popular figure among Tigers’ fans, Brown may not have had the defensive skills to make the everyday lineup but he has been considered one of the premier pinch hitters in MLB history. On August 7, 1968, Brown made history. He wasn’t in the starting lineup, so he decided to grab two hot dogs from the clubhouse. He was ordered by manager Mayo Smith to pinch hit. He stuffed the hot dogs in his jersey to hide them from his manager.
“I always wanted to get a hit every time I went to the plate. But this was one time I didn’t want to get a hit. I’ll be damned if I didn’t smack one in the gap and I had to slide into second—head first, no less. I was safe with a double. But when I stood up, I had mustard and ketchup and smashed hot dogs and buns all over me.” The fielders took one look at me, turned their backs and damned near busted a gut laughing at me. My teammates in the dugout went crazy.” After fining Brown $100, Smith said, “What the hell were you doing eating on the bench in the first place?” Brown: “I decided to tell him the truth. I said, ‘I was hungry. Besides, where else can you eat a hot dog and have the best seat in the house’”

Ed Brinkman – 1973 Topps #5


Edwin Albert Brinkman  (December 8, 1941 – September 30, 2008) was a Major League Baseball shortstop. He played fifteen years in the Major League Baseball, led the American League in games played twice, won a Gold Glove Award at shortstop, and had a career batting average of .224. He was also named to the American League All-Star team in 1973. Brinkman was a high school teammate of Pete Rose at Cincinnati’s Western Hills High School. Paul “Pappy” Nohr, the baseball coach at Western Hills, described Rose as “a good ball player, not a Brinkman.” Based on their performance in high school, scouts saw Brinkman rather than Rose as the future superstar. When he was a senior, Ed batted .460 and also won 15 games as a pitcher. Brinkman was paid a large (for the time) bonus of $75,000 by the Washington Senators in 1959. Brinkman later said: “Pete always kidded me that the Washington Senators brought me my bonus in an armored truck. Pete said he had cashed his at the corner store.” He has the record for the number of seasons (seven) with more than 400 at-bats, fewer than 15 home runs, and a batting average lower than .230. Since 1930 only one player with 5000+ at-bats has a lower average. Brinkman’s batting average would have been even worse if it were not for Ted Williams. Brinkman hit .266 and .262 in 1969 and 1970 while playing for Washington Senators teams managed by Williams. Excluding those two seasons, Brinkman’s lifetime average was .214. He committed a then-record low seven errors in 156 games for the division-winning Tigers in 1972. Even with a .203 average, Brinkman was hailed as one of the team’s most valuable players, and he won a Gold Glove that season. Brinkman died on September 30, 2008 due to complications from lung cancer.

*Note: The card and Wikipedia tell two different accounts on the bonus paid by the Washington Senators.

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