Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1987 detroit tigers

this post covers the 1987 detroit tigers and cards numbered 265 to 271 in the set. here are the fronts:
and backs:
this may be the first team subset without a black and white photo on the front.  i'll have to check.  i'm back.  nope, the 1979 cincinnati reds lacked a black and white photo, too.

what team is this:  the american league east champion detroit tigers, who won 98 games in 1987.  they swept the toronto blue jays in the final series of the season to tie and overtake the jays and win the division, but lost to the twins in the alcs.

why this team?: good question. the team featured many of the same players that helped to win the world series in 1984.  i recall when the '87 tigers lost to the twins in the playoffs that there was a sense of underachievement regarding this team.

which players are featured?:  alan trammell, dan petry, chet lemon, sparky anderson, jack morris, kirk gibson, and lou whitaker.

why these players?:  this is a pretty good representation of the team, but let's break it down.

alan trammell finished second behind george bell in the 1987 american league mvp voting.  he hit .343 on the season (third behind wade boggs and paul molitor).  he also hit 28 home runs and drove in a career high 105 runs while scoring 109 times, also a career best.  his single in the bottom of the 12th inning of game 161 beat the blue jays and put the tigers one game up with one to play.  unfortunately, trammell hit just .200 with only a couple of rbi in the tigers' 5-game loss to the twins in the alcs.

dan petry went 9-7 for the 1987 tigers with a 5.61 era.  primarily a starter, petry was moved to the bullpen in august.  in the alcs, he made one appearance giving up an unearned run in 3.1 innings of work in game 4.

chet lemon hit .277 with 20 homers and 75 rbi in 1987.  it was his last year as the tigers' center fielder, as he moved to right field in 1988.  lemon hit 2 home runs with 4 rbi in the alcs.

sparky anderson was the manager of the 1987 tigers, obviously, and they were the 7th team that he had led to the postseason.  they were also his last, even though he managed the team through the 1995 season.  he won the 1987 al manager of the year award, the second time he was so honored.

jack morris was the ace of the staff.  he won 18 games and his 3.34 era was good for 5th in the league.  he threw 13 complete games during the regular season, and then threw one more in the alcs.  unfortunately, it was of the 8-inning variety as the twins scored 6 runs off of him en route to a game 2 victory.

kirk gibson moved to left field from right in 1987, hitting .277 with 24 home runs and 79 rbi.  gibby was one of the few bright spots for the tigers in the alcs, hitting .286 with a home run, four rbi, and 3 steals against the twins.

lou whitaker scored a career high 110 runs in 149 games for the tigers in 1987.  he hit .265 with 16 homers and 59 rbi as well.  he had 4 lead-off home runs during the season, including the 100th homer of his career, and had two walk-off bombs as well.  in the alcs, he hit just .176 with a solo home run and a stolen base.

the stadium on the back is…?:  tiger stadium.

did upper deck get it right?:  aside from the checklist conveniences, there is really no reason to feature this team instead of the 1987 saint louis cardinals.  upper deck could have added bill madlock to this subset (he was already featured in the set with the 1979 pittsburgh pirates), and matt nokes or frank tanana would have made sense, too (moreso than dan petry, especially since tanana's shutout (along with larry herndon's home run) in game 162 won the division for the team) but for the most part this is a decent player selection.

the photos are mostly from the correct era, but hard to pinpoint the exact year.  i don't know when the tigers wore the navy bp jerseys (so morris's photo may or may not be timely), but the 1987 team wore button up jerseys at home (like petry's) and button up away jerseys on the road (like whitaker's).  the other players (trammell, lemon, and gibson) and their manager are sporting pullovers that were last worn in 1984.

is this team timeless?:  no.  i would say that the team is too similar to the 1984 squad which is much more memorable.

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