The Mount Rushmore of the Detroit Tigers

1984 Topps #666 Tigers Leaders - Lou Whitaker and Jack Morris

OK…let’s get one of the big franchises out of the way. The Tigers are another team that joined MLB in 1901 (although they were founded in 1894). In 111 years, the Tigers have had only 12 first-place finishes. Three of them came in 1907 to 1909 but they lost the World Series each year. They made 7 more World Series and won it in 1984, 1968, 1945, and 1935.

Here are the top 15 Tigers batters by WAR:

Rk Player WAR/pos From To
1 Ty Cobb 139.2 1905 1926
2 Al Kaline 87.4 1953 1974
3 Charlie Gehringer 76.6 1924 1942
4 Lou Whitaker 71.4 1977 1995
5 Alan Trammell 67.1 1977 1996
6 Harry Heilmann 62.9 1914 1929
7 Sam Crawford 59.3 1903 1917
8 Hank Greenberg 51.9 1930 1946
9 Norm Cash 48.0 1960 1974
10 Bobby Veach 42.5 1912 1923
11 Bill Freehan 41.3 1961 1976
12 Donie Bush 36.1 1908 1921
13 Dick McAuliffe 34.5 1960 1973
14 Chet Lemon 28.7 1982 1990
15 Rudy York 28.3 1934 1945
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/7/2012.

So, let’s talk about Ty Cobb. He’s one of the very best baseball players in history–an inner-circle Hall of Famer no matter how you look at it. But do you put him on the team’s Mount Rushmore? He was pretty clearly a massive jerk and may not be the kind of character who deserves to be on a monument like this…

Then there are Al Kaline and Charlie Gehringer–two guys who would have made it for any team we’ve already look at in this series, but do they make it here?

There are also a lot of Tigers from more recent years who may deserve some consideration. Kirk Gibson, Magglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera all come to mind.

Let’s look at pitchers:

Rk Player WAR From To
1 Hal Newhouser 54.5 1939 1953
2 Tommy Bridges 48.1 1930 1946
3 Mickey Lolich 42.8 1963 1975
4 Dizzy Trout 40.9 1939 1952
5 Jack Morris 34.4 1977 1990
6 Bill Donovan 32.0 1903 1918
7 George Mullin 31.1 1902 1913
8 Hooks Dauss 30.6 1912 1926
9 Justin Verlander 29.7 2005 2012
10 John Hiller 29.6 1965 1980
11 Jim Bunning 27.8 1955 1963
12 Frank Lary 26.7 1954 1964
13 Virgil Trucks 24.6 1941 1956
14 Ed Killian 22.7 1904 1910
15 Schoolboy Rowe 21.5 1933 1942
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/7/2012.

Interesting that there’s no runaway leader. It’s also kind of amazing that Denny McLain doesn’t make the top 15.

There are a few other guys who deserve mention for post-season heroics: Jim Northrup, Tommy Bridges, and Kenny Rogers. (Oh wait, Tommy Bridges is already up there…but there you go.)

Wow…so many players to choose from. Let’s give it a try…please vote for 4:


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98 Comments on "The Mount Rushmore of the Detroit Tigers"

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Jeff H
Guest

I had to vote Trammell and Whitaker for this, since they get no HOF love. Cobb and Kaline round out the mount.

Jeff
Guest

I had to go with Trammell, Whitaker, Cobb and Kaline also. Trammell and Whitaker are the best keystone combination; you can’t have one without the other. Kaline is Mr. Tiger, so you can’t leave him off. And Cobb is the best player to ever be on the Tigers, so he’s a no-brainer.

Phil
Guest

Cobb, Kailine, Greenberg, and I’ll roll the dice on Verlander.

Steven
Guest

Cobb, Kaline, Gehringer and Trammell. Greenberg jusy missed. Couldn’y pick Lolich, Bill Freehan or Willie Horton because I could only tolerate one Tiger from the 1968 team that beat the Cardinals. There seem to be a lot of players on the Tigers who stayed with Detroit for a very long time. That’s impressive.

