As we look forward to the New Year and the rebooted Detroit Tigers team, there are a few moments from 2015 that are worth looking back to one more time. Even though the team finished last in the AL Central, there were a few shining moments that showed the Tigers were not ready to give up.
Miguel Cabrera‘s 400th Home Run
In the middle of a rainstorm, Miguel Cabrera smacked his 400th home run in Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals. The ball traveled 428 feet off the bat of the best hitter on the planet. Tyler Lyons was on the mound on May 16, 2015. This home run put Cabrera ahead of Andres Galarraga‘s home run record, so now Cabrera is the youngest Venezuelan to reach 400 home runs. This home run also placed Cabrera in the eighth spot on the list of youngest players to reach this major milestone.
Justin Verlander‘s Almost No-Hitter
Aug 26, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) waves to the crowd after the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
On August 26, 2015, Justin Verlander earned one of the best standing ovations of his career. After two years of struggling on the mound, he dominated that day allowing one hit – barely. The no-hitter was broken up in the ninth by Chris Iannetta with a double that bounced just fair off of the left field line. The Tigers won 5-0 against the Los Angeles Angels that day, but it was Verlander who truly won that day. When the game was over, he made a brief speech the fans about his appreciation for the fans who supported him through his struggles and his victories. It was the day that the “old” JV came back to play.
J.D. Martinez and the Longest Home Run Ever In the CoPa
Jul 21, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) celebrates his two run home run in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Without J.D. Martinez, the Tigers season would have been utterly lost. He proved to himself and fans that he is here to play and to win. All year, he was in the running to finish in the top ten list of players with the most home runs. He finished he season in 11th place with 38 home runs. In the AL, he finished ninth. His home run break-out season was punctuated by the home run he hit on July 21, 2015. This one traveled 467 and bounced off of the roof of the camera well. It beat the former record held by Miguel Cabrera by one foot. Appropriately, it was Martinez’s (who wears #28) 28th home run of the season.
James McCann‘s Rookie Year
Apr 29, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos (9) congratulates catcher James McCann (34) on his inside the park home run in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers Rookie of the Year, James McCann, had quite a year. The young player became a leader in the dugout and on the field. He was error-free in his first full season behind the dish. He had several memorable moments, but the best by far was the inside-the-park home run that he hit on April 29, 2015 against the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers won 10-7 that day as McCann went 3-4 and scored 3 RBIs. His third home run against the White Sox on June 28 was another memorable one, because it was the walk-off that helped the Tigers win after being behind 0-4 for the eight prior innings.
Ian Kinsler‘s Game with Two Home Runs
Jul 20, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) celebrates after he hits a two run home run in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Ian Kinsler hadn’t hit many home runs in 2015, but on July 20, 2015, he hit two in one game. He hit one in the first inning and in the eighth inning. The best part of the game was the second home run. Just as the announcers finished talking about Mark Lowe, his 0.62 ERA and his run-free 12-game streak, Kinsler hit a bomb that was clearly destined f0r the stands. It was one of the many games where Kinsler recorded multiple hits. He lead the MLB with 61 multi-hit games ahead of Dee Gordon with 59 and Jose Altuve with 58.
As Tigers’ fans look forward to the 2016 season, there are bound to be plenty more memorable moments with favorite Tigers at the plate, on the mound, and in the field.