By: Jeff Riger
Wednesday was a bizarre day!
Early in the day news came out that former Tiger, Ryan Raburn had signed a two year extension with the Indians worth almost five million dollars. Raburn has done well in his new home, playing sporadically and hitting .274 with 13 homers and 38 RBI. The Indians are not counting on Raburn to be an everyday player and that is probably why he has had success. Jim Leyland’s biggest regret of last season, when Raburn could not even hit .180 was that he used the Tiger vet way too much.
Despite having success on a rival-divisional team, Tigers fans no doubt are happy for Raburn, not that that he signed a new contract but simply because he is out of town and not wearing the Old English D anymore.
And, then there was the news that the Tigers have parted ways officially with Jose Valverde on Wednesday.
This news came as a shock to nobody and to be honest most Detroit fans may not even be aware that Valverde is gone. Once Papa was sent to Triple A, most fans were happy to forget about him. Even when the organization claimed that he might close again for the Tigers, nobody was really worried, knowing how bad he had been for quite some time.
But it is interesting to say the least.
Two guys that Detroit fans ended up despising made news on the same day, one good and one expected.
So I started thinking…
What Tigers were hated by Detroit fans? Who were the guys that fans couldn’t wait to run out of town? Below I have compiled my top five
5. Juan Gonzalez-
It doesn’t matter how well he played here, fans wanted Juan, gone almost immediately. There was injuries that he refused to play though, there was the overwhelming feeling that he didn’t want to be here and of course there was the rumored contract that Tigers fans thank God never happened. Gonzalez was a disappointment from the get go and what made the situation even worse is that the team traded 8 players to get him.
4. Todd Jones-
For the most part, Todd Jones was a very good Tigers closer but don’t tell that to the many people that watch Detroit baseball every evening. Jones got the job done on most nights, but when he blew a save, it was a monumental blow up. No matter how many saves Jones collected he was always a roller coaster (a name Ernie Harwell gave him) out there. He always made you nervous until the last out was reordered. Jones, I believe ushered in a new era of Tigers baseball as he was really the first guy that fans openly despised on radio shows and message boards. There were many players that followed and felt the hate as Detroit got good, but Jones was the first of a long list.
3. Bobby Higginson-
One good season and then nothing! That describes “Higgy” who had all the potential in the world. I’m sure there are still some people that still hold Higginson in the highest regards, I’m just not sure where they live.
2. Ryan Raburn-
Raburn was a non factor for the Tigers for a very long time. Very few people considered him their favorite player but he was never hated either. Well that changed last season when fans grew impatient with seeing Raburn play every day at second base or in the outfield. To be fair, Detroit just got finished running Brandon Inge out of town so fans needed somebody else to despise and Raburn and his lackluster average and defense was the perfect candidate.
1A. Brandon Inge-
I remember a series against the Rangers at Comerica Park last year when Brandon Inge was booed like nobody I have ever heard in downtown Detroit. Inge just had a knack for hanging around and pissing people off with his play and quotes. Whether Inge’s word were misconstrued or not it didn’t matter. Fans could not wait for him to leave town and when he came back that only fueled the fire. Sure there were always Inge supporters out there but they became less and less as his career in Detroit progressed.
1B. Jose Valverde-
If it wasn’t for game one of the ALCS against the Yankees, or game four of the ALDS against the A’s or this year against the Royals, fans might actually still like Valverde. Unfortunately for Valverde those games happened along with a lot of others where he imploded. I’m not sure the fans hated Valverde as much as Inge but it was damn close.
So who did I miss? There are plenty candidates out there.