40 Phil Coke
Number 40 has been littered with below average players in the franchise’s history. The best of the bunch is left-hander Phil Coke, who held the number for five seasons.
Surprisingly this award doesn’t go to Victor Martinez, as one of Detroit’s other great DH’s, Darrell Evans, gets the nod.
42 No one
Alan Trammell and Ron LeFlore both spent one season wearing number 42 before switching over to their more natural numbers. Jose Lima last wore #42 for the Tigers in 2002, as he was grandfathered into keeping the number after it was retired league-wide for Jackie Robinson. No one who wore it did it much justice, so we can leave this one blank in honor of Jackie.
Like Trammell with No. 42, Lou Whitaker wore No. 43 for a season before switching to No. 1. The best to wear #43 long-term was Daryl Patterson, who had a 3.77 ERA in 177 2/3 innings for the Tigers. He had a 2.12 ERA and seven saves for the World Champion 1968 squad.
44 Billy Hoeft
Daniel Norris‘ career has not gone quite as planned, but he still could catch Billy Hoeft for the title of the greatest #44 in Tigers history. Hoeft had a 13.9 bWAR in 1,323 2/3 innings for the Tigers. He was a 1955 All-Star and had a 4.02 ERA with the team from 1952-1959.
This one’s not particularly close, as only 19 players have ever donned the No. 45 in Detroit. Cecil Fielder was far and away the best of the bunch, blasting 245 home runs for the Tigers.
46 Dan Petry
Jeimer Candelario is the best Tigers player to wear #46 since Dan Petry, but he has a ways to go until he can catch him. Petry had a 17.5 bWAR in his Tigers career, which spanned 11 seasons.
47 Jack Morris
Although the Tigers are just now retiring Jack Morris’ number, it has been effectively retired since 1990 when he last donned the Olde English D. No one has worn it since.
Matthew Boyd, the way he is pitching now, could overtake Porcello for this crown. Porcello only wore #48 from 2009-2012, a span in which he made 120 starts and posted a 4.5 bWAR. Boyd’s sits at 3.1 at the moment. Torii Hunter also wore #48 for the Tigers.
Lots and lots of players, including Corey Knebel, Charlie Furbush, Sean Runyan and both Steve and Jason Grilli have worn number 49 for the Tigers. They were all pretty terrible however, so I’m going to give the nod to Dixon Machado.