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Ghost of Milt Cuyler

Randy Smith or Matt Millen

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Think this Tiger’s team sucks? I do. But think back to the Randy Smith era. Life was simpler then, as there was absolutely no chance of a winning record, let alone a pennant race. Smith is definitely hated in Detroit, but not nearly enough as far as I’m concerned. People seem to forget about him after the mustachioed former jock moved in across the street. But I am of the opinion that Smith was WORSE THAN MILLEN! A quick comparison is warranted.

Millen’s poor drafts are legendary, and rightfully so. But were they any worse than Smith’s? His first round history is as follows:

Millen’s 1st Rounds- Lions

• 2001: 1st round: Jeff Backus #18 - good pick, decent starter

• 2002: 1st round: Joey Harrington #3 - bust

• 2003: 1st round: Charles Rogers #2 - bust

• 2004: 1st round: Roy Williams #7, Kevin Jones #30 – both were decent players who really started sucking

• 2005: 1st round: Mike Williams #10 - bust

• 2006: 1st round: Ernie Sims #9 – solid starter

• 2007: 1st round: Calvin Johnson #2 - stud

• 2008: Gosder Cherilus #17 – too early to tell? Eh, not really. Bust.

Smith’s 1st Rounds - Tigers

• 1996: 6th overall P Seth Greisinger- bust, currently playing in Japan

• 1997: 1st overall P Matt Anderson- had one great season. Bad.

• 1998: 14th overall P Jeff Weaver – Smith’s best pick

• 1998: 34th overall P Nate Cornejo – terrible pitcher

• 1999: 3rd overall C Eric Munson – Just awful.

• 2000: 8th overall P Matt Wheatland – never reached majors

• 2001: 11th overall P Kenny Baugh – bust

• 2001: 32nd overall 2B Mike Woods - bust

Now it’s much easier to judge talent in the NFL draft than MLB. But compare Millen’s best pick-Calvin Johnson, to Smith’s- Jeff Weaver. As crazy as it seems, Millen almost looks like he knows what he was doing.

Now let’s get to overall records.

Tigers under Randy Smith

Year GP W L % Division

2002 161 55 106 .342 5th of 5

2001 162 66 96 .407 4th of 5

2000 162 79 83 .488 3rd of 5

1999 161 69 92 .429 3rd of 5

1998 162 65 97 .401 5th of 5

1997 162 79 83 .488 3rd of 5

1996 162 53 109 .327 5th of 5

Total 1132 466 666 .411 --

Lions under Millen


2001 Morni 2-14 .125

2002 Morni 3-13 .187

2003 Mariu 5-11 .312

2004 Mariu 6-10 .375

2005 Mariu 5-11 .312

2006 Marin 3-13 .187

2007 Marin 7-9 .437

TOT -- 31-81 .276

Here, it’s tough to argue against Millen’s NFL record-setting poor perfromance. But it’s ‘easier’ to have .300 winning percentage in football. It’s also important to note that both men left their teams in such poor shape that each set records for futility. Millen bears the responsibility of the 2008 0-16 campain, but Smith also must be blamed for the 43-119 record-setting season, which is just as bad if not worse.

Perhaps Smith was not any worse a GM than Millen. But both can and should be mentioned in the same sentence, and Detroiters should loathe them both with equal vehemance.

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First of all, I disagree that the first-place Tigers "suck," even if this isn't the strongest division. I don't see how a first-place team can suck.

I also disagree that Randy was worse than Millen. Randy Smith was an unmitigated moron to be sure. But Millen was historically bad.

And you can't blame Smith for the 119-loss season. That was Dombrowski's doing. Before the season he got rid of some of his best players. "Best players" being a relative term of course. But DD just dumped everybody and started over, hoping he could build a pennant contender in the next few years. And since 2006 he has been successful at that, last season's Murphy's Law campaign notwithstanding.

But as far as Matt vs. Randy goes, there's one factor that tilts the "worst-ever" scale in Millen's favor: His arrogance. At least with Randy Smith, you got the feeling that, deep down, he knew he was a huckleberry.

Millen pranced around with a sneer, his jaw jutted defiantly, acting as though the fans owed him something.

