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Michigan Wins: Life Back to Normal

October 20, 2012

The University of Michigan football team earned its 900th win of all time by beating Michigan State 12-10 to win the Paul Bunyon Trophy for 2012.  Michigan is the winningest college football program of all time both by number of victories and winning percentage at .736. 

Placekicker Brendan Gibbons scored all of Michigan’s points with 4 field goals, including the game winner with five seconds left.  Quarterback Denard Robinson led the final drive, including several runs and a well-placed 20-yard throw to Drew Dileo that set up the 38-yard-field game winner by Gibbons.

Michigan leads the overall series 68-32-5.  The win ended a 4-game skid in the series.  Michigan has never lost 5 in a row in the series, but has had winning streaks of 14, 8, and multiple other stretches of 4 or more wins.  Could this win be the start of another one of those streaks. 

Michigan is 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten for the season, while State is 4-4 and 1-3 in the Big Ten, leaving Michigan at the top of the Legends Division.

Tigers Win 2012 American League Pennant October 16, 2012

The Detroit Tigers won game 4 of the American League Championship Series in convincing fashion, beating the New York Yankees 8-1 and sweep the series 4-0.

Max Scherzer tipped his cap to the crowd that gave him a standing ovation as he left the field in the sixth inning.  Scherzer held the Yankees to no hits until the 6th inning and left the game with 10 strikeouts.

The Tigers pitching carried the team through the series, but on Thursday, the bats came alive.  Jhonny Peralta hit two home runs and 3 RBI, Miguel Cabera added a two run shot and Austin Jackson added a solo home run. 

While they are talking in New York about how the Yankees hitters disappeared, credit must go, at least in part, to the Tigers pitching for the entire Yankee team slumping at the same time.  The Tigers held the Yankees scoreless in 36 of the 39 innings of the best of seven series, while Tiger starters had a 0.66 ERA.  The Tigers pitching dominance goes back to the ALDS against Oakland.

The team is peaking at the right time.  The World Series starts in five days, the longest they’ll have gone without playing a game since spring training.  But this team is playing with such confidence and is so focused on winning the World Series that Tiger fans can look forward to when they plays again.  Until then, it is so fun to get to say, "The Detroit Tigers are the 2012 American League Pennant winners!"

Tigers One Game From Series

October 16, 2012

The Detroit Tigers are one win away from playing in the World Series.  Justin Verlander pitched 8 1/3 innings, gave up just three hits, and one run to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 victory of the Yankees and take a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.  Phil Coke came in from the bullpen to get the final two outs.

The Tigers’ starting pitching has been dominate throughout the playoffs, going 37 2/3 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run prior to the Eduardo Nunez home run off of Verlander in the top of the ninth.  Verlander had gone 23 consecutive innings without giving up a run, a streak that began after a leadoff home run by CoCo Crisp in Game 1 of the ALDS against Oakland and ended with the Nunez home run in Game 3 of the ALCS.

The Tigers’ version of Mr. October might be Delmon Young, who hit a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning, his eighth post season home run and second this post season.  The Tigers’ other run was scored by Quintin Berry, who reached first base on an error by the third baseman, stole second, and scored on Miguel Cabrera’s hit to deep left-center field.  The Tigers loaded the bases to threaten again in the sixth, but a hard shot to third by Cabrera resulted in an inning ending double play.

The Tigers can wrap up the series Wednesday night with a win at home.  The Tigers need to win just one of four games to go to the World Series, while the Yankees need to win them all.  Here’s hoping the Tigers can finish off the team from the Bronx in Game 4!

Michigan Football Starting to Click

October 13, 2012

The Michigan football team used the bye week to make adjustments that have improved their play going into the Big Ten season.   After starting the season 2-2, the Wolverines have reeled off two straight impressive wins.   Last week, the team beat a Purdue 44-13.  It was the third straight game where the Michigan defense gave up 13 points.  Saturday, the defense shut out Illinois and held the Illini to only 134 yards of total offense en route to a 45-0 Michigan victory.

