The first half the new millennium was a wasteland for Tiger fans. The club continued its lackluster performances on the field and bottomed out. The team lost 90 or more games 5 times between 2000 and 2005. In 2003, it set the American League record for losses. Three years later, the Tigers experienced a dramatic turnaround, won 95 games, and made the World Series. The final four years disappointed fans in the wake of 2006, but still had its share of excitement. The following is a compilation of the greatest Tiger moments, and one not-so-great moment, of the decade.
Comerica Park Opens (April 11, 2000):
In 2000, the Tigers left the corner of Michigan and Trumbull for the first time in a century and moved to Woodward. The team opened Comerica Park with a 5-2 win over Seattle. Brian Moehler scattered 10 hits over six innings for the win. Todd Jones earned his second save of the season. Comerica Park proved intimidating for the hitters and the team moved in the fences. The Tigers finished 2000 with a 79-83 record.
Shane Halter Plays all nine positions (October 1, 2000):
The Tigers decided to end another losing season with a gimmick. Utility man Shane Halter played all nine positions in the Tigers 12-11 victory over Minnesota. Halter walked one in the seventh as a pitcher. At the plate, he had a career game going 4-for-5 with three RBI. The decade began with promise with a new ballpark and Halter’s stunt, but it soon went downhill.
119 losses (2003):
In the 1980s, the Tigers competed most seasons. In 1989, the team collapsed and struggled to return to .500. Mike Illitch purchased the team in 1993. That season, the team won 85 games. For the next decade, the team not only struggled, but failed to field a competitive team. In 2003, the team bottomed out. After 156 games, the team had won only 38 games and appeared destined to lose over 120 games. Unbelievably, the Tigers won five of their last six games to avoid infamy. However, they still lost 119 games to set the American League record.
DY hits 3 on Opening Day (April 4, 2005):
In 1988, George Bell hit three home runs on opening day for the Blue Jays. Six years later, Tuffy Rhodes matched the feat for the Cubs. Dmitry Young joined this club in 2005 with three blasts against Kansas City. He hit two off Jose Lima and one against Mike McDougal. For the game, Young went 4-for-4 with four runs scored and five RBI. Detroit won 11-2.
Tigers win the Pennant (October 14, 2006):
Detroit led the Oakland A’s three games to none in the ALCS, but trailed Game 4 by three runs early. The Tigers rallied to tie the game in the sixth inning. In the 9th, with two on, Magglio Ordonez hit a pennant-winning walk off home run. Detroit won the game 6-3 and the pennant. It was the first pennant winning home run for the Tigers since Hank Greenberg in 1945 and the biggest moment in Tiger history since Kirk Gibson took Goose Gossage deep in the 1984 World Series.
Kenny Rogers matches Christy Mathewson (2006):
Kenny Rogers enjoyed three scoreless postseason starts in 2006. No other pitcher since Christy Mathewson in 1905 had three scoreless starts. Mathewson did it in the World Series. Rogers did it in three different rounds of the playoffs. Despite the effort, the Tigers lost the World Series in five games. Their only win came in Rogers’ Game 2 start.
Verlander throws his first no-hitter (June 12, 2007):
Justin Verlander showed signs of greatness in 2006 when he won 17 games and the Rookie of the Year. On June 12, 2007, Verlander tossed his first career no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the first no-hitter in Comerica Park history and Detroit’s first no-hitter since Jack Morris in 1984. Verlander walked four and struck out 12 en route to his 7th victory. He finished 2007 with an 18-6 record. Four years later, Verlander threw his second career no-hitter against Toronto.
Curtis Granderson 20-20-20-20 (2007):
In 2007, Curtis Granderson became one of three men to have 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in one season. Grady belted 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 home runs, and swiped 26 bases. He also hit a career high .302 with a .913 OPS. Granderson quickly became one of the most popular players in Detroit with his performance on the field, personality, and work in the community. Naturally, the Tigers traded him to the Yankees.
Magglio wins the batting title (2007):
Norm Cash won the batting title in 1961. Detroit’s next batting champion came 46 years later. Magglio Ordonez solidified his position as a Tiger great when he hit .363 to pace the league. He also led the league with 54 doubles.
Polanco plays in 186 errorless games (2008):
Placido Polanco did not commit an error in field from July 2006 through April 2008. Polanco emerged as an integral part of the Tigers ball club. He won two Gold Gloves, made the 2007 All Star team, and earned ALCS MVP honors. He also hit over .300 for his Tiger career. Polanco played great defense and developed the reputation as a clutch performer.
Other accomplishments of note:
Damion Easley (2001) and Carlos Guillen (2006) hit for the cycle.
Damion Easley (2001) and Carlos Pena (2005) had six-hit games.
On August 1, 2001, the Tigers pulled off a triple play against Seattle.
In 2000, Todd Jones won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year.
In 2006, Justin Verlander won Rookie of the Year and Jim Leyland won Manager of the Year.