Detroit Tigers All-Time Lists

Detroit Tigers: Best player by jersey number

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ANAHEIM, CA - 1989: Alan Trammell #3 of the Detroit Tigers runs to first base during a game in the 1989 season against the California Angels at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - 1989: Alan Trammell #3 of the Detroit Tigers runs to first base during a game in the 1989 season against the California Angels at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 26: Brandon Inge #15 of the Detroit Tigers plays against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on August 26, 2009 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /

10 Tommy Bridges

The last player to wear number 10 for the Tigers was Fernando Vina back in 2004. Before that it was Bip Roberts in 1998. While it is not officially retired, Tommy Bridges holds the clear distinction as the greatest #10 in Tigers history. Another player who should be in the Hall of Fame, Bridges went 194-138 with a 3.57 ERA and a 126 ERA+ in his 16 year career, all spent with the Tigers.

11 Bill Freehan (and Sparky Anderson)

So #11 is retired for legendary manager Sparky Anderson. It has not been worn since Bruce Kimm in 1977. While Anderson is no doubt a Tigers legend, he never suited up for the team. The greatest player to wear number 11 was catcher Bill Freehan, who wore the number from 1963-1976. Prior to that, Dizzy Trout had 11 on his back from 1941-1952. Both were excellent players, with Freehan getting the slight edge. No one can hold a candle to the legend of Sparky Anderson, however.

12 Bobo Newsom

51 players have worn the #12 in Tigers history, with Leonys Martin currently sporting it this year. He’d have to have a heck of a career in the Motor City to unseat the current leader, Bobo Newsom. Although Newsom only played three years in Detroit, he posted an 18.1 bWAR and had one of the greatest pitching performances in team history.

A few other notable names include Brad Ausmus, Andy Dirks, Carlos Pena and Jim Price.

13 Lance Parrish

Apparently players believe #13 is unlucky, as only 12 players have ever donned the number in Detroit. Former catcher Lance Parrish is far and away the best of them, with 212 home runs and a 30.3 bWAR. Alex Avila wore #13 while he was here as well, and currently Mike Gerber sports it when he’s up with the big club.

14 Jim Bunning

Number 14 had a nice run for the Tigers recently, with Placido Polanco (2005-2009) Austin Jackson (2010-2014) and David Price (2014-2015) all sporting the 1-4. The best to wear it was Jim Bunning however, who wore it from 1956-1963. In that time he went 115-82 with a 3.36 ERA and one of the best performances in team history.

15 Brandon Inge

A polarizing figure in Tigers history, Inge donned the number 15 from 2003-2012, blasting 133 home runs in that time. That included 27 in Detroit’s magical 2006 season. Mahtook wore #15 last year, but no one is wearing it in 2018.

16 Hal Newhouser

Hal Newhouser was not elected to the Hall of Fame until 39 years after he finished his playing career. The Tigers waited three years after he was inducted to retire his number, meaning big lefty David Wells was the last to wear #16 from 1993-1995. Newhouser sits atop Detroit’s pitching leader-boards in multiple categories and is a true legend in Tigers history.

17 Denny McLain

Denny McLain will always be a legend in Detroit history, after his 31-6 season in 1968. He finished his Tigers career with 117 wins and a 3.39 ERA and won back-to-back Cy Young awards in 1968-1969.

The Tigers chose not to retire number 17, and it was worn recently by Andrew Romine and now Grayson Greiner.

18 John Hiller

42 players have donned the number 18, which was most recently worn by Tyler Collins. The best of the bunch is John Hiller, who spent his entire 15 year career in the Motor City. He led the league with 38 saves in 1973 and will go down as one of the best, if not the best, reliever in Tigers history.

19 Al Benton

55 players have worn #19, including Louis Coleman this year and Anibal Sanchez for the five previous seasons. Pitcher Al Benton narrowly edges out Sanchez and Dave Rozema for the best of the #19’s, with a 3.47 ERA and a 118 ERA+ from 1939-1948.

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