3. 2002 Omar Infante – .333/.360/.417 in 75 PA
Infante came up in September of 2002 and almost immediately took over as the team’s starting shortstop. That wasn’t that hard to do, as the position was being held previously by a combination of Ramon Santiago and Shane Halter.
Still, Infante surprised with a tidy .333 batting average and six RBI in just 18 games played. He was slated to be the team’s shortstop in 2003, but injuries limited him to just 69 games. He took over as the everyday second baseman in 2004, and then took over a utility role from 2005-2007. He bounced around with the Marlins and the Braves before he found his way back to Detroit in one of the better trades in team history. Infante then started 179 games at second base from 2013-2014, hitting 14 home runs and swiping 12 bases.
Infante’s hot start in 2002 had him looking like a future star, and while it took him a long time to reach that potential it did eventually come to fruition in a Tigers uniform.
2. 1963 Willie Horton – .326/.326/.488 in 43 PA
Horton gave the Motor City a little taste of what type of player he was going to be in 1963, although it took until 1965 for him to truly break out. Horton went 14-for-43 in September of 1963, making almost all of his appearances in left field.
He played sparingly in 1964, but took off with 29 home runs and his first All-Star game in 1965. From there, Horton would go on to become one of the greatest players in Tigers history, and one of their most influential athletes of all-time.
Horton finished his Tigers career with 262 home runs and a 127 OPS+. His name is all over the record books, and it started with a nice September cameo back in 1963.