Detroit Tigers History

Akil Baddoo and the Best Debuts in Detroit Tigers History

Mar 29, 2021; Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo hits a home run. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 29, 2021; Detroit Tigers center fielder Akil Baddoo hits a home run. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Best Detroit Tigers Debut Number 3 – Dave Rozema

Detroit Tigers
DETROIT, MI – JUNE 26: Former player Dave Rozema watches the retirement ceremonies of Sparky Anderson’s number 11. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Dave Rozema never made an All-Star game, and he never won any awards. He was a key part of the late ’70s Tigers squads, but by the 1984 season injuries had rendered him a secondary member of the team. He remains a beloved figure among Detroit Tigers fans of a certain vintage, in part because he’s a fixture at Tigers fantasy camps, but his contributions aren’t remembered as fondly as those of Kirk Gibson, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, and Lou Whitaker.

That wasn’t always the case, though. A 4th-round pick in 1975, Rozema was still only 20 when he made his big-league debut in 1977. He didn’t have much of a fastball, but Rozema had a plus changeup and excellent command, which he used to keep opponents off balance all season. His final numbers for the season: 15-7, 3.08 ERA, 218.1 IP, 92 K, 34 BB. He pitched 16 complete games, and he accumulated 5.7 WAR, which is the 3rd most by a rookie pitcher in Detroit Tigers history.

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