Cup of Coffee: Pt. Four

Blake VandeBunteContributor IOctober 20, 2009

1989:  Outfielder Fred Lynn of the Detroit Tigers at bat during a game. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four…

  • Jair Jurrjens:  Too soon?
  • Ray Knight:  Knight had a long and productive big league career with five different teams.  He spent the bulk of his career with the Cincinnati Reds.  Knight ranked in the top 10 in batting average three times during his career and is best known for scoring as a result of Bill Buckner’s error in game six of the 1986 World Series as a member of the New York Mets.  Knight played for the Tigers in 1988 and retired after hitting only .217.
  • Clem Labine:  Labine was a key member on a couple of very good Brooklyn Dodgers clubs in the 1950s.  He was the National League leader in saves twice while with the Dodgers.  The Dodgers won the World Series in the 1955 and Labine notched a save and a win in the series.  In 1960, well past his prime, Labine appeared in 14 games for the Tigers.  He retired in 1962.
  • Fred Lynn:  Lynn had a great big league career, but he’s probably still best known for his rookie season of 1975.  That season, Lynn won the American League Rookie of the Year Award and the MVP while with the Boston Red Sox.  Ichiro Suzuki is the only other player in big league history to match that feat.  Lynn made nine All-Star teams in his career and won four Gold Glove awards as an outfielder.  The Tigers traded for Lynn prior to the 1988 trade deadline for Chris Hoiles (Hoiles would have a decent big league career).  The trade for Lynn was a bust as he hit below .240 for the Tigers in 1988 and 1989.  He retired following the 1990 season.
  • Billy Maharg:  This guy led quite an interesting life.  During the 1912 season, the entire Tigers roster went on strike over the suspension of Ty Cobb.  The Tigers had a game scheduled, so instead of forfeiting, they pieced together a roster or has-beens and young college guys.  Maharg was one of these guys.  He got one at-bat for the Tigers that season and made an out.  Seven years later, Maharg was involved in the Black Sox scandal of 1919.  It is believed that he took the idea to big time gambler, Arnold Rothstein.  Good stuff.
  • Mike Marshall:  Marshall was a pitcher who had his best seasons as a reliever with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970s.  Marshall is featured quite a bit in the book, “Ball Four”, by Jim Bouton.  Marshall was one of the few guys in the book that Bouton paints a favorable picture of.  Marshall’s big break as a ball player came in 1974 when he won the NL Cy Young award and appeared in a big league record, 106 games.  At one point he appeared in 13 consecutive games.  He made his big debut with the Tigers in 1967.  He appeared in 59 innings that season before being taken by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft.
  • Billy Martin:  Martin is best known for his angry demeanor and for managing the New York Yankees five different times.  Martin was a fine player in his day, known for his defense in the infield and for doing the little things at the plate.  His best years were with the Yankees from 1950-57.  Martin played for the Tigers in 1958.  He would later manage the Tigers for three seasons in the 1970s.
  • Eddie Mathews:  Mathews is one of the Hall of Famers on this list.  Mathews spent almost his entire career with Braves organization and is one of the greatest third baseman of all-time.  Mathews his 47 home runs in 1953 at the tender age of 21.  He would go on to hit 512 HR and make nine all-star teams.  Mathews came to the Tigers in 1967 at the age of 35.  This was before the day of the designated hitter, so the aging Mathews was used primarily as a pinch-hitter in the 1967-68.  In the 1968 World Series, Mathews picked up a hit in three at-bats and then retired.

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