Comerica Park was a lonely, hostile place for the Tigers in 2003. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
July 14 to 20 (Weekly record 1-3)(Season record 26-70)
The Detroit Tigers finished one of the worst first halves in baseball history on a bit of a high note, posting a winning week for just the second time in the season.
Nearly all the Tigers would have most of the week off, as the 2003 All-Star Game took place early in the week. The contest, held at U.S. Cellular Field, marked the first time World Series home field was awarded to the winning league. The lone Detroit All-Star that season (because of the rule that every team must be represented) was Dmitri Young. Fittingly, he did not play.
The rest of the Tigers joined Young in Chicago as the White Sox were first on the agenda in the second half. The team picked up where they left off in Detroit, where Chicago was the victim of the first home sweep of the season for the Tigers, winning the first game in 10 innings, 10-9.
That win gave the Tigers a very nice stretch, where they went 6-3 over nine games, but Chicago woke up from its embarrassment, winning the final three games of the four-game series by the collective score of 23-7.
Painful Game of the Week: July 20-Tigers at White Sox
If Detroit clung to any hope of turning the corner, this game told them otherwise. Chicago scored early and often, and it was a typical game of the 2003 Detroit Tigers: awful pitching and non-existent hitting.
Future Tiger hero Magglio Ordonez, Paul Konerko, and Jose Valentin each launched a big fly, while The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas, hit a pair of homers. The White Sox blitzed Wil Ledezma and Steve Avery for 10 runs in five innings. Eric Munson‘s solo shot accounted for the Tigers’ only run.
The Tigers clinched their 70th loss of the season, just four days after the All-Star break.
Final: Chicago 10, Detroit 1
Lousy Player of the Week: Warren Morris
Warren Morris (right) celebrates his walk-off homer in the 1996 College World Series. Credit: Sports Illustrated
When the Texas Rangers drafted Warren Morris out of LSU in the 1996 draft, they were hoping he’d be able to channel the magic of one shining moment in college. In the deciding game of the 1996 College World Series, Morris (who had been homerless throughout the season and postseason) launched a two-run homer to win the championship game over Miami, 9-8. Today, this feat stands as the only two-out, ninth inning, walk-off home run in a championship game, either college or professional.
Sadly for Morris, his career peaked in college. He never played at the major league level for the Rangers, instead making his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1999. After Pittsburgh, Morris bounced to Minnesota in 2002, and then to Detroit in 2003, replacing fan favorite Damion Easley at second base.
Morris played in 97 games that season, and at mid-year was hitting over .300 while filling the important two-hole in the lineup. But he greatly stumbled down the stretch, finishing the year at .272 with six homers and 37 RBIs.
His final ML appearance was in the last game of the 2003 season. He went 1-for-5 with an RBI to help the Tigers win and avoid tying the record for most losses in a season at 120. Morris bounced around the minors through 2005 before retiring.