Library Dave
Guest

Cobb, Kaline, Greenberg and Newhouser. Cobb and Kaline speak for themselves, and Greenberg put up great numbers while still losing three prime years to military service. If you’re going to have a pitcher (and for balance I think you need one), then it has to be Newhouser. Two MVP awards, another 2nd place finish, had a stretch leading the league in wins four out of five years. Finished with a 130 OPS+, which is better than Gibson, Seaver and Marichal among many others.

no statistician but
Guest
Some comments: 1) It seems unfair that Cobb, Kaline, and Gehringer are so outstanding. To someone with no emotional ties to the franchise that leaves only one position open, especially since the three represent among them three different eras. Trammell almost has to be the fourth, leaving out Heilmann, Crawford, Greenberg, Newhouser—all worthy options. Almost as difficult as the Yankees. 2) Notwithstanding the lack of support Gehringer seems to be getting so far—the emotionless “Mechanical Man,” true—taking Whittaker before him seems a bias based on little more than familiarity. 3) I don’t honestly believe Cobb was well over twice as… Read more »
Gabriel
Guest
I went through the exact same thought process as you, though I took Whitaker, not Trammel. If I were carving this mountain, I might have one side of the 4th face be Lou and the other Alan — in fact, if I ran this blog, I might have made that an option! As an A’s fan, this vote was such a contrast with the A’s Mt Rushmore, since the Tigers have had so many great players who spent their entire careers with the team. On the flip side, I think the A’s have had more management legends (Mack, Finley, LaRussa,… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

Now were cookin’ with Crisco!

While I think there are great many worthies here, I picked the following:

1) Cobb- can’t stand the man but cannot argue with the results.

2) Gehringer

3) Kaline

4) Trammell

If I could turn this into my own shrine it would have at least a dozen more faces up there starting with Sweet Lou and Hamerin’ Hank and at the very least a couple of blanks left open for Verlander and Cabrera.

Jason Z
Guest
This one is tough. I find the Cobb question to be fascinating. He is undeniably, by far, the greatest player in Tiger history. Based on that he deserves to be there. But if we take character into account he is a miserable failure. According to Al Stump’s 1994 biography, I believe only 2 people from baseball attended Cobb’s funeral. He himself admitted at the end that he wished he had made more friends in baseball. If an excuse is to be made for Cobb’s demeanor it could be the fact that his mother murdered his father 3 weeks before he… Read more »
Howard
Guest

According to the Sporting News at the time of Cobb’s death many ballplayers stayed away from Cobb’s funeral at the request of his family. In addition he died in the middle of the baseball season making it difficult for baseball people to attend. Add to that the fact that most of his baseball friends were already dead and it makes sense that few ballplayers were there.

Timmy Pea
Guest

Great stuff Jason! Hard to leave Hank Greenberg off any list of great Tigers. I saw a special on him on Netflix and he was such a studd. A real gentleman, plain spoken and humble.

Dan Holmes
Guest

Myth and lies. Stump’s book has been debunked many times. The image of Cobb was tarnished by Stump after his death. Read and investigate and you’ll learn the truth.

Timmy Pea
Guest
WTH? Wahoo Sam Crawford with only 2 votes? Wahoo Sam is the all time triples leader and he’s from Wahoo Nebraska, my home town. He was robbed of 3,000 hits and was made to sit in the desert and wait to be picked for the HoF. No way Trammel is better than Sam! Aren’t there any readers of this site that were still alive when Wahoo Sam played, because that’s what I think it is. People remember Trammel here and not enough guys remember Sam. I just checked and every WWI veteran has now died so there must not be… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest

Take solace in the fact that while he may only have 2 votes here, he has 309 triples. One of baseball’s unbreakable records.

If we did this pre 1950, Crawford makes it with Cobb, Gheringer and Greenberg. One-vote getting Harry Heilmann, Cobb the manager’s prized pupil, is fighting for fifth with Hal Newhouser.

As we move further along some amazing players will be left out.

The all-time triples leader is one.

