Jul 29, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (34) looks on in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Name a Captain
The Detroit Tigers have never named a captain in their 115 year history, and this is something that does not happen much in baseball with a few notable exceptions like Derek Jeter and Jason Varitek. Even Mike Sweeney wore the “C” on his jersey for some really awful Kansas City Royals teams.
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I would not advocate a C be affixed to the Tigers’ iconic jersey (Jeter never wore a C but there was never a question about his leadership skills), but the new manager needs to name a captain or co-captains for this team.
The Tigers have not had a true leader in a long, long time. This is/was not just a Brad Ausmus issue, Jim Leyland‘s teams often lacked leadership in the player’s ranks. You might have to go back to the playing days of Alan Trammell to find a true Tigers’ leader/captain, although like the most famous captain in Detroit sports history, Steve Yzerman, Tram was more of a quiet leader and wanted his play on the field to be what players followed.
One could argue that Torii Hunter was a leader in the clubhouse in his two seasons with the Tigers, but his stint in Detroit was always going to be brief.
Something that has seemingly happened a lot this season is when the Tigers needed a leader, no one stepped up. Ausmus wanted a player to step up and be vocal and none did. When that didn’t happen, Ausmus was incapable or unwilling to hold players accountable.
During the Tigers’ just concluded run of divisional domination, they have had their share of superstars. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Prince Fielder are all names of superstar plays of their generation, but none of these have ever risen to the ranks of being the team captain. Verlander has shown some leadership skills this season, but it’s hard to be a captain when you play once or twice per week.
Will it be James McCann, the player that David Price said will one day wear the C? Or will Miggy, Victor or someone not currently on the roster step up to claim the leadership reigns?
Next: Veterans Day