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Edman85

Media Guides 1961-1982

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I apologize if this has been posted and I missed it, but historians may like that the Tigers are in the process of posting all of the media guides since 1961 online. They are up to 1982 right now.

http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/fan_forum/mediaguides.jsp

Thanks Edman.

And to think I spent a couple of long hard days at the Harwell section of the Detroit Library copying that stuff in the past. And sometimes it was hard to get the librarian to allow me to copy some of that stuff.

I remember when I opened the 1962 one and saw lefty-righty splits. I was floored to see they did that. Plus I was excited to see Cash's numbers vs. righties in 1961. Of course, this was before my internet days.

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Some priceless stuff here. I love how they referred to phone number exchanges in the old days -- TE3-3322 -- and the fact that they actually printed the home phone numbers of each team's public relations official!!

Also, in the 1962 book, I notice they list each Tigers' name, along with the proper pronounciation. Bill Freehan = FREE'n.

Either the media guide got it wrong, Bill changed the pronounciation at some point, or else the announcers have been getting it wrong all these years. Because as far back as I can remember, his name has been pronounced as it's spelled: Free-Han.

Also, the fact that they had to phonetically spell out "Fernandez" shows how far we've come. It isn't that exotic of a name any more.

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And to think I spent a couple of long hard days at the Harwell section of the Detroit Library copying that stuff in the past. .

I'd love to spend to spend some time checking that section out!

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I'd love to spend to spend some time checking that section out!

You should do it. It's been a very long time since I've been there myself. There's a lot of neat stuff. There are scrapbooks of cut out articles that are pasted in books (much like what you may have done when you were a kid) from the early 1900s to some pretty awesome Tiger stuff. I forget half of it now, but it's well worth a day at the library. In fact it's well worth a couple days.

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Learning a lot from these. For example, Mark Fidyrich actually got off to a good start in 1978 with two CG wins, but had to leave his third game after four innings with "shoulder tendinitis". Other than a brief rehab attempt at Lakeland he was done for the season. Apparently he must have healed a little the previous winter, but reinjured the rotator cuff even more?

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Learning a lot from these. For example, Mark Fidyrich actually got off to a good start in 1978 with two CG wins, but had to leave his third game after four innings with "shoulder tendinitis". Other than a brief rehab attempt at Lakeland he was done for the season. Apparently he must have healed a little the previous winter, but reinjured the rotator cuff even more?

Until a bit over a year ago I thought I had never seen Mark Fidrych pitch live. And then I saw he started the home opener in 1978 and that was one of the home openers I went to as a kid. Actually it was the first I went to. And Fidrych pitched it. I can't believe I don't remember that he was the pitcher of that game. All these years I remembered watching the Jays, I remembered that the Tigers won relatively easily, I remember the great weather, I remember being taken out of class early for the game, I remember going to the RenCen before the game. I remember a lot of stuff. But somehow I forgot that Fidrych pitched the game.

In 1977 he also had a pretty nice start to the season, once he got back. I have radio games where Erinie and Paul hype up the annual exhibition game against the Reds because Fidrych was going to make his Tigers "debut" in that game. They actually changed it from being a non-broadcast game to a broadcasted game because of it. He had a stretch of 5-6 really good games that season before struggling at the end and finally seeing his season end.

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...scrapbooks of cut out articles that are pasted in books (much like what you may have done when you were a kid)...

Man, I wish I'd kept scrapbooks. From '79 through some point in the mid/late80s, I did actually cut out all of the articles and pix and boxscores from newspapers and mags. I kept them in folders and envelopes. I don't know why I didn't go ahead with that next step and scrapbook everything. Lame on my part!

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Some observations I'd jotted down while looking at the 1961 guide today. If I refer to page numbers, I'm using the Adobe page number.

It looks like the first year the ballpark would officially be known as Tiger Stadium was 1961. I always thought it was 1960, but according to the note on page 3, the name change didn't take effect until the following season.

Even today it's interesting to check the lists of scouts to look for familiar names of former Major Leaguers. Mickey Cochrane and Marv Owen of the '34-35 World Series teams were scouting for the Tigers in 1961.

The 1960 Tigers had an awful record in one-run decisions on the road! It must have been frustrating watching that meager offense at times, especially if your name was Jim Bunning or Frank Lary. No runs scored in five of JB's starts, one run only in six others. No runs scored in five of FL's starts, one run only in eight others. It's not like either of those guys were giving up a ton of runs either. 1960 looks like it was a pretty disappointing year for Kaline for the most part. I can only imagine what kind of griping about MTS posters might have done that year.

So George Alusik's style at the plate reminded fans of Joe DiMaggio? According to the bit on page 14, it did! It looks like he had a good season for their Triple A affiliate in Denver, but didn't get a call to the bigs. Was Denver as hitter-friendly then as it is now? Ha. Scrolling down to his career record, it looks like he did OK at a couple other stops before that (Augusta in 1958 and Birmingham in 1959). I guess it would've been tough to break into an outfield with Maxwell, Colavito and Kaline.

