Detroit Tigers: Top Ten First Basemen in Franchise History
By Andy Patton
Detroit Tigers: 1930-1941, 1945-1946
A four-time All-Star and two-time MVP, hammerin’ Hank Greenberg is one of the best to ever lace them up, and is in the conversation for greatest Tiger of all-time.
He had one at-bat in 1930 as a 19-year-old, resurfacing again in 1933. After getting his feet wet in ’33 with a .301/.367/.468 line, Greenberg really took off. From 1934-1940, Greenberg slashed .329/.424/.645 with 235 home runs, 916 RBI and an excellent 166 OPS+. That averaged out to 34 home runs, 131 RBI and 40 doubles per season. He was a four-time All-Star and won the MVP in 1935 and 1940.
Greenberg played sparingly in 1941 before spending the next three seasons in active military duty. He returned in 1945 and hit .311 in 78 games, proving he hadn’t missed a beat. His final season with the Tigers was 1946, and he made it a good one – blasting 44 home runs with 127 RBI and a .277/.373/.604 line.
Greenberg played one more season with the Pirates before calling it a career. He finished with 331 home runs, 1,274 RBI and a 158 OPS+.
After spending nine years on the ballot, Greenberg was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1956 with 85.0% of the vote.
The Tigers have a cloudy future at first base, with Cabrera likely sliding over to the designated hitter spot. Rest assured, they’ll find someone who may end up on this list sometime soon.