Ranking the 5 Best Hitting Duos in Detroit Tigers History

Josh Berenter@JBerenterCorrespondent IMay 15, 2013

Ranking the 5 Best Hitting Duos in Detroit Tigers History

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    Everyone knows it takes two to tango, and the Detroit Tigers have had several combinations that have danced their way to stardom together.

    Detroit has a rich history of offensive power in the franchise's 113-year history, and boasted several duos that stood above the rest and struck fear in opposing pitchers.

    A dominant duo in a team's starting lineup has the ability to make the whole roster better, and make life very difficult for opposing teams.

    Here are the five best hitting duos in Tigers history:

5) Bobby Higginson and Tony Clark: 1996-2001

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    Tony Clark and Bobby Higginson didn't play together in Detroit for long, and when they were teammates the Tigers didn't do very well, but the duo was one of the few bright spots that gave the Tigers hope.

    Higginson broke into the big leagues full-time in 1995 and was joined in Detroit by Clark—who proceed to finish third in Rookie of the Year voting—in 1996.

    Each player had four 20-homer seasons together, topping out with a combined 59 long balls in both 1997 and 1998.

    Higginson and Clark combined to hit 290 home runs and 989 RBIs in their six seasons together. Each of them hit at least 12 homers every season while they were teammates, and each had two 100-RBI years.


4) Willie Horton and Al Kaline: 1965-1974

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    In 1968, Willie Horton and Al Kaline helped lead the Tigers to their first World Championship since 1945.

    During the 1968 season, Kaline and Horton combined for 46 home runs and 138 RBIs, and Horton finished fourth in the MVP race.

    Kaline finished that season with a .287 average, but he had done most of his damage prior to that magical season.

    Kaline finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1954 and was named to the All-Star team for the next 13 seasons.

    In 1965, Horton replicated Kaline's rookie success in his first full year with the Tigers, hitting 29 home runs with 104 RBIs, earning an all-star appearance and finishing eighth in the MVP vote.

    From then on, Horton and Kaline were a force to be reckoned with every season in the Tigers lineup.

    From 1965 to 1974, the two combined for 388 home runs and 1,418 RBIs, while they both averaged at least .260 every season except 1972 when Horton hit .231.

3) Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford: 1906-1917

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    Before any of our times, Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford led the Tigers to three consecutive World Series appearances from 1907-09.

    Cobb and Crawford played together in Detroit for 12 seasons and produced some of the highest combined RBI totals in team history.

    Neither player hit many home runs, but they drove in runs like a well-oiled machine, combining for an average of 174 RBIs per year.

    They each had five seasons of at least 100 RBIs during that span, helping the Tigers to winning records in nine of their 12 seasons together.

    Crawford had five seasons batting at least .300, while Cobb accomplished the feat every year, including boasting an average above .400 twice.

2) Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder: 2012-Present

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    When it's all said and done for their careers, Cabrera and Fielder will be the best-hitting duo in Tigers history.

    Because they've only been together for just over a year, they haven't earned that distinction yet.

    Cabrera re-wrote the record books in 2012, earning the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and one of the most important people he had to thank was the guy behind him.

    In their first season together, Cabrera averaged .330 while Fielder batted a career-high .313, and the two combined to hit 74 home runs and 247 RBIs.

    To fully appreciate how dominant the portly partners in crime were last season, the Tigers' other six primary position players in 2012 combined for 70 home runs and 305 RBIs.

    And in 2013, Cabrera and Fielder have picked up where they left off.

    Cabrera is hitting .375 so far this year, good for second in the AL, and his 41 RBIs rank first in the league, putting him on pace to hit 36 long balls and 184 RBIs this season.

    Fielder's nine homers and 33 RBIs are tied for fifth and third respectively in the AL, putting him on pace to hit 40 home runs and 148 RBIs this season.

1) Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker: 1978-1995

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    Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker are Detroit's favorite double-play combination of all time.

    It's not often that teammates finish in the top five for Rookie of the Year voting, but in 1978, that's exactly what the Tigers' duo did, with Trammell finishing fourth and Whitaker taking home the honor.

    In their 17 years together donning the Old English "D," Whitaker and Trammell combined for 428 home runs and 2,071 RBIs, while they both maintained a career average close to .300.

    Both were named All-Stars during the magical 1984 season, leading the Tigers to their first World Series Championship since 1968, and they combined for 11 All-Star appearances, including Whitaker's five consecutive appearances from 1983-87.

    Trammell and Whitaker grew to be best friends on and off the field during their time in Detroit, and neither infielder ever put on another uniform as a player.