During the Purdue victory, quarterback Denard Robinson set the new Big Ten career rushing record for a quarterback, eclipsing Antwaan Randle El’s (Indiana) former record of 3,895 yards.   Robinson rushed for 235 yards against Purdue and 128 yards against Illinois in only three quarters.

The Wolverines are starting to play consistently solid football in all facets of the game going into next week’s game against their instate rival.

Goodbye Budd Lynch and Alex Karras

October 12, 2012

Detroit sports fans lost two legends this week.

Alex Karras died at age 77.  He was a tough defensive tackle with the Lions from 1958 to 1970.  Mike Ditka has said that Karras was the best defensive tackle he ever played against.

At the end of his career, he made several appearances on the Tonight Show where he hammed it up as more of the stereotype player than he really was.   At the end of his playing career, he became an actor with a sense for comedy.  He was not afraid to be the joke, from playing Mongo in Blazing Saddles to the gangster who turned out to be gay in Victor Victoria.

Budd Lynch died at the age of 95 on Tuesday.   He was the voice of Red Wings hockey, as the radio and television announcer from 1949 through 1975 and as the public address announcer since 1985.  In between those years he was the Red Wings’ public relations director.

Less known by fans is Budd Lynch was part of the Canadian fighting force that stormed the Normandy beaches on D-Day.  He lost his right arm in battle a week later.

Red Wings fans will miss hearing his voice at future games at the Joe.  I am grateful that I got to hear him announce games so many times.

Tigers Beat Oakland to Win ALDS

October 11, 2012

After four close games, the Detroit Tigers left no doubt in game 5 with a 6-0 victory over the Oakland A’s to win their American League Division Series.  Justin Verlander pitched a complete game shutout in the final game of the series to go along with his game 1 victory.  The six runs in game 5 were the most scored by either team during the series.

The series started with Detroit winning the first two games, which were in Detroit.  The remaining three games were in Oakland.  Oakland won game 3.  In game 4, the Tigers had a 3-1 lead in the 9th inning when closer Jose Valverde game up 3 runs to lose the game, setting up game 5. 

This is the second year in a row that the Tigers have advanced to the American League Championship series.

Cabrera Wins the Triple Crown

October 3, 2012

Miguel Cabrera won the American League Triple Crown with 44 home runs, 139 RBI, and a .330 batting average.  He became the first player to win the Triple Crown since 1967 when Carl Yastremski won it.  The only other Tiger to accomplish the feat was Ty Cobb in 1909, before the RBI became an official statistic in 1920.

The Tigers finished the season against the Kansas City Royals.  The Kansas City fans showed great sportsmanship in their ovation for Cabrera when he came out of the game and then again in calling for Cabrera to give a curtain call.  Cabrera has been humble when asked about the achievement and had to be coaxed out of the dugout for the curtain call by teammate Justin Verlander.

The Triple Crown gives Cabrera the inside track for AL MVP Award.

Tigers Win Central Division

October 1, 2012

The Detroit Tigers won the American League Central Division for the second straight year with a 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.  It was an up and down regular season that saw the resilient Tigers overtake the White Sox in late September.   The White Sox had a three game lead with 16 games left, but Tigers were the better team down the stretch.  The Tigers won the season series against the White Sox 12 games to 6.

The season included the additions of Prince Fielder and Octavio Dotel and the loss of Victor Martinez for the season before the season even began, Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown bid, the emergence of Quentin Berry, and the additions of second baseman Omar Infante and starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez in July.  Sanchez helped solidify already strong starting pitching, while Infante gave the Tigers a legitimate starting second baseman with a good bat.  Berry had been a journeyman minor league player who has brought speed and a knack for doing the little things that help a team win games.  Fielder has made it tough for teams to pitch around Cabrera and has hit for the highest average of his career so far.

Before the season began, many fans and pundits picked the Tigers to win the World Series.  Throughout much of the season, the Tigers did not perform up to what was expected and lost games they should have won.  Last year, the Cardinals won the Series with a similar regular season to this year’s Tigers.  But now that the Tigers have won the Central and they are in the playoffs, they have a chance to live up to those early expectations.

