Detroit Tigers: The forgotten season of 1972

jkramer
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Relief pitcher Alex Wilson
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Relief pitcher Alex Wilson /
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DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 23: Relief pitcher Alex Wilson
DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 23: Relief pitcher Alex Wilson /

How hard is it to repeat as World Series Champions? Just ask the Detroit Tigers of the early 1970’s.

The Detroit Tigers were world champions in 1968, breaking a 23 year old drought. However, it would be another 16 years before they made it back to the World Series, in their magical 1984 season. In the meantime, what happened? Staff writer Jim Kramer takes a look:

A different era of baseball

Following the successful 1968 campaign, the Detroit Tigers struggled to regain their championship ways. The 1969 Bengals finished a distant second place to the Baltimore Orioles.

In the newly established American League Eastern Division, they completed the season with a 90-72 record. That put them 19 games behind the Orioles.

In an era dominated by great pitching, changes were underway to balance the scales.

In 1969, Major League baseball lowered the pitching mound to 10 inches above home plate.

This was an attempt to eradicate pitching dominance. The average major league ERA that year was 2.98. Today we would look at a pitcher with that type of earned run average as dominate. Since the mound was lowered, the ERA for Major League pitchers has been 4.06.

Although it has been only 50 years, the game has changed dramatically.

The 2003 Detroit Tigers are often labeled the ‘worst team ever’.  Their cumulative batting average was .240. In contrast, the 1968 World Series Champs had a cumulative batting average of .235.

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