Timmy Pea
Guest

It’s true Jason, I don’t think the triples record will ever be broken. Also you’re right that with these old ball clubs, some good guys will be left off.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Hey Timmy, if it makes you feel better, I voted for Wahoo Sam. I loved his chapter in ‘Glory Of Their Times’. I don’t see how anyone could still be alive who actually saw Crawford play, they’d have to be over 105 years old (95 years since 1917, plus old enough to actually remember observing it). It’s possible, but extremely unlikely. In Bill James’ 1984 BJHA, he speculated if anyone was alive then who had seen Cap Anson play. He last played in 1897, so that would’ve required the observer to be almost 100 years old (87 +11), which is… Read more »
Timmy Pea
Guest

I just checked Wahoo Sam’s grey ink, and it’s 330! I also checked and saw that Sam’s last year in the majors was 1917. Anyone out there remember seeing highlights of Sam in his prime? I checked MLB.com and couldn’t find any highlights of Wahoo Sam Crawford.

Timmy Pea
Guest

It’s well known that Wahoo Sam did not like Cobb. No doubt they were rivals, but also maybe Sam did not like the racial slurs Cobb use to utter from his yellow stained, false teeth wearing mouth.

bstar
Guest

According to Crawford’s SABR bio page, Cobb and Crawford attempted a reconciliation of sorts at Harry Heilmann’s funeral in 1951. Apparently Cobb was a strong advocate for getting Wahoo Sam into the Hall of Fame, and the Veteran’s Committee finally gave him the nod in 1957.

Timmy Pea
Guest

Yes bstar, it’s true! Cobb was very big latter in life as it concerned Crawford.

e pluribus munu
Guest
Sam Crawford was a wonderful player and a thoughtful person – I’d love knock Cobb’s head off and replace it with Sam’s. Millions have wanted to knock Cobb’s head off. But what can you do? I voted for Cobb to represent the ’07-’09 team. (Apologies to Timmy – who knew you too were from Wahoo?) Kaline’s like Cobb: his record is so great no Tiger Rushmore could be without him. Apart from that, Kaline’s not like Cobb. I went with Greenberg over Gehringer for the mid-century teams – give him back his war years and you have a 500-home run… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

I should have added to my first message that if I’d voted with my heart, I’d have voted for Frank Lary – he made the Tigers my AL team. When NY was a one-team town, the only time it was safe for a Dodger orphan like me to go to the Stadium and root against the dark forces was when he pitched. And at least when I was there, the forces of good always prevailed.

Richard Chester
Guest
I voted for Greenberg, Gehringer, Kaline and Heilmann. Cobb was the Tigers best player but I agree with Andy in that I would not want such a nasty person on a monument. So far I am the only one to vote for Heilmann. I am impressed with the fact that he is only one of two players to hit .393 or more times in his career. Those seasons won 4 batting titles for him in odd-numbered years in the 1920s. Also he was the Tigers radio broadcaster for 17 years and was extremely popular with the fans. Even Cobb liked… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

I used to love the rhythm of those batting titles, and I’m glad Heilmann has a vote – he does deserve more. (But, Richard, you’ve also just added the first nice thing anyone has said about Cobb.)

Richard Chester
Guest

I meant to write “..hit .393 or more 4 times in his career…”

Jason Z
Guest

Frank Lary was 28-13 in his career against the Yankees, including 12-6 at
the ballyard in the Bronx.

His nickname was well earned.

Hartvig
Guest
It’s too late for me to think seriously about this but your reference to The Yankee Killer made me think. I do believe Detroit may have the best “nickname” team of all time. Among the immortals considered worthy of enshrinement you have The Georgia Peach, The Mechanical Man, Sweet Lou, the original Hammerin’ Hank, Wahoo Sam, the original Stormin’ Norman, Chet the Jet, Prince Hal, Dizzy, Wild Bill, Wabash George (who was a teammate of Wahoo Sam), Hooks, the aforementioned Yankee Killer, Twilight Ed, “Fire” Trucks and Schoolboy. Not to mention that the player who many consider the face of… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest

Wikkipedia has a great page on baseball nicknames. Sorted by
team and category. Enjoy.

