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Three straight trips to the World Series, three straight losses. That's the baggage the Tigers carried with them to spring training in 1910.They were the Buffalo Bills of baseball.

Yet there was no real reason to think that the Tigers couldn't repeat as American League champions yet again. They still had the incomparable Ty Cobb and his wingman in the outfield, Sam Crawford. Donie Bush was establishing himself as the unquestioned shortstop. 

Hughie Jennings as manager was becoming a fixture as Tigers skipper. And the pitching staff was still among the best in baseball.

But as well as the Tigers played---they were 29-16 on June 8---the New York Highlanders and Philadelphia Athletics were even better. The Tigers spent all summer hoping that one of those teams would cool off. The Highlanders did, a little, but nobody could stop Connie Mack's A's.

Even a 12-2 run the Tigers had at the end of July and the beginning of August could draw them no closer than 10-1/2 games of the Athletics, who were playing at a .680 clip. The Tigers' inability to catch the A's certainly had nothing to do with Cobb.

The "Georgia Peach" had his best season yet, threatening .400 on his way to a dazzling .383 BA and yet another batting title, though this one had an element of the bizarre.

Cleveland's Nap Lajoie caught Cobb on the final weekend, laying down bunts and benefiting from the St. Louis Browns' dislike of Cobb; the Browns blatantly tried to hand the batting crown to Lajoie.

But one of Lajoie's hits was changed to an error, and so Cobb won the title by .001. The Chalmers Automobile Company, which had promised a new car to the batting leader, ended up awarding both Cobb and Lajoie automobiles.

Cobb won the batting crown, but the Tigers could do no better than a distant third in the AL, with a good but not great 86-68 record. The A's never did sink below .680, finishing at 102-48. A team ERA of 1.79 probably didn't hurt!

Crawford had a monster year, too, driving in 120 runs and slapping out 19 triples. George Mullin won 21 games for the Tigers, who sported a 2.82 team ERA, which was good for only sixth in the league.

By GregEno
 

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Tagged:
Connie Mack, Detroit Tigers, Donie Bush, George Mullin, Hughie Jennings, Nap Lajoie, New York Highlanders, Philadelphia Athletics, Sam Crawford, Ty Cobb

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