By: Will Burchfield
In four years with the Tigers, Ian Kinsler earned himself a lot of fans.
It’s easy to root for a guy who plays his tail off every day.
Oh, Kinsler put up the numbers. No doubt about that. 78 home runs and 300 RBI almost exclusively from the leadoff spot and nothing but stellar defense at second base. An All-Star in 2014 and a Gold Glove winner in 2016.
But he appealed to the fans, most fundamentally, for his heart-and-hustle style of play. Angels fans will take to him for the same reason.
The trade that sent Kinsler to the Angels on Wednesday was a must for the Tigers. It left a hole in the heart of this fanbase nevertheless.
Kinsler let it be known on Thursday the feeling was mutual.
“To the fans and the city of Detroit, this might sound cliche, because every athlete seems to say the same thing, truly you have been a blessing to me and my family for the last 4 years. You will be missed,” Kinsler wrote on Instagram.
As much as Kinsler made an impact on the fans, he rubbed off on his teammates even more. Especially the young ones. Daniel Norris, Michael Fulmer and Joe Jimenez each paid tribute to Kinsler after the trade.
Norris, an avid photographer, shared a portrait of Kinsler with the caption, “Yes, you are an angel. Thanks for everything Kins for real.”
Said Fulmer, “Thank you for all you have done in teaching me how to play the game the right way.”
Jimenez simply said, “Stay strong mi hermano.”
Kinsler will return to Detroit with the Angels for a four-game series at the end of May.