With September nearly here, let’s look at the most notable September call ups in Detroit Tigers franchise history.
The Detroit Tigers are in full-on rebuild mode, and with that comes a chance to see new prospects making their big league debuts. September can often be one of the most fun months of the season for rebuilding teams, as they are no longer in contention and can spend more time allowing their farm system to get their chance in the show.
Perhaps 2018 will be the new 1977, when superstars Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Lance Parrish all made their big league debuts within four days of each other. It’s important to note than none of the three of them were particularly good in 1977. As one might expect, many players (even elite ones) don’t immediately set the world on fire. So if Christin Stewart hits .180 in September, that does not mean he will never be a major league hitter.
Likewise, sometimes players who light the world on fire aren’t destined for superstardom. Detroit’s third round pick in 1971, Ron Cash, hit a blistering .410 in 46 plate appearances down the stretch in 1973. He only played 34 career big league games.
Let us take a look back at the five best September call ups in Tigers history.
I used August 31 as the cut-off, and I required all hitters to have at least 30 plate appearances and all pitchers to have pitched at least 25 innings.
Before we get into the top-five, here are a few honorable mentions:
1987 Scott Lusader (.319/.377/.489 in 54 plate appearances)
1993 Danny Bautista (.311/.317/.410 in 63 plate appearances)
1974 Vern Ruhle (2.73 ERA, 33 IP)
Lusader was Detroit’s right fielder of the future, but he was unable to stay healthy and ended up out of baseball by age 26. Bautista was Detroit’s next ‘right fielder of the future’, and like Lusader he was never able to reach his full potential. Detroit eventually handed Bobby Higginson the role, which worked out much better.
Ruhle parlayed a solid cameo in 1974 into a starting role in 1975, which he held for a few years before he signed with the Astros.
Now, onto the top five.