Here is one to whet the appetite.

Garry Maddox, The Secretary of Defense.

e pluribus munu
Guest
I remember someone writing years ago about the different types of baseball nicknames. Hartvig’s list illustrates the diversity. I’m not sure when Dizzy Trout was first called by that name, but if he was like Jay Hanna Dean, Paul Trout was Dizzy before baseball, and that’s what you called him (or maybe Diz). A personal nickname, like Yogi. “Schoolboy” got his name through baseball – unlike w-less “Preacher,” which wasn’t a baseball nickname – but that became what he was always referred to as. I don’t know if his teammates said, “Hey, Schoolboy, how’re you doin’?” but I’m sure fans… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

Ed Killian- #14 above on the list of pitchers. I have to admit he’s one of 7 or 8 I had to look up on B-R- mostly to confirm they didn’t have a nickname but I did find a few I hadn’t heard before like his and Wabash George’s. I also have to admit that I have no idea where it came from.

e pluribus munu
Guest

It’s a nice one, though. “Mornin’, Twilight Ed” has a ring.

David
Guest

Cobb Kaline Gehringer McLain

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Cobb averaged .357 over his last nine years, and didn’t win a batting title.

Since 1940, Cobb’s career avg (.366) has only been surpassed in a single season 10 times.

(And how do Nomar and Helton both hit exactly .3724 in the same year?!)

Blandman
Guest

When I was a kid, I though the best Tiger was Cecil Fielder. I thought it was funny he didn’t get any mention here. Man, I was way off when I was a kid.

bluejaysstatsgeek
Guest
As a kid, there were no Canadian MLB teams. Detroit was the closest AL team, so I kind of cheered for them. There have never been a pitcher that was Rushmore-worthy. I voted Kaline, Greenberg, Whitaker and Trammell. My thinking on Cobb is “Given all the nasty things about him, would you really want his face to be one of the four immortalized on out team Mt. Rushmore?” As other pointed out Greenberg missed three of his prime years. Kaline is a no-brainer. I can’t see voting for only one of the best middle infield pair to play the game.… Read more »
Christopher
Guest

I decided to go to my “default setting” of picking 2 position players and 2 pitchers: Cobb & Kaline, obvious. Newhouser and Lolich. I skipped Tommy Bridges only because, much like Kaline, Lolich just screams “Tigers” at me.

Paul E
Guest

Since we can’t separate Trammell and Whitaker:

1) Cobb
2) Kaline
3) Gehringer
4) Sam Thompson (I don’t believe the Wolverines of the 1880’s had absolutely anything to do with Detroit’s AL entry, but they were pretty competetive and deserve some mention, no?)

Max
Guest

I went Kaline, Geringer, Greenberg, and Trucks. Why Virgil Trucks and not, say, Ty Cobb? Because fuck you, that’s why.

John Autin
Editor

Was that a Good Will Hunting reference?

Ed
Guest

I keep looking for Lou Alan Whitmmell or Alan Lou Tramaker but they both seem to be missing. 🙂

Max
Guest

How very Zaphod Beeblebrox of you.

Darien
Guest

I voted for Cobb, Trammell, Kaline, and Greenberg — first time I haven’t picked any pitchers! For my own part, I don’t like the “character” clause in Hall of Fame voting, and I don’t like it for Mount Rushmore voting either; I prefer to select based on baseball ability, longevity, and face-of-the-franchise-ness (for lack of a better term).

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Agree with you; I rate baseball players as to how well they actually play baseball, not according to how I judge their morality.

It’s difficult enough judging them strictly on their performance without bringing in off-the-field issues.

John Autin
Editor

I sure as hell wish Ty Cobb weren’t the face of my franchise. If there were anyone remotely close to his value, I’d gladly give him the boot. But he’s just too good.

So it’s Cobb, Kaline, and Whammellker. And we carve Cobb’s head the lowest, so vandals can give him the business.

