In the Hearts of Michiganders, There Lies a Tiger

Paul FournierContributor IJanuary 14, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - 1986:  Kirk Gibson #23 of the Detroit Tigers swings at a pitch during the game against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium in 1986 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

For me, growing up listening to legendary Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell from the spring to fall was like taking a peaceful summer drive up the west coast of Michigan.

Relaxing and most enjoyable.

Harwell made the game of baseball fun. There are no pictures in radio, so when you're listening to a game at home or work, you want to feel like you are part of the game.

Ernie did just that. Thank you, Ernie.

My father, an auto factory worker, would have the radio on in his basement workshop, outside by the garage, or in the cars we rode in.

I was 16-years-old when the Tigers won the 1984 World Series. Growing up in a town 100 miles north of Detroit, it was the first time I got to celebrate any kind of pro championship.

The great Sparky Anderson was the Tigers manager then.

The Hall-of-Fame-bound shortstop Alan Trammell (would you vote him in already?) was the series MVP.

Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish, Marty Castillo, Larry Herndon and Trammell all hit home runs.

Starting pitcher Jack Morris had two wins; Milt Wilcox and Aurelio Lopez had the other two.

These are the players that made being a baseball fan much sweeter than anything else.

In 1968, the Tigers also won the World Series.

They did it with the great names like Kaline, Horton, Cash, Lolich, Northrup, Stanley...the list goes on and on.

And everyone had their favorites back then, too.

My dad's favorite was "Stormin' Norman" Cash; my aunt and my friends' favorite was "Mr. Tiger" Al Kaline.

They were all great baseball players who beat the odds and won against the St. Louis Cardinals and the great Bob Gibson.

In 1945, the Detroit Tigers won the World Series with baseball greats "Hammerin'" Hank Greenburg and Hal Newhouser. They beat the Chicago Cubs.

I find it strange that the Tigers players got paid only $6,443 for winning the series.

Heck, today's players make that much tying their shoelaces for batting practice; a nice gig no doubt.

In 1935, the Detroit Tigers also won the series.

Great players like Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gerhringer, Goose Goslin, and a younger
Greenburg led the way, beating Charlie Grimm and the Chicago Cubs.

In the heart of us Michiganders lies a tiger.

A Detroit Tiger.