The Detroit Tigers have been playing baseball for 121 seasons and in four games, Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo just made history.
Akil Baddoo became the first player in Detroit Tigers franchise history with a home run each of his first two games. His second home run was also like on Sunday, opposite field. Before you say to yourself, what about “Red Pop” aka Chris Shelton? Chris Shelton became the fastest player in American League history in 2006 to hit 9 home runs in the Tigers’ 13th game but that was two seasons removed after being a Rule 5 pickup in the 2003 Rule V draft.
Akil Baddoo’s day
Not only did he have the grand slam, but he also had a single and a stolen base in making his first start in his natural position, centerfield against the team who drafted him out of high school in 2016. He also became the first player in MLB history to hit a home run out of the 9th spot in each of his first two MLB games.
In a game that was so ugly that Harold Castro came in to pitch the 9th and pitched a clean inning, the grand slam was needed for an offense that was struggling to put anything together off Wyandotte, MI native Matt Shoemaker. Castro was able to retire Nelson Cruz, who hit two home runs off Tigers pitching.
As Chris Brown pointed out in his best Tigers debut piece, Akil has some ways to go to catch up to Dale Alexander and Austin Jackson for best debut in their first year in a Tigers uniform in terms of WAR (5.1) but could he make a run at most home runs by a rookie? The rookie record belongs to Rudy York, who hit 35 in 1937. The closest a Detroit Tiger has come to break that record? Matt Nokes in 1987.
This might be a long season for Detroit Tigers fans but Baddoo continues to give fans something to get excited about in 2021.