Luis Gomez
Guest

Cobb, Greenberg, Kaline and Whitaker.
It breaks my heart to know how little support, if any, Lou Whitaker had from the writers for the HOF.

By the way, it is a great feeling to see some of my beloved baseball cards in a HHS post, especially the two-player Topps cards from the 80’s. Thanks, Andy, excellent work.

Doug
Editor

I think John Hiller at least deserves a Voting Button. Arguably the premier relief pitcher of his time.

tag
Guest
In honor of my late stepfather, a Detroit native and longtime fan, I vote for Cobb, Gehringer, Kaline and Willie Horton. Horton could hit – really hit – but may have been second only to Greg Luzinski in his defensive deficiencies as a left fielder. My stepdad loved Horton and was philosophical about his shortcomings. “You can’t have everything” he’d say after Horton had butchered another fly ball. About Cobb: I interviewed Edd Rousch and he was every bit as racist as Cobb. Not to excuse them, but they were ignorant country boys and products of their time. And Cobb,… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

tag:

I presume you were being facetious about cocaine in Coke, unless it had carry-over effects for Cobb only. In 1903 the by-then minor level of cocaine in the product was removed from the formula, and Cobb was about 16 at the time.

I’m not a shill for Coke, by the way. There’s just too much misinformation out there, disseminated by people with agendas. Plus the wild-rumor-into-internet-truth mechanism that exists now could change your offhand aside into NEW POSITIVE PROOF: Cobb not only was a jerk, he was a dope fiend!!!

From what I’ve read, his dope of choice was whiskey.

tag
Guest

nsb,

Of course I was being facetious. While the Pemberton formula from the 1880s did indeed have a decent dose of it from the fresh coca leaves used, as you say by the early 1900s the by-then small amount still remaining in the formula had been eliminated.

Actually, the ingredient that most concerned people about Coca-Cola was the caffeine in it, and the government sued the company to try to get it removed. While Coke won the case, it led to caffeine being classed as a habit-forming substance that must be listed on labels.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
So much hatin’ for a guy who was reportedly a jerk 100 years ago. Look, somebody who, say, ordered a million people to be herded onto trains to live in concentration camps, okay, yes, I suppose that person’s name could illicit a response of “he was an asshole and we hate him” 100 years later. But is there any shred of common christian compassion left in this culture for the everyday sort of assholism? Cobb was clearly an emotionally damaged person who was very traumatized immediately before having to jump, without any real support system, into an adult jock big-city… Read more »
bstar
Guest

Profound and meaningful words, Voomo.

John Autin
Editor
I suppose my “vandals” line did go too far. Carve his likeness level with the others — but know as much as possible about who he was, good and bad. Cobb is dead, so he’s beyond any help that might have come from whatever compassion I might have been able to muster for him. Therefore, I don’t feel bad in calling him a jerk. I think I am a compassionate person. But when I think of Ty Cobb, my natural compassion for the subjugated people whom he gratuitously degraded tends to overwhelm the compassion I might otherwise feel for the… Read more »
Timmy Pea
Guest
Good stuff Voomo. Cobb was a product of his times and region. It’s very easy now to say that if the Nazi’s came marching down the street of your town you’d do something about it. In reality nobody did much of anything until it was too late and the damage was done. Cobb didn’t keep blacks out of baseball, but some very powerful people in this country both in politics and baseball kept segregation as the rule. Woodrow Wilson was a real racist, and he had the power to go along with it. Presidents and Congress did little between Wilson… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest

Timmy-while many Germans, Poles, Hungarians and others that the Germans poisoned with their insanity looked the other way, many people did step up and saved their neighbors from the Nazi’s.

Most didn’t. They looked the other way when their neighbors just dissappeared, and did nothing. Except move into their homes and take their possessions and business’s.

As for Cobb, he wasn’t all bad. In fact he financially supported many indigant ball players from his time.

He invested early and often in Coca Cola and became a millionaire before his career ended.

Jason Z
Guest

I assume you are referring to Hitler. If so, you are way understating things to the point that I am insulted and stunned.

