If you wanted to choose a way for the Tigers to bounce back from the failures of 1912 and 1913 and finish north of .500, it's doubtful you'd include "have Ty Cobb miss 56 games" as one of the solutions.

Yet that's exactly what happened to the superstar Cobb: an injury kept his games played total to 98---and the Tigers did indeed finish above .500.

One of the reasons for the Tigers' improvement in 1914 was because of pitcher Harry Coveleski, who was purchased from Chattanooga of the Southern Association. Coveleski threw 303 innings and won 22 games, a big surprise for a pitcher who didn't make much of an impression in earlier big league stints with the Phillies and the Reds.

As poorly as the Tigers started in 1913, they burst out of the gate in 1914, sprinting to a 19-7 start. And as late as July 4, the Tigers were hanging with the vaunted Philadelphia Athletics, only 1-1/2 games out of first place.

But Cobb's injury, which led to an inability to score runs consistently, started to catch up to the Tigers. The team faded in the second half, though the Tigers still won more than they lost (80-73), and finished in the first division for the first time since 1911.

Cobb batted .368, which was becoming an "off" season for him. It was a rare year for Cobb, in that he didn't win the league batting title. And once again, Sam Crawford led the league in triples, with 26. Harry Heilmann made his big league debut, but it was a rough one (.225 BA in 182 AB). The Tigers ran wild again, stealing 211 bases despite Cobb missing all that playing time.

Hooks Dauss won 19 games, but Jean Dubuc slumped to 12 victories.

All told, the Tigers were better than they were in 1912 and 1913, but they were still 19-1/2 games behind the Philadelphia A's.

It was clear that the Tigers still had a long way to go to return to elite status.

HR: Crawford (8)
RBI: Crawford (104)
BA: Cobb (.368)

Wins: Coveleski (22)
K: Dauss (150)
ERA: Coveleski (2.49)


By GregEno

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