Murderers' Row Reincarnate: 2008 Detroit Tigers

Thomas CoglianoCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2008

The 1927 New York Yankees have always been considered the quintessential team of the Twentieth Century.

Nicknamed "Murderers’ Row,” the 1927 Yankees, led by their crushing batting lineup, cruised to the American League pennant by finishing the season 19 games above the second place Philadelphia Athletics.

The team won 110 of the 154 games it played during that season. The Yankees led all of Major League Baseball (both American League and National League) in a plethora of categories: home runs, triples, team batting average, team slugging average, and team wins.

But perhaps the most famous feature of the 1927 Yankees was their ferocious batting lineup.

Two power-hitting Hall of Famers, Babe Ruth (OF), who smashed 60 home runs in 1927, and Lou Gehrig (1B), who smashed 47 home runs in 1927, anchored the lineup.

Besides these two, the Yankees featured a series of clutch hitters: Tony Lazzeri (2B), Mark Koenig (SS), Joe Dugan (3B), Earle Combs (OF), Bob Meusal (OF), and Pat Collins (C).

Of these eight players, Joe Dugan posted the lowest batting average of the bunch at .269. Think about that; the lowest batting average posted by a member of the starting eight for the 1927 Yankees was .269.

Only Joe Dugan, Mark Koenig, and Pat Collins posted batting averages below .300.  The other five members of the team’s starting eight posted batting averages well above .300.  In fact, three players, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig, posted batting averages above .350. 

As a definitive exclamation mark to their historic season, the New York Yankees went on to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in four straight games in the 1927 World Series. 

What was the point of this summary?

In 2008, Major League Baseball is about to witness the reincarnation of the "Murderers’ Row." 

Where is that great team? In the Motor City, home of the Detroit Tigers.

With the lineup the Tigers have going for this season, Jim Leyland and company will be in a terrific position to become an absolute dynasty for at least the next five seasons.

Let us examine the starting nine for the Detroit Tigers this season.

1. Curtis Granderson (CF): One of the fastest players in baseball is a potential leader in stolen bases.

2. Placido Polanco (2B): The terrific hitter and slick infielder batted .341 last season.

3. Magglio Ordonez (RF): The defending AL Batting Champion posted a .363 average in 2007.

4. Miguel Cabrera (3B): The all-time home run leader for the Florida Marlins will surely blast balls again.

5. Gary Sheffield (DH): The veteran slugger is renowned for tape-measure, gopher-ball shots.

6. Carlos Guillen (1B): He batted .296 last season and has underrated defensive talents.

7. Edgar Renteria (SS): The fantastic defensive player batted .332 last season for the Atlanta Braves.

8. Ivan Rodriguez (C): He is arguably the greatest defensive catcher of all time.

9. Jacque Jones (LF): The clutch-hitting veteran will look to repeat his prime performances from his days with the Twins and Cubs


Last season was a fluke season for the Tigers, who did poorly with essentially the same team that won the American League pennant two years ago.

But the Tigers improved in the offseason picking up Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, and Dontrelle Willis, all former All-Stars and World Series champions. And several were a part of that pennant-winning 2006 club.

So this team is filled with players with October experience. And having a lot of October experience matters; just ask last year’s Red Sox, who cruised to their second World Series title.

P.S. To all of you Cleveland Indian fans out there, I do predict that the Indians will make the the wild card.


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