Detroit Tigers History

Detroit Tigers: 1990’s All-Decade Team

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OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 25: Alan Trammell #3 of the Detroit Tigers fields the ball during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on June 25, 1996 in Oakland, California. The Tigers defeated the A's 10-8. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 25: Alan Trammell #3 of the Detroit Tigers fields the ball during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on June 25, 1996 in Oakland, California. The Tigers defeated the A's 10-8. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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OAKLAND, CA – JULY 19: Jose Canseco #33 gets a pat on the back from Tony Phillips #18 of the 1989 Oakland A’s as they celebrate their World Series championship 25 years ago, before a game against the Baltimore Orioles at O.co Coliseum on July 19, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – JULY 19: Jose Canseco #33 gets a pat on the back from Tony Phillips #18 of the 1989 Oakland A’s as they celebrate their World Series championship 25 years ago, before a game against the Baltimore Orioles at O.co Coliseum on July 19, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Left fielder – Tony Phillips

1990’s Stats: .281/.395/.405 120 OPS+ 25.2 bWAR

Tony Phillips signed with the Tigers on December 5, 1989 and was with the team until an April 1995 trade to the California Angels. During that time, Phillips was able to rack up some truly stellar numbers in the Motor City.

Phillips was a machine at drawing walks, as evidenced by his .395 on-base percentage in a Tigers uniform. He was solid when he took a hack as well, hitting .281 with 61 home runs and 70 stolen bases across 2,747 at-bats.

Perhaps the most unique thing about Phillips was his positional versatility. In five seasons in Detroit, Phillips played 70 or more games at second base, third base, left field and right field. He played some shortstop and center field as well. Having a player who could slot into any spot around the diamond was a huge bonus for the Tigers in the early 1990’s. His ability to get on-base nearly 40% of the time did not hurt either.

Phillips was featured as one of the five best African-Americans in Tigers history. His uniqueness as a baseball player will keep his memory alive, even if he played during some of Detroit’s worst seasons as a ballclub.

A switch-hitter with a .395 on-base percentage and above average speed is the perfect player to bat leadoff on our fictional all-1990’s squad. Indeed Phillips spent the majority of his career batting leadoff, one of the few constants in his otherwise nomadic playing career.

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