Detroit Tigers: 2005-2009
Best known for his jubilant race around the bases during Magglio Ordonez‘s walk-off home run in 2006, Placido Polanco’s five year run in Detroit places him fourth on our list.
The trade worked out masterfully for the Tigers.
Polanco hit .338 with six home runs and four steals down the stretch, posting a nice 128 OPS+. He was the everyday second baseman for the next four seasons, slashing .307/.351/.411 with a 99 OPS+ in that time frame. Although he never posted many home runs or steals, he averaged 172 hits per season and rarely struck out.
Polanco finished his Tigers career with a .311/.355/.418 slash line, 806 hits, two Gold Glove Awards and a 19.1 WAR.
His 2006 season wasn’t anything special until the playoffs rolled around.
Polanco hit .412 (7-for-17) with two RBI in the ALDS against the Yankees. The Tigers swept in four.
The ALCS was even better for Polanco, as he hit .526 (9-for-17) and scored two runs, including the infamous game-winning run in Game four to send the Tigers to the World Series. Polanco was awarded the ALCS MVP award.
Unfortunately, Polanco’s luck ran out in the World Series. He hit a miserable 0-for-17 as the Tigers got beat in five games by the Cardinals.
His 2007 season was one for the ages, as Polanco hit .341 with 200 hits, nine home runs, seven stolen bases, and a 128 OPS+. He made the All-Star game and won both the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger Awards while finishing 17th in MVP voting.
He won another Gold Glove Award with the Tigers in 2009 before departing after the season via free agency.
Polanco finished his Tigers career with a .311/.355/.418 slash line, 806 hits, two Gold Glove Awards and a 19.1 WAR. He was one of the best defensive second basemen of all-time and certainly ranks as one of the best in Tiger history.
Next up is a slugging second baseman, in an era when that was not the norm.