Detroit Tigers: Top Ten First Basemen in Franchise History

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 02: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates the last out of the game against the New York Yankees on August 2, 2017 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 02: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates the last out of the game against the New York Yankees on August 2, 2017 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 18: A general view of the field and sky as the Detroit Tigers host the New York Yankees during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Rudy York

Detroit Tigers: 1934-1945

York made his debut with the Tigers in 1934, but didn’t resurface again in until 1937. Even then, he was a catcher/utility player until he took over as the full-time first baseman in 1940.

York’s six seasons as Detroit’s starting first baseman were excellent. He made four All-Star teams, and received MVP votes every season – topping out with a third place finish in 1943.

During those six seasons, York slashed .275/.361/.474 with 151 home runs (25 per season) and a 124 OPS+. He led the league in games played three times and home runs and RBI once (34 and 118 in 1943). That season, York also posted a .527 slugging percentage and had 301 total bases, both leading the league.

York was shipped to the Boston Red Sox in 1946 in exchange for Eddie Lake. He only played three more years, as he was out of the league by age 34.

York would be higher on this list if he had spent more of his career at first base. His three seasons behind the plate were stellar as well, with York posting a .303/.396/.592 line with 88 home runs (29 per season) and a 141 OPS+.

York had a 31.7 bWAR with the Tigers, with 21.0 of that while he was the full-time first baseman. That is still enough to merit a spot in the top-five among first basemen in franchise history.

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