If you’re still in disbelief and infuriated about the World Series — I’m right there with you. But, let’s not get too hung up on the loss in the World Series and overlook some very memorable moments the Detroit Tigers brought their fans throughout a successful 2012 campaign.
Lets reminisce and take a look back on the top 10 moments of the 2012 season:
10. The rise of Quin-sanity: Quintin Berry spent seven seasons in the minor leagues and bounced around in three different organizations in three years. The Tigers’ lead off man, Austin Jackson had just went down with an injury. Needing someone to fill the void, the Tigers called upon the career minor leaguer to help out. When Berry debuted against the Cleveland Indians on May 23rd, he got his first hit off a bunt double. From there on out, Quin-sanity was born. Fans fell in love with the speedster who was collecting hit after hit and stealing bases at will.
Berry cooled off a lot after the month of June, and could never really get back going like he did in his first twos months in the big leagues. But in his first two months in the MLB, Berry quickly became a huge fan favorite and took Detroit by storm.
9. Bring out the brooms: The Tigers were looking to open up their season with a sweep over the Boston Red Sox. The Sox had just gotten pummeled in game two of the series, and trying to leave Detroit with one win.
The Sox went into the bottom of the ninth up 10-7. Alfredo Aceves came on to try and get his first save of the year. Jackson lead off the inning with a singled, then Brennan Boesch singled. Setting up Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera smacked a three-run shot into left field tying the game.
In the bottom of the 11th, the Sox had reclaimed the lead and tried to end the Tigers yet again. But Alex Avila hit a two-run homer off of Mark Melancon to give the Tigers a sweep over the Red Sox and start the year 3-0.
8. Max Scherzer fans 15: On May 20th, Scherzer gave Tigers fans a glimpse of what was going to come the rest of the season. The Tigers were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park. Scherzer had everything going throughout the game. By the fifth inning, Scherzer had already struck out 12 Pirates’ hitters all on swinging strikes. The Pirates had tagged Scherzer for two home runs, scoring two runs off of him. After he recorded his 15th swinging strike out in the 7th inning, the Pirates were up 2-1.
In the bottom of the eight, the Tigers would score two runs off of the Pirates’ bullpen, and earn Scherzer a much deserved win to cap off a historic day.
7. You can’t hit Fister: On the final home game of the year, Doug Fister did something that 33,000 Tigers fans in attendance will remember for the rest of their lives. It began with a harmless strike out of Kansas City Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez to get the third out of the fourth inning. Little did the Royals know, the next eight batters after that would not even put a ball in play.
Fister went on to strike out the next eight batters in a row, giving him nine straight whiffs. The all-time record for an American League pitcher. With every strike out, the crowd cheered louder and louder, and Dan Dickerson’s voice yelling “swing and miss” nearly blowing out my speakers as Fister sat down one Royals’ hitter after another. Fister did not even know what had happened. Tigers’ first basemen Prince Fielder had to let him know of the historic achievement he had accomplished. Fister set Tigers’ and American League records for consecutive strikeouts
6. Back-to-Back: With 16 games to go, the Tigers were three games back of the White Sox. But, the Tigers got hot at the right time, winning 11 out of their last 16 games. In the meantime, the Chicago White Sox would only win three. On October 1st, the Tigers clinched the AL Central for the second straight year, ending the hard fought division battle.
5. Cabrera hits 300: On July 22nd, the Tigers were locked up in a game with divisional rival, the Chicago White Sox. Miguel Cabrera sat only two home runs away from the career mark of 300 home runs. In the bottom of the first, Quintin Berry and Cabrera hit back-to-back home runs- putting Cabrera at 299 career long balls. In Cabrera’s very next at bat, he hit number 300 off Philip Humber. It was a 450 foot blast to dead center field into the camera well. Tigers fans cheered as Cabrera trotted the bases for the 300th time. Just another mark in what is amounting to be a Hall of Fame career.
4. Win or go home: It was looking like the Tigers were going to finish off the Oakland A’s in four games to advance to the American League Championship Series. But, Jose Valverde blew game four, leaving it up to Justin Verlander. Verlander came out in game five with a certain snarl on his face. A look of death that said to the A’s hitters, “You will not beat me.”
Verlander threw a masterpiece. Throwing a complete game shutout and striking out 11 hitters. He, almost single handedly, sent the Tigers to the ALCS for the second straight year.
3. Two out rally: You would be hard pressed to find a more memorable win than what happened on August 5th. The Tigers and Cleveland Indians were locked up in a tight game. Going into the top of the 10th inning, the Tigers had wasted a lead off triple by Austin Jackson in the bottom of the ninth, and gave the Indians second life. Travis Hafner and Ezquiel Carerra hit back-to-back home runs with one out in the frame. The Indians would end up scoring three in total, looking like they were going to an end any hopes of a Tigers’ win.
The Tigers had other plans.
In the bottom of the 10th, Indians’ closer Chris Perez came out to record the save. Perez retired the first two hitters he faced, but after he walked Alex Avila, the wheels fell off. Jackson doubled in a run, then Omar Infante singled in Jackson. Out of nowhere, the Tigers had tied the game. With the winning run on second, and Cabrera at the plate, Perez threw Cabrera a fastball that he launched into the visitor’s bullpen. The Tigers had scored five runs with two outs, handing Perez what he called “the worst loss of his life.”
2. History has been made: The Triple Crown is hands- down one of the hardest feats in baseball to accomplish. You have to be able to hit for a high average, while hitting for a lot of power, and driving in more runs than anyone in your league. No one had won a Triple Crown for 45 summers. Carl Yastrzemski was the last player to accomplish the task of winning a Triple Crown.
It was arguably harder for Cabrera than it was for Yaz. Cabrera plays in a time period where the mainstream media and social media alike are bigger than ever before. Cabrera had the constant stress of always being asked the same questions and the Triple Crown talk was never stopping. Yaz didn’t even know he won it until the season was over.
Cabrera sealed up the Triple Crown on the last day on the season in Kansas City. He was pulled after his second AB and was given a standing ovation by a classy mix of Royals and Tigers fans knowing they had just witnessed history.
1. World Series Bound: After a hard fought series with the A’s, the Tigers found themselves facing off against the New York Yankees for the second straight year in the playoffs. In 2011 the Tigers beat the Yankees in five games during the American League Divisional Series.
The Tigers made quick work of the Yankees by sweeping them in four games and dominated the series. The Yankees never held a lead throughout and hit below .160 as a team. The Tigers locked up their 11th World Series appearance and their second in six years.
Of course, I don’t have to remind anyone what happened in the World Series. However, 2012 was a great year. Filled with highs and lows. Even though the Tigers aren’t raising the Commissioner’s trophy, 2012 was a season Tigers fans will remember for years to come.