I chuckled about the note on page 19 about all the guys who'd cleared the roof at Tiger Stadium to that point -- all two of them!

Are the current Seawolves the second farm club the Tigers have ever had in Erie? I see that both Dick McAuliffe and Jake Wood played for a club there in 1957.

On today's date in 1961, the full squad hadn't even reported to Lakeland yet!

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Man, I wish I'd kept scrapbooks. From '79 through some point in the mid/late80s, I did actually cut out all of the articles and pix and boxscores from newspapers and mags. I kept them in folders and envelopes. I don't know why I didn't go ahead with that next step and scrapbook everything. Lame on my part!

I started and stopped off and on and eventually they'd get thrown out from my mom. I never wanted to throw anything like that away figuring "One day I'd be old and I would want to look back at it." I really thought that way when I was a kid. And I certainly would look back at it, but almost every time I lost that kind of stuff to the parents.

I probably had a good 3-4 filled throughout the course of a year about three times. I kept them on a toy shelf we each had in the basement, but occasionally the parents would go through and figure out what they didn't think we needed any more and those things were tossed. And they weren't in crappy shape. Out of everything, I don't know why they would select those books.

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I used to save the stats out of the Sunday paper and those little pocket schedules. Everything went into a cigar box.

I think I still have a few items in my scrapbook - I know I saved the article on Jack Morris' no hitter for sure.

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Some observations from the 1962 guide. Page numbers refer to the Adobe pages, not the original guide's pages.

The note on page 3 about Tiger Stadium's shrinking capacity was interesting. I would imagine the "alterations in recent years" cited is a reference to the removal of seats to create "Kaline's Corner", more room for Al to roam in RF.

It wasn't just the Tigers that had a good year in 1961. The farm clubs did well too. Guys like Dick McAuliffe, Gates Brown and Don Wert were mentioned as standouts (on page 4). So was Howard Koplitz. Who?

Man, this guy Koplitz (a right-handed pitcher) had a helluva a year at Birmingham in 1961, which I believe was their Double A farm club (B'ham isn't listed amongst the Tigers' farm clubs for 1962). The kid was 23-3 with a 2.11 ERA, a two-time Player of the Month, the Topps and Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year, and was the Southern Association's MVP.

It's cool to look at the day-by-day record on page 6 and imagine what it must have been like to watch the 1961 Tigers. Look at all those days in first place. It must have been exciting to follow the club as they got off to a solid start in April and kept the momentum going through May, June and July. It must have been excruciatingly tense watching through August as the Tigers tried to claw their way back to first place. It must have been bitterly disappointing watching them in September once it was apparent they were out of the race. In a way, it almost makes me think that what we were feeling in 2007 was similar, although there are obvious differences.

Looking at all the team's home and road records was fun (page 6). The only team the Tigers seemed to struggle with was Baltimore. Man, were those '61 Yankees good at home, or what? How 'bout the Tigers ending up with the AL's best road record? If only they could've done better in Boston and especially in New York. The biggest stain on that overall road record was a lousy record in one-run decisions on the road.

There's a nice breakdown of Cash's season on page 11.

Some interesting stuff in the player blurbs on page 14. July was a rough month for rookie third baseman Steve Boros and key reliever Terry Fox. Both went down with injuries which coincided with the time the Tigers fell out for first place for good (referring back to page 6's day-by-day record). Boros was having a decent season, but I suspect that Fox's month long absence hurt much more.

There's more info on Koplitz. Dude tossed a no-hitter in 1961 and threw 18 complete games! I wonder how much info Tigers fans in 1961 were able to get about the guys in the minors. Probably not much, I'm guessing. I'm sure if there was an MTS back then, we'd be paying attention to what Koplitz was doing. Paul Foytack's blurb makes mention of Foytack being demoted to the bullpen in June. I wonder if MTS was around back then, would there be clamor to replace him with the kid Koplitz? Would there be speculation in Spring Training 1962 about whether or not Koplitz should go north with the club? Maybe not, because there's a note on page 16 saying that he was serving in the military as the media guide went to press.

There's another blurb about Koplitz's 1961 achievements on page 17, then we get to his career record on page 18. 1962 would be his seventh season in pro ball, but he was still young (set to turn 24 in May '62). Based on the limited stats available, it looks like he'd been a servicable pitcher, but there was no indication he'd have the kind of '61 that he did. He certainly did earn his Tigers call-up, but the eight walks and sixteen hits in 12 innings looked a little rough (although they were masked somewhat by his 2-0 record and 2.25 ERA).

--

Thought I'd look Koplitz up. For whatever reason, success didn't follow him to the bigs. The Tigers let him go after the '63 season (the Senators picked him up in the Rule V draft).

http://www.baseball-reference.com/k/kopliho01.shtml

I also found a nice article about him and that '61 season at MinorLeagueBaseball.com.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070613&content_id=258124&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

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