If all you can say about Hitler is that he ordered “only” a million people to be herded onto cattle trains to live in concentration camps, than I don’t know what to say. Maybe a trip to Washington DC and the
holocaust museum is in order.

Andy
Guest

I don’t think your representing what Voomo said accurately. In his reference to Hitler, all he’s saying is that even 100 years after the fact, Hitler will still be labeled as a terrible person. Voomo didn’t understate anything. Any crimes that Cobb committed pale in comparison, and thus maybe shouldn’t be judged the same way.

Jason Z
Guest

You are right. I apologize to Voomo if I overreacted.

This is not the place to get political.

My bad.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
I understood when I wrote it that making an allusion to that Austrian fellow might kick up some dust and cloud the point. The point is this: There is nobody on this blog that has any Direct Experience with Tyrus’ assholism. I’d be surprised if anyone here even Knows Anybody whose life was negatively impacted by Cobb. In fact, if anybody here has so much as ThirdHand information about what an unrelenting monster TRC was for 75 consecutive years, I’d love to hear it. We have anecdotal information, which, while it may be “true”, cannot generate in anybody a GENUINE… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

To get a better idea of why Cobb behaved the way he did read his SABR Baseball Biography Project which can be accessed via his home page on Baseball Reference.

One thing I find unforgiving about Cobb is the way he cut other players with his sharpened spikes. That is akin to criminal activity. But on the other hand why didn’t the powers-that-be of the ML ban that practice?

And yes he did mellow in his later years and become a much better person.

John Autin
Editor

Voomo — After sleeping on it, I better appreciate your original remarks. It is never a bad thing to be reminded to judge carefully.

At the same time, you are in no position to judge whether anything I feel about what I’ve read of Cobb is a “GENUINE emotional response.”

I didn’t know Hattie Carroll or anyone who did know her. But I tear up when I listen to the Dylan song.

Still, as regards Cobb, I will try to be mindful of another Dylan song, about the man who killed Medgar Evers: “Only a Pawn in Their Game.”

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

JA, yes, thank you. I thought of that after I posted it. My logic is generally impeccable… except when it comes to emotions. My wife reminds me of this daily.

Doug
Guest

@64. Richard

“And yes he did mellow in his later years and become a much better person.”

Well, maybe.

But, I recall reading that he lived the last year or more of his life without electricity in his home – the result of a dispute with the electric utility that Cobb believed was over-charging him. Not that that makes him a bad person – but doesn’t see particularly “mellow”.

bstar
Guest

Well, Cobb did in fact lobby, surprisingly, for the integration of baseball later in his life, even writing a letter to Al Stump stating that segregating baseball was “a lousy rule”.

Nash Bruce
Guest

Nice, Voomo 🙂

Trammell, Whitaker, Kaline, and, yes, Cobb.
Somebody did mention Cecil Fielder earlier, I’d love to give him a vote, just because those early 90’s teams were so much fun to watch. They definitely stood out from the other teams of that era. (But Trammell and Whitaker were also on those teams so it’s all good.)

PP
Guest

Turns out my picks were the same as Hatvig’s, Verlander is on the way to the Hall, I think, tough to leave Greenberg off though

PP
Guest

ooops, I was not the same as HartvigL Cobb, Kaline, Gehringer and Verlander here…

John Autin
Editor
I’m not criticizing anyone who voted for Verlander. I was tempted to do so myself. But then I looked at Jim Bunning, who was at roughly the same level at the same age as Verlander — multiple All-Star teams, couple of strikeout titles, a 20-win season and an ERA+ crown. And then we dealt him to Philly at 31, in one of those “better to trade him a year too early than a year too late” deals that sometimes come back to haunt you. Bunning ended up having his most valuable years for the Phils, and if we’d gone ahead… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest
I find it hard to believe that only one other person other than me voted for Heilmann. For the longest time I had felt that he was a somewhat forgotten and ignored super-star. The voting results here seem to bear this out. For his 7 year peak from 1921 to 1927 his stats are nothing short of sensational. All baseball fans know that Rogers Hornsby had the highsest BA in the 1920s but did you know that for that 7 year period Heilmann’s .380 BA was just 4 points lower than Hornsby’s .384. Here is a summary of his stats… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Sensational, in fact!

