Detroit Tigers 1908 Season
The Tigers had knocked on the door of ultimate success in 1907, and were prepared to bust it down in 1908. There was no doubt that the Tigers were a team to be reckoned with. With Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford, the Tigers boasted perhaps the best outfield tandem in baseball.
"Eee Yah" Hughie Jennings was a superb field general. The pitching staff was loaded, and steeped with experience. And that experience was infused with youth, as 23-year-old Ed Summers, a tall, lanky righthander from Indiana, joined the Tigers as a rookie. Not to mention that the Tigers were defending league champions, and that gave them a certain swagger. But after 12 games of the 1908 season, the Tigers were 3-9. It seemed that the rest of the league wasn't too impressed with the Tigers' talent or swagger. Not so fast!
Before long, the Tigers were off on a 15-4 tear that re-established them as major players in the American League. On July 10, a 12-2 run lifted the Tigers into a first place tie with the St. Louis Browns. Three weeks later, the Tigers were in first place by three games. Cobb was terrorizing the league once again, though his batting average wasn't quite at his 1907 level.
Crawford's average was near Cobb's, and the two of them banged out triples like nobody's business. Benefiting from all this was the third outfielder, Matty McIntyre, who was constantly being driven in by his outfield co-horts. McIntyre would go on to lead the teams in runs scored with 105.
Rookie pitcher Summers was a sensation, winning 24 games and posting a tiny 1.64 ERA. But despite all these individual performances, the Tigers were in a dogfight for the pennant. The Cleveland Naps wouldn't go away, and with a week to play, the Naps and Tigers were in a dead heat.
The Chicago White Sox were also looming, just 1-1/2 games out.
Eventually, the pennant came down to the final day, with three teams still in the hunt. The Tigers were in Chicago, a half-game ahead of the White Sox. The Naps were also a half-game behind the Tigers, and would play at St. Louis to close the season.
But with that half-game lead, the Tigers would win the pennant outright if they could beat the Pale Hose. And that's exactly what the Tigers did, shutting out Chicago 7-0 to claim their second straight A.L. pennant.
Cobb won his second straight batting title, finishing at .324. Once again, he led the league in RBI. And, he led the circuit in hits, doubles and triples. Crawford batted .311 and smacked 16 triples, second to Cobb's 20. The battle-tested Tigers would once again meet the dynasty of the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.
1908 World Series
In 1907, the Tigers were outclassed by the Cubs, being swept and getting nothing from their dynamic duo of Cobb and Crawford.
After the first two games in 1908, it looked like a replay from '07, as the Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
But the Tigers recovered to win Game 3 in Chicago, behind the pitching of Mullin.
The Tigers returned to Detroit for Games 4 and 5, hoping to get a boost from the hometown fans.
Alas, it wasn't to be, as the mighty Cubs won both games to claim the series, 4-1.
So much good had happened for the Tigers in 1907 and 1908, but the ultimate prize had still eluded them.By GregEno