By: Jeff Riger
I’m not afraid to admit that I fear Josh Hamilton and you should too.
Hamilton hit 2 homers in 2 games against the Tigers and even though he went 0-4 in the series finale on Wednesday night, the man still destroys Tiger pitching. Of course Hamilton is not just hitting long balls, he also seems to throw his bat into the stands on every swing, almost killing fans and that is just another reason why you should fear the 31 year old from North Carolina. He is lethal! If given too many chances he will make you pay. Hamilton is flat out scary!
But, believe it or not he does NOT make my list of all time “Tiger Killers.”
I have been watching Tiger baseball way too long and along the way I have seen certain players destroy this organization every time they get a chance. Don’t get me wrong, Hamilton does kill the Tigers, but he also does the same to every other team in baseball as well. There is a reason why he will more than likely win the AL MVP this season. In Hamilton’s 36 career games against Detroit he is hitting .291 with 8 HR’s and 26 RBI. He also has an OPS of .855 which isn’t too shabby. However these numbers are nothing in comparison to what he does against other teams. Trust me, when the guy hits almost .400 against a handful of squads in the game, Tiger fans should gracefully take .291 and thank him afterwards.
There are way more players, past and present who hit a lot better than almost 300 against the Tigers and below I want to prove it to you. I have decided to list my all-time “Tiger Killer” team. From catcher to closer, I have put together a team that if assembled would beat Detroit 1,000,000,000 of 1,000,000,000 times.
There have been a lot of catchers over the years that have been a thorn in the side of Detroit but I think Mauer takes the cake here. Guys like Boston’s Jason Varitek and Chicago’s AJ Pierzynski have had fun smoking Tiger’s pitching but Mauer is at a different level. I know that is has been a couple years since
Mauer has been the guy who won batting titles in 2006, 08 and 09 but he has done enough damage to Detroit to start at catcher on this team.
Mauer in 113 games is hitting .315 vs. the Tigers with 11 HR’s, 58 RBI and 129 hits. He has an OPS of .857 and has thrown out a ton of Tiger runners as well on the base path.
1st Base-Jim Thome
This one is easy!
Thome is the ultimate “Tiger Killer!” Whether he was playing for the Indians, White Sox, Twins or even the Phillies, Thome feasted on Tiger pitching, so much in fact that I don’t know why any Detroit manager would allow him to be pitched to anymore. I’m warning you, the below stats might give you nightmares…
I admit that his average against Detroit is not as frightening as some other “Killers” but everything else makes up for it. Thome hits .295, with 66 home runs, 153 RBI and 176 walks in 218 games. Also, Thome has an amazing 1.074 OPS vs. Detroit. Thome is not just a “Tiger Killer” he is a mass murderer.
2nd Base-Roberto Alomar
It’s only fitting that Alomar, a man that I consider the best 2nd basemen of my lifetime gets named to this team. Alomar in 147 games hit .305 against Detroit with 16 homers and 91 RBI. Alomar did not do as much damage to Detroit as some of the other members of this team; however it was very difficult to find a 2nd baseman. Every other position on this club I had a player already in mind, 2nd base was the one spot I had to go searching and researching.
Jeter, like Hamilton kills everyone, not just the Tigers however it is really hard to ignore a .327 AVG with 12 HR’s and 73 RBI in 135 games. The New York Captain also has a .858 OPS vs. the Tigers. Those numbers secure Jeter at short on this team
3rd base-Joe Crede
Some members of this team have outlandish numbers and that is the reason they are here. Crede on the other hand is on this team because he passed the eyeball test. Sure, his .274 AVG and 71 RBI isn’t anything special. However it’s the clutch behavior that this player displayed as the reason he is named to this team. Crede has 25 HR’s in 93 games against Detroit and all of them seemed to come at the worst possible time for the Tigers. Crede only played 9 seasons in the league before having to retire with back issues, if not for that he would still be tormenting Tiger pitching to this very day. I have no doubt about that.
Scott only played in 21 games against Detroit but his numbers cannot be ignored. In those contests, Scott hit a whopping .358 with 10 HR’s and 24 RBI. The Florida native also has a 1.384 OPS against Detroit. In case you were wondering how that unreal OPS broke down, it’s a .488 OBP and a .896 SLG.
Over the span of Reggie Jefferson’s 9 year career, he flat out destroyed Tiger pitching. With a .364 AVG, 8 HR’s, 24 RBI in 54 games, Jefferson is a bona fide “Tiger Killer.” To make matters worse, Jefferson’s OPS is 1.014 in those games as well.
This long time Red Sox only played 65 games against the Tigers but his .329 AVG makes him good enough to be named to this team. Nixon also had 15 HR’s and 43 RBI including a staggering 1.039 OPS vs. Detroit.
Of course Guerrero could also play in the outfield on this team and Thome could take over the DH responsibilities, but that is for the skipper to decide. As for Vlad’s numbers against the Tigers, well they are impressive. Vlad “The Impaler” hits .341 vs. Detroit with 12 HR’s and 52 RBI in 69 games. Guerrero also has an OPS of .940
Starting Pitching Staff
-Roger Clemens- Granted the ERA is a touch high at 4.05 but “the Rocket” is 26 and 11 vs. Detroit that win loss record should be enough to bring him aboard. Clemens also strikes out almost 10 Tigers per 9 innings as well
-Felix Hernandez- “The King” is 9-2 lifetime against the Tigers with a .262 ERA in 78 innings pitched
-Mark Buehrle- 18-10 with a 3.36 ERA in 230.1 innings pitched
-Kevin Slowey-His ERA is pretty high at 5.74 and his WHIP is an underwhelming 1.512 but somehow he is 5 and 1 against Detroit. It’s a given that a pitchers record proves nothing as to how effective he is, however he beats the Tigers and that is the goal of this team. Slowey makes the team.
-Every pitcher that the Tigers employed from 1996 until 2005. Let’s face it, this is a “Tiger Killer” list and those pitchers, pitching for Detroit killed the Tigers more than anybody else. Of course Randy Smith didn’t help either.
Sure there have been a million closers that have stopped the Tigers on numerous occasions but Nathan seems like a good choice here. In almost 60 innings pitched Nathan sports a 1.51 ERA against the Tigers with 36 saves.
So there it is my “Tiger Killer” team.
Who did I miss? What did I get wrong? Let me know! Thanks for reading.