Detroit Tigers All-Time All-Stars

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Jun 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) in the dugout against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

First Base: TIE Hank Greenberg and Miguel Cabrera

If Miguel Cabrera was still at third base, this would be an easy choice, but it is hard to choose between Miggy and Hank Greenberg, so we will kiss our sister and call it a tie.

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First Hammerin’ Hank.

Before Cabrera came around, Greenberg was arguably the best slugger in Detroit Tigers’ history. The bulk of his Tigers’ career came from 1933 to 1946 with nearly a four-year interruption for military service during WWII.

He helped the Tigers win their first pennant in 25 years in his second full year in the majors in 1934, hitting .339 and launching 26 home runs. The following year, in 1935, he led baseball with 36 homers and brought the very first World Series title to Detroit.

Hank returned to the Tigers after three plus years of military service on July 1, 1945 and homered in his first game in nearly four years. In 78 games during the 1945 season, Greenberg launched 13 homers and hit .311. He hit a pennant-winning grand slam on the final day of the season, and contributed two homers with an average of .300 over a seven-game World Series victory over the Chicago Cubs.

He finished his 13-year major league career with a .313 average, 331 homers and 1,276 RBIs. He was elected to the Baseball Hall-of-Fame in 1956 and had his number five retired by the Tigers in 1983.

In one of the more lopsided trades in baseball history, the Florida Marlins, perhaps worried that Cabrera would command too much in future income, began shopping him around baseball. Many were interested, but the Detroit Tigers won the sweepstakes by shipping Andrew Miller, Dallas Trahern, Eulogio De La Cruz, Burke Badenhop, Cameron Maybin and Mike Rabelo to Florida for Miggy and Dontrelle Willis.

Miggy didn’t miss a beat changing leagues. While his average dipped below .300 for the first time in four seasons, he still managed to hit 27 homers and drive in 127. The following year began his current streak of .300 seasons, and nearly each season has seen that average rise.

He won the Triple Crown in 2012 with numbers of .330, 44 homers and 139 RBIs (all career highs). And yet thorough much of 2013, he was on a better pace than his final 2012 numbers. Ultimately, the injuries hampered him and he again finished with 44 homers, good for second in the AL, but won his third straight batting title with an average of .348.

Injuries have slowed him down the last couple years, but when he is healthy, there is not one player more fun to watch in the game right now.

Next: Second Base