By: Jeff Riger
It was just a matter of time!
Everybody knew that Ryan Raburn would not be on the Tigers roster come 2013 and on Tuesday the team made it official. The Tigers parted ways with Raburn by releasing him after GM Dave Dombrowski admitted that he could not trade the 31 year old.
You know that overplayed song “Celebration” that you hear everywhere? Yeah play that now as Detroit, as a whole threw one long party on Tuesday to commence the exit of one of the all-time most hated Detroit Tigers. In fact there was even a couple of signs at this make believe celebration that simply said “I hope that he runs into one” which manager Jim Leyland was fond of saying every time he inserted Raburn into the lineup.
So now what? Who is the new Tigers whipping boy? Who will feel the fans wrath next?
The answer; who cares. This blog is not about that, instead it’s about something much more important, something that I have been thinking about for a long, long time.
Which former Tigers make up the All Time Hated Detroit Tigers team?
To be fair, I have waited to write this blog until all members of the team have left town. I didn’t want to write this prematurely, only to have one position player or pitcher all of a sudden become loved after doing something big in a big game. As soon as I heard Raburn was out, I started writing.
So here goes, below I have listed my All Time Hated Tigers team position by position. I even included a starting rotation and a bullpen.
1st Base-Aubrey Huff
Huff hit a whopping .189 with a .567 OPS in 40 games with the Tigers and let’s not forgets he also added 2 long balls and 13 RBI, gee thanks for that. Detroit acquired Huff from the Orioles at the trade deadline in 2009 and even though he never actually played a game at first base, I don’t care. He has played first with other teams, so he is my pick! Of course 2009 was the year where the Tigers blew a 3 game lead with 4 to play and were forced to play the Twins in that infamous game 163. If Huff could have provided any offense for Detroit that year, he could have been the separating factor between the club and the postseason. Oh yeah, it also stings a bit that Huff went on to win a World Series with the Giants the following year. He hit .290 with 86 RBI and 26 homers that season and was a top ten MVP candidate.
2nd Base-Ryan Raburn
The hate did not start for Ryan Raburn until maybe the 2011 season where once again the veteran struggled to hit in the first half of the year. So in 2012, all Tiger fans including myself figured Raburn would figure things out in July, August and September after struggling once again in the first half of the year. Raburn only played 66 games with the Tigers in 2012 and during that time he hit .171 with 1 homer and 12 RBI. Late in the season, Raburn got a couple of starts which infuriated the fans and it got to the point where I think everybody figured he would not be back in 2013. Jim Leyland also came on with “Stoney and Bill” one morning and admitted that playing Raburn so much was one of his biggest regrets. Raburn making this team was a very obvious choice.
Shortstop- Edgar Renteria
Renteria was a Tiger for one entire season before leaving town the following year. The Tigers acquired Renteria from the Braves in 2008, thinking they could use the veteran’s bat and leadership to win a World Series. Of course that was the season where the Tiger first got Miguel Cabrera and were supposed to score 1000 runs. Well, Detroit finished last in the division that season, even the Royals had a better record. Renteria was not purely at fault as to why the Tigers struggled that season but he surly did not help. Renteria hit .270 in 2008 with 55 RBI and 10 homers with the majority of that offense coming when the Tigers were well out of the playoff race. Like Huff, Renteria went to the Giants after his time with the Tigers and ended up being the World Series MVP when San Francisco beat the Rangers in 2010. He hit over .400 in that series. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention one thing, Detroit traded Jair Jurrjens to get Renteria in 2008. Jurrjens is just 26 years old and already has over 50 MLB wins to his name.
3rd Base- Don Kelly
Ok, I know what you are thinking? How can Kelly be the 3rd baseman on this team? Right? Well, I had to, you will soon find out why. Anyway, Kelly is actually a great guy who has had some big time moments in the postseason. However he struggled in 2012 and actually was designated for assignment before being called back up and playing for the Tigers in September. It’s actually not Kelly’s fault that he made this list as much as it’s Leyland’s as he played the 32 year old down the stretch in some very important games. Sure Kelly is not the most hated of this team, but I guarantee he deserves to be here.
Catcher- Brandon Inge
I needed a catcher and could not think of one that deserved to make this team so that is why I made the Kelly move to third and put Inge here. Hands down, Brandon Inge took the most hate from fans in 2012 before he was eventually designated for assignment and went to play for the A’s. I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time on this selection seeing everybody already knows the long, long story of Detroit’s hate and Inge.
Juan Gone was not only hated as a Tiger but just flat out pathetic. The Tigers traded for Gonzalez before the 2000 season in hopes that he would help put butts in the seats at a brand new Comerica Park and actually help them win games too. It didn’t work. Detroit gave up 6 players, some which turned out to be rather decent to get Juan Gone. Gonzalez played in just 115 games that season where he hit .289 with 67 RBI and 22 homers. Sure those aren’t awful numbers, but they didn’t warrant the hype, trade or anything else that Juan Gone was supposed to provide here. He lasted just one season in Detroit. Who can forget the rumor that the Tigers wanted to sign him long term and pay him a ton? Fans are very thankful that did not happen
In 2000 Higginson hit .300 with 102 RBI and 30 homers and never was the same after. After 2000, Higginson singed a 5 year deal worth over 40 million dollars and then started to stink. I admit that this pick is maybe more personal than the rest, but trust me, people hated Bobby Higginson.
Shef had the potential to be a great Tiger. He came to Motown in 2007 and was supposed to be the man to get the Tigers back to the World Series. Obviously that did not happen, as Shef injured his shoulder and struggled the rest of his Detroit career.
DH- Delmon Young
Raise your hand if you’re upset that Young is no longer a Tiger? Exactly
Willis came over in the trade for Miguel Cabrera in 2008 and instantly became the laughing stock of the fan base. He had no control; he won a total of 2 games and got a healthy extension as well. People still to this day are outraged with the entire D-Train experience.
Bondo never realized his potential. He came to Detroit at age 20 and seemed to get worse as his career went on. Towards the end, Bondo struggled to get out of the first inning, but if he did he usually calmed down and was able to give you 6 or 7. It got to the point where the Tigers and the fan base could no longer wait for Bonderman to realize his potential.
Detroit acquired Washburn from Seattle who at the time had the best ERA in the American league. After becoming a Tiger, Washburn pitched in just 4 games where he saw his ERA shoot up to above 7. After that, Washburn never pitched again in 2009 or for that matter his career.
Weaver was supposed to be a Tiger pitching savior. He underachieved in his Detroit career before being traded away. Seasons later, Weaver won a World Series game against Detroit when he pitched for the Cardinals in 2006. He has a ring and the Tigers don’t. That is reason enough to hate the guy!
Fans hated him, even though he proved to be a very serviceable 5th starter. He went 11-11 in 2011 and then left town. Some of the hate might have also come from Penny’s ability to get hot women! Penny had quite the resume and fans might have been jealous that such a mediocre pitcher was landing such hot tail. Maybe?
There are a lot of closers in my pen as that is where most of the hatred was directed at… These are in no particular order.
Matt Anderson, Fernando Rodney, Jose Valverde, Todd Jones, Jason Grille, Ryan Perry, Mike Henneman and Franklin German
So, who did I miss???