Richard Chester
Guest

For the 1923-1927 period Heilmann had the highest BA, .381 to Hornsby’s .377.

John Autin
Editor
Richard — We can all agree that Heilmann was a fantastic hitter for many years. But it’s no disrespect to choose 4 other Tigers. Most of these “Rushmore” votes require very tough choices. What knocks him off the mountain is: — His super-high BAs came in a period of super-high BAs. — His career basically ended at age 35. — On defense, neither his stats nor his reputation were good. I can’t see knocking off either Cobb or Kaline. After that, for me, it comes down to a question of peak vs. career, and heavy hitting vs. all-around play. And… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

My main point was not the value of his BA but rather that he was better than almost everyone else over a period of several years.

John Autin
Editor

Indeed he was. I’m very glad to honor him as a great Tiger.

By the way, B.James reported that Heilmann gave Cobb a lot of credit for helping him become a great hitter.

Richard Chester
Guest

Also Lou Gehrig’s career was basically over at 35. And Ted Williams dWAR of -13.3 was almost the same as Heilmann’s -14.0.

Tmckelv
Guest

Heilmann was definitely a wonderful player, but I am not sure we should be bringing up Gehrig or Williams in any sort of comparison.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Richard,

See my comment in #82 mentioning Heilmann:

“PRE-WWII:
– Gehringer
– Greenberg
– Heilmann
– Bridges or Cochrane”

I have to agree with other posters below, that while Heilmann was truly great, there are too many other Tiger greats of a similar era or similar skills who were better. Plus, he had the misfortune to play between the Tigers pennant years (1914-29).

Yet another reason why the “Original 16” should have (at least) two Mt Rushmores. A future poll, Andy (hint,hint…)???

Jason Z
Guest
No reply button so I am doing this the old fashioned way. @68Doug- I read the same story in Al Stump’s 94 biography about Cobb. His final years were sad. He traveled frequently to Vegas, behaving so badly that he was asked to leave the casino’s. He took to sleeping with a gun and over $1,000,000 in negotiable bonds during the final month of his life. Cobb’s actions towards the end of his life, which include generous donations to build a hospital and establish a scholarship for Georgia high school students should be remembered. When Cobb died his estate was… Read more »
Timmy Pea
Guest

What’s wrong with sleeping with a gun and a million bucks? You never know when you might need one or the other!

MikeD
Guest

Taking it one step further Timmy, I suggest if you’re sleeping with one million bucks, you totally do need to also be sleeping with a gun!

Jason Z
Guest

At the end of his life Cobb became obssessed with wadding
up pieces of paper and throwing them into a waste basket.

And I agree, nothing wrong with sleeping with a gun and a
million bucks. Don’t tell my wife.

MikeD
Guest

Did Whitaker get enough votes to stay on this ballot, or is he going to now fall off this one too?!

Cobb, Kaline, Gehringer and Greenberg.

The Tigers like some of the teams that have been successful and around pretty much since the dawn of the game could easily have two Mr. Rushmore’s.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

You could easily make that _four_ Mt. Rushmores:

DEADBALL-ERA GREATS:
– Cobb
– Crawford
– Jennings
– Veach (10th in position WAR, the best Tigers player not listed in the poll)