And since a big part of a GM/President's job is selling the product to the public, Millen gets lots of points deducted in this category. Tiger fans never marched on the ballpark with signs demanding Randy Smith's removal.

Edited by Tyrus

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Agreed that this current team doesn't suck. Poor choice for an opening sentence--was more venting than anything. When I'm upset about the Tigers I think about Smith and how far we've come.

What's sad is that Detroit was home to two of worst GM's of all time, both in the prime of my sports watching career.

Anyone remember the 'Randy' parody song that Stoney and Wojo used to play? I have a copy of it, and it features the all-time classic line: "You'll still have your job, Cedeno will be gone. I bet you'd trade Ty Cobb for a Brian Hunter clone!".

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traded cecil fielder for matt drews, tiger fans singin the blues....

Never heard it.

Randy did much more damage filling the whole system, up to 10 teams, with crap. At least Millen's mess should be fixed more quickly. I think I heard yesterday that 1/2 the training camp roster is new. No way you can do that to a baseball team. The non guaranteed contracts helps too.

That being said Millen was the worst NFL GM of all time.

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I think Matt Millen was far, far worse than Randy Smith. Not saying Randy Smith was good, but Millen was an absolute disaster. Baseball drafts are a much harder to master than football drafts. As much as you think Randy fouled up the whole system, it was probably the worst in baseball (minor league system) when he took over and he actually turned it into something respectable in a relatively short time. Randy's guys just couldn't seem to make the jump from good AA/AAA players to good MLB players. Plus I think Randy at one time thought he had a certain amount of money to work with and that money got pulled back drastically. I think he and John McHale handled the Buddy Bell situation terribly, but not as bad as Millen did with his coaches. Each one was a miserable failure. I think Buddy Bell did a good job in 1997 and I think Phil Garner got a lot out of his team in 2000.

Matt Millen was way more arrogant than Randy Smith was. Randy Smith was always approachable, he just wasn't much of a salesman at times. Randy Smith never called an opposing team's player a "fa**ot" Randy Smith actually lived in Detroit while he worked for a Detroit team.

I think Randy could have been a terrific scouting director because he was really organized, he just didn't do well with the major league roster.

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Smith was horrible, but Millen was probably the worst ever in professional sports. I think the Lions can turn it around faster though because it just takes longer to turn over a baseball franchise and it's farm system.

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Smith was horrible, but Millen was probably the worst ever in professional sports. I think the Lions can turn it around faster though because it just takes longer to turn over a baseball franchise and it's farm system.

But just think about this and this makes it clear who is worse. Randy Smith was not a good GM, but did he ever embarras the Tigers? - I am talking with his behavior? I don't ever recall the national media making fun of Randy or slamming Randy like that. I know it's gonna sound like I am a big Randy Smith cheeleader - I am not. He did one heck of a job rebuilding the minor league system - he just couldn't judge major league talent and when the guys he drafted didn't make a clear jump from AA/AAA to the majors it was obvious that a change was going to be needed. Randy hitched his star to too many Gregg Jeffries and Craig Paquette-type players and try to sell them as everyday players. The Juan Gonzalez trade was his desperate attempt to save his job and that didn't go well, but remember that the key piece he sent to Texas (Justin Thompson) never panned out, but Texas did get respectable years out of Frankie Cordero and Frank Catalanotto and got a couple of good years out of Kapler . I used to call for his head all the time, but I will give him a ton of credit for taking the worst minor league system in baseball (the worst by far - literally and figuratively rotting) and building into a good system - and he did it quickly. To me it's not even close who is worse.

By the way, I can't wait for September 12th at the Big House. They say the new structures might really keep the sound in. 112,000 fans chanting FIRE MILLEN (and the Notre Dame fans will join in too) is going to sound awesome. I can't wait for the blue T-Shirts with the yellow block lettering (or vice versa) saying FIRE MILLEN. ABC is idiotic for putting him in the booth in the state of Michigan. Is Millen a bad person? No, not by a long shot, but he is an arrogant prick.

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You're right, Motor City Sonics -- I don't even think it's close. If the record on the field didn't convince me, the fact that Millen was such an embarrassment tilts the scales. As I said, nobody ever marched on Comerica Park with tee shirts and signs calling for Ilitch to "Fire Randy" !!!

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