Cup of Coffee: Part 6

Blake VandeBunteContributor IOctober 24, 2009

Below is part six of this ever-expanding series.  This is the final post.  Enjoy.

  • Edgar Renteria:  We all know that the Tigers gave up Jair Jurrjens to bring Renteria to Detroit for the 2008 season.  He was supposed to help put the Tigers over the top and back into the postseason.  Things just didn’t work out.  Renteria struggled mightily in his one season in Detroit and was gone at the end of the season and the Tigers had nothing to show for it.  When he’s not sucking things up in the American League (the Red Sox had a similar experience with Renteria) Renteria is a five-time All-Star that has also won a couple of Gold Gloves.  Things just didn’t work out in Detroit.
  • Cody Ross:  Ross made his big league debut on that awful 2003 Tigers team.  He hit a home run but got only 19 at-bats with the club.  Ross was traded the following April to the Dodgers for reliever Steve Colyer who amounted to nothing in Detroit.  Ross has hit 46 home runs the last two years for the Marlins and plays decent defense in the outfield.
  • Ruben Sierra:  Sierra was once a feared slugger in the 1980s and early 1990s.  However, he soon became a journeyman and was involved in trades involving the likes of Jose Canseco, Cecil Fielder, Danny Tartabull and Marcus Thames.  Sierra came to Detroit in 1996 in the big Cecil Fielder deal.  Sierra hit a pathetic .222 in his 46 games with the Tigers and was gone the following year.  Sierra appeared in four All-Star games prior to his time in Detroit and led the league in slugging, RBI, and triples in 1989 with the Rangers.
  • Al Simmons:  Simmons is an all-time great and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.  He spent his best seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1920s and 1930s.  Simmons retired with over 300 homers and put together a streak of 11 consecutive seasons with at least 100 RBI.  Impressive.  Simmons joined the Tigers in 1936 and hit .327 with 112 RBI.  What’s puzzling is how the money worked out in his deals involving the Tigers.  Back then players were commonly bought and sold and Simmons was no different.  The Tigers bought him from the White Sox for $75,000 before the 1936 season and he was coming off a down year.  He then went to Detroit and had a decent year and the Tigers responded by selling him to the Washington Senators for only $15,000.
  • Matt Stairs:  Stairs defined “Cup of Coffee” with his stint in Detroit in 2006.  The Tigers got him after the waiver deadline in August, so Stairs was not eligible for postseason play.  However, the Tigers needed some lefty pop down the stretch.  Stairs played in only 14 games for the Tigers and hit two of his 259 career homers in a Tigers uniform.
  • Sam Thompson:  Thompson, like Simmons, is a Hall of Famer who spent only one season in Detroit for the Tigers.  Thompson started his career in Detroit with the Detroit Wolverines of the National League.  Thompson has seasons of 165 and 166 RBI, topped the 20 triples mark three times, and lead the league in home runs twice.  When he retired he was second on the all-time home run list.  His only season with the Tigers was his last season in the big leagues, 1906.  He joined the Hall of Fame in 1974, over 50 years after his death.
  • Ugueth Urbina:  Urbina was a dominant closer before coming to Detroit.  He wasn’t awful in Detroit, but his stay was brief.  Urbina lead the NL in saves in 1999 with the Expos and was the closer for the Marlins 2003 championship team.  Urbina signed a free agent deal with the Tigers prior to the 2004 season and saved 21 games that season.  In 2005, Urbina was traded to the Phillies in a deal that brought Placido Polanco to Detroit.  Urbina is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence in Venezuela on an attempted murder conviction.
  • Todd Van Poppel:  Van Poppel was labeled as a can’t miss prospect when he was drafted out of high school in 1990s by the Oakland Athletics.  Except, Van Poppel did miss.  He’s kind of like the Darko Milicic or Ryan Leaf of Major League Baseball.  He hung around the big leagues for 11 years but retired with an ERA of 5.58 and a 40-52 record.  He threw 36 innings for the Tigers in 1996 and posted an ERA of 11.39.  It’s hard to stick around for 36 innings when you’re that bad.  In fact, that season (he split time with the Tigers and Athletics) Van Poppel had an ERA of 9.06 in 99.1 innings.  No one in the history of the game has matched that mark.
  • Earl Webb:  Webb is a bit of a baseball footmark.  He didn’t debut until he was 27 years old and his career lasted only 650 games.  However, Webb is a record holder.  In 1931, while with the Boston Red Sox, Webb hit an amazing 67 doubles, a record that still stands.  Webb played for the Tigers in 1932-33 and hit only 19 doubles.
  • Lefty Williams:  Williams was a World Series winner with the 1917 White Sox and suspended for life after the 1920 season when he was one of the best pitchers in alll of baseball.  Williams was a member of the 1919 Black Sox team and he was integral in blowing the series.  In 1919, Williams 23-11 and started 40 games and had a 2.64 ERA.  However, in the World Series against the Reds, Williams went 0-3 in three starts with an ERA of 6.61.  Interesting, right?  The following year he won 22 games but received a lifetime ban.  Williams played in Detroit in 1913 and 1914 and went 1-4 in limited action.

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