Best Transaction: Signed Harvey Kuenn as an amateur free agent. Kuenn ended up a being a “professional hitter” and played in Detroit until 1960. As a Tiger he led the AL in hits four times and doubles twice. Sadly, he didn’t really do much for this particular Tigers team, appearing in only 19 games at the end of the season. The Tigers also traded away Vic Wertz later in the season.
Worst Transaction: On June 3rd, the Tigers traded away All-Stars Dizzy Trout and George Kell, among others to the Boston Red Sox for five players. The five guys the Tigers got in return contributed some, but none of them did what Kell did after he left.
Upper: Walt Dropo was one of the players the Tigers got in the Kell trade. Dropo played well in 1952 and slugged 23 home runs in 115 games. Sadly, Dropo would never reach the 20 home run mark the rest of his career. The former Rookie of the Year winner was washed up by the time he was 30. However, Dropo led this Tigers team in both home runs and RBI.
Downer: The pitching staff for the ‘52 Tigers was an absolute joke. Their starting rotation featured a 17 game loser, a 19 games loser, and a 20 game loser (very similar to the 2003 club). An aging Virgil Trucks went 5-19 and Art Houtteman played the role of Mike Maroth, losing 20 games. In the pen the team had Hal White and Billy Hoeft who went a combined 3-15.
Summary: Just an awful team all the way around. This team is especially disappointing when you consider that just two years earlier in 1950 the team was 95-59. Just an unbelievable collapse. This team was so bad that they ended the season 45 games out of first place in the American League (then only eight teams strong). Also similar to the 2003 team, the 1952 Tigers started the season 0-8 and never really had a shot. Their season was essentially over the first week of the year. I ripped on the pitching a lot in this post, but the Tigers offense was shutout out 18 times.
Detroit Tigers promote prized pitcher Casey Mize to Double-A Erie