Cup of Coffee: Pt. 3

Blake VandeBunteContributor IOctober 17, 2009

393274 05: A vintage photo and practice bat belonging to legendary ballplayer Herman 'Babe' Ruth sit on a table August 15, 2001 during a press conference to announce a public initiative to honor Ruth in Boston, MA. Ruth led the 1918 Red Sox to a World Series, but was traded the following year to the rival New York Yankees. Since then the Red Sox have gone 82 seasons without another championship. The drought has become known locally as the 'Curse of the Bambino.' The public initiative to honor Ruth is also designed to lift the curse. Red Sox management have never honored Ruth and will not participate in the September ceremony. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Part 1

Part 2

Grand Cards gives us the baseball cards of these guys

Now onto part three…

  • Roy Face: Face spent 16 years in the big leagues and pitched only one inning for the 1968 Tigers at the age of 40. Face was in the twilight of his career when he got a brief call for the title-winning Tigers. He spent 15 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was one of the premier relievers in all of baseball. Face became the first player in big league history to have at least two 20-save seasons, and is probably most famous for his 1959 season.  That year, Face pitched in relief 57 times and put together a record of 18-1. He retired after the 1969 season.
  • William “Kid” Gleason: Gleason is remembered for a few reasons.  He had a long and productive big league career as both a pitcher and a second basemen. He is one of very few players in big league history to play in four different decades (1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s). Gleason played 22 big league seasons, and two of them were with the Tigers in 1901 and 1902. He was a full-time player for the Tigers and their starting second baseman. Gleason is probably best remembered as the manager of the 1919 Chicago White Sox that threw the World Series. He was not at all implicated in the conspiracy.
  • Juan Gonzalez: Ugh. This one still stings a little bit. Gonzalez hit 434 big league home runs and the Tigers pulled off a major trade to bring him to Detroit and help usher in Comerica Park in its inaugural season. He failed miserably, hitting only 22 HR and complaining constantly. He was a two-time MVP and he never lived up to his billing in Detroit. He left after the season as a free agent.
  • Luis Gonzalez: This Gonzalez is generally referred to as one of the nicest guys in the game. He spent 19 seasons in the big leagues and made a one-year stop in Detroit in 1998. That season, Gonzo hit 23 HR and stole 12 bases. The Tigers GM at the time, Randy Smith, then traded Gonzalez to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Karim Garcia. Three seasons later, Gonzalez hit 57 home runs and led Arizona to a World Series win. Meanwhile, Garcia had already worn out his welcome in Detroit and was playing in Cleveland.
  • Beiker Graterol: I include Beiker here for two reasons: 1) He has a sweet name. 2) He appeared in only one big league game his entire pro career. You don’t see that very often.
  • Bob Hamelin: Hamelin won the Rookie of the Year award in 1994 after slugging 24 HR in only 101 games with the Kansas City Royals. However, he hit .168 the following season and was soon on his way out of KC. In 1997, he was released by the Royals and signed with the Tigers. He played one season with the Tigers and wasn’t too bad. Hamelin was the Tigers' primary DH in 1997 and responded with 18 home runs. However, he was not brought back and last appeared in the big leagues in 1998 with the Brewers.
  • Bucky Harris: Harris played briefly with the Tigers in 1929 and 1931 as a player-manager. He made only a few plate appearances in a Tigers uniform. However, he was known as a great defender earlier in his career with the Washington Senators, and led the league in sacrifice bunts three times. Harris really made a name for himself as a manager and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975 for his accomplishments in that position.  As a manger, he won three pennants and two World Series titles (one with the Senators and another with the Yankees). He managed the Tigers for five seasons and had only one winning season.
  • Babe Herman: Herman spent 13 seasons in the big leagues and got 20 at-bats for the 1937 Tigers. Herman hit for the cycle three times in his career, the most ever by a single player. In 1930, while with the Dodgers, Herman hit .393 and sluggled 35 home runs. Herman was one of the most feared power hitters of the 1930s and retired with a batting average of .324.
  • Frank Howard: The original “Big Frank”, Howard stood 6′7” and weighed over 250 pounds. He led the American League in home runs twice and slugged 382 of them in his 16 years as a big leaguer. He played for the Tigers in 1972 and 1973 before retiring at the age of 36. Hondo won the Rookie of the Year award in 1960 and made four all-star teams. When he retired, he was the Senators/Rangers all-time leader in several offensive categories.

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