I’m certain that all of our readers are smart enough to figure out what number is next in the countdown (looking at the headline is cheating). 12 is the number of days that remain until the season begins, and it’s the number we’re discussing today.
12 is the number of playoff appearances the Detroit Tigers have made in franchise history.
Prior to 1969, there was only on playoff series each year, which was the World Series. The AL champion regular season champion would play the NL regular season champion. There were no league championship series, and certainly no divisional series.
Detroit made it to eight “playoffs” under this format. A man named Ty Cobb lead them to their first three over 100 years ago (1907, 1908, and 1909). Their fourth and fifth appearances came in 1934 and 1935 (the first World Series win) with Hank Greenberg and Charlie Gehringer . The Tigers have not reached the post season in back to back years since.
In fact, since the 1934 and 1935 World Series appearances, the Tigers have only reached the post season twice in the same decade on two occasions. They reached twice in the ‘40s (1940 and 1945), and twice in the ‘80s (1984 and 1987). Since 1900, the Tigers have been shut out of the playoffs in four separate decades: the 1910’s, 20’s, 50’s, and ‘90s.
The franchise’s eighth playoff appearance came in 1968, the last year of the one-round format. Following that year, the leagues were split up into two divisions each, and the league championship series were formed. The Tigers earned trips to the playoffs three times under this format: 1972, 1984, and 1987.
The playoff format expanded again in 1994, when a third division winner and a wild card were added to the field, but the Tigers would not play in this ‘new’ Divisional Series until 2006.
Longest Playoff Droughts:
24 seasons between the 1909 and 1934 appearances.
22 seasons between the 1945 and 1968 appearances.
18 seasons between the 1987 and 2006 appearances.
Hall of Fame Players on Playoff Teams:
1907: Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Hughie Jennings
1908: Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford
1909: Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Hughie Jennings
1934: Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Goose Goslin, Hank Greenberg
1935: Mickey Chchrane, Charlie Gehringer, Goose Goslin, Hank Greenberg
1940: Earl Averill, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser
1945: Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser
1968: Al Kaline, Eddie Mathews
1972: Al Kaline