PRE-WWII:
– Gehringer
– Greenberg
– Heilmann
– Bridges or Cochrane

PRE-DH:
– Kaline
– Newhouser
– Cash
– Lolich

POST-DH:
– Trammell
– Whitaker
– Sparky
– Gibson

Tmckelv
Guest
This is tough, when it shouldn’t necessarily be so. 4 players on Mount Rushmore and 4 World Championships. Unfortunately the #1 guy was not on any of the winners. Ty Cobb. Here is the Tigers “Rushmores by eras” 1907 thru 1909 – Cobb, Crawford, Donovan, Mullen 1934 thru 1940 – Gehringer, Greenberg, Bridges, Rowe 1945 thru 1946 – Newhouser, York, Trout, Cramer 1968 thru 1972 – Kaline, McLain, Freehan, Lolich (over Horton, Stanley, Northrup, Cash, Hiller, McAuliffe) 1984 thru 1987 – Gibson, Morris, Trammell, Whitaker (over Parrish, Lemon, Herndon, Petry, Hernandez) 2006 thru 2011 – Verlander, Inge, Cabrerra, Ordonez This… Read more »
Tmckelv
Guest

Obviously my comment about Gibson having highlights with another team is ridiculous, given that Morris was included on the Mountain. I guess it just came down to choosing Morris over Gibson.

Brent
Guest

I voted for Cobb, Kaline, Gehringer and Greenberg. I decided in the end to give the 4th spot to Greenberg not only because his peak was fantastic and his career value was definitely lowered by his patriotism, but also because putting him up on the Mount will ease my conscience about putting Cobb up there as Greenberg probably would get as many positive character points as Tyrus would get negative.

Paul E
Guest

In Bill James’ BJHBA, he made some rather negative comments about Greenberg. I believe he quoted from a Sport magazine article gloating about how the Indians (Greenberg was GM) were going to “crush the Yankees” in the mid-50’s and something about sour grapes over his subsequent firing and baseball people not coming to his rescue or even calling him to see how he was doing…..Still, point taken – Greenberg certainly wasn’t beating the shit out of shoe shine “boys”, bell hops, and rowdy fans

Doug
Guest

Or murdering waiters.

Paul E
Guest

Yeah, but I did read where “Cobb was a shit tipper”….

Brent
Guest
According to “The Glory of Their Times”, Greenberg was one of the few (non-Dodger) players who reached out to Jackie Robinson in 1947 and encouraged him. Of course, he also was the longest serving baseball player in the military in WWII. And he changed positions to get Rudy York in the lineup in 1940, which is a pretty big thing for a star of his magnitude to do. And he famously refused to play on Yom Kippur, due to his respect for his heritage. And I admit, I am quite partial to the poem about him and the 1934 pennant… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Greenberg asked for and got a $10,000 bonus from the Tigers for his switch to the outfield in 1940.

CursedClevelander
Guest

Went with Greenberg, Cobb, Gehringer and Kaline.

The first four position players left off (Tramitaker, Crawford and Heilmann) are a Mt. Rushmore in their own right. The Tigers have a great profusion of positional talent in their 100+ years of history.

As for the ‘character’ clause, I tend to only use it as a tiebreaker. With the Indians, for instance, were I down to the 4th spot and choosing between Larry Doby and Albert Belle, it’s easy for me to choose the gracious, self-sacrificing Doby over the moody, violent Belle.

Bill Johnson
Guest
I almost did not respond because this is just so tough but as a Tigers fan of 53 years (saw my first game in 1959), I felt I had to. 1) Ty Cobb. IMO one of a handful of candidates for 2nd best player in history (For me the Babe is a clear #1). 2) Al Kaline Because he played at a high level for a long time and did everything well. I’ve seen 2 truly great defensive right fielders and while I give the great Roberto Clemente the top spot- Al was great. Strong accurate arm, always made the… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Greenberg’s 162 Game average for TB was 365 !!!

375 Ruth
379 Gehrig
347 Foxx
345 Ted Williams
299 Ott
304 Mantle
320 Griffey
310 F Robinson
328 Mays
328 Musial
337 Aaron
324 Bonds
349 A Rod
340 Manny
317 Frank Thomas
264 McCovey
312 Canseco
280 Colavito
314 Kiner
347 Belle
313 Dick Allen
292 Snider
320 Rice
311 Mize
325 Klein
302 Cepeda
289 Steady Eddie
284 Winfield
295 Dawson
368 DiMaggio
318 Larry Walker
298 Sheffield
278 Reggie
324 Sosa
297 Schmidt
319 Piazza

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