 

Happy 125th Annivesary Detroit Wolverines

May 26, 2012

This season is the 125th anniversary of Detroit’s first baseball pennant, earned when its professional baseball team won the National League Championship and the World Series.  But how can this be?  The Tigers came into existence in 1896?  The Tigers are an American League team?  Before the Tigers, we had the Detroit Wolverines from 1881 – 1888. 

In 1887, the Detroit Wolverines went 79 – 45 to win the National League Pennant, finishing 3 games ahead of the Philadelphia Quakers .  They went on to beat the St. Louis Browns of the American Association 10 games to 5 to win the World Series.  The 15-game 1887 World Series was the longest World Series ever and was played in several cities in addition to St. Louis and Detroit.   Though the pre-1903 World Series are no longer recognized by Major League Baseball, the interleague championships in the 1880’s were the original World Series games and they were recognized by most sources into the 1930’s. 

The Wolverines were managed by William Watkins.  The pitching staff included Charlie Getzien with a 29-13 record and Charles B. Baldwin (aka Lady Baldwin), who won 13 games in 1887.  Baldwin had won a major league best 42 games in 1886 and won 5 games in the 1887 World Series.

The team included three future hall of famers, all elected by the veterans committee:  Dan Brouthers (inducted in 1945) at first base who had a .342 career batting average that year; “Big Sam” Thompson (inducted in 1974) in right field who won the batting title in 1887 and set a record with 166 RBIs that lasted until 1921; center fielder Ned Hanlon (inducted in 1996) who stole 69 bases in the 144 game season and went on to be a successful major league manager.

One other Wolverine player who probably deserves to be in the Hall of Fame was Charlie Bennett,  a fan favorite who shared the catching duties that season with Charlie Ganzel.   Bennett was considered one of the best defensive catchers of the dead ball era.  Bennett’s career ended in 1893 when he fell under a train’s wheels and lost both legs.   The ballpark at Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit was called Bennett Park in his honor from 1896 through 1912, when Navin Field was built (later called Briggs Stadium and Tiger Stadium).  Charlie Bennett caught the first pitch for every Tigers’ opening day from the team’s inception in 1896, five years before the Tigers joined the American League, through 1926.  He died before the beginning of the 1927 season.  Charlie Bennett was a living legend to Detroiters who lived in the early 1900s, very much like Barry Sanders or Al Kaline are to us today.

So it is 2012, 125 years later.   All who saw the Detroit Wolverines win the championship have long since left this world.  There is no footage of their games as moving pictures were just being invented and were introduced to the public in the 1890s.  Unlike seeing footage of Ty Cobb or Lou Gehrig running around the bases, we have just a few still pictures of the Wolverines.   But the Detroit Wolverines are more than a footnote in Detroit history and baseball history.  They were Detroit’s first professional championship team and became part of Detroit’s collective identity well into the 1900’s.  In addition to the Tigers’ 10 American League pennants, Detroit can claim an eleventh pennant, or rather its first and only National League pennant.   Happy 125th Anniversary to the Detroit Wolverines!

(Information and statistics shown here are considered common knowledge and were collected from www.baseball-reference.com, www.baseball-almanac.com, www.thedeadballera.com, wikipedia.org, and Detroit Free Press and Detroit News articles written in 1887.  Photos are public domain from the Library of Congress).

My Michigan Teams

December 2011

My Michigan Teams is a brand new site devoted to sports teams in the state of Michigan! As it evolves, it will include features on the Michigan Wolverines, the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Lions, and Detroit Pistons, the Wayne State Warriors, and occasionally the Grand Rapids Griffins and White Caps, the Toledo Mud Hens, and Michigan's MAC teams.  All that you will find here about teams from south of the (Michigan) border or schools with an agricultural beginning will be in how they relate to the teams covered in this web page. 

No claim is made to impartiality.  This is a site by a fan who cheers for his favorite teams in a way that I hope would make Bob Ufer proud and that you will find interesting.  Much more will be added in the near future, so be sure to bookmark this page and come back often.  For your convenience, there are links to the official sites for all of My Michigan Teams on right side of the page and to the internal sites that are in development on the left side.

Happy New Year and welcome to My Michigan Teams!

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