Before the 1919 season even began, the Tigers had to make a difficult decision.
In March, they released pitcher Harry Coveleski, who had come over in 1914 after three years out of big league baseball and gave the Tigers three solid years before fading. Coveleski was almost 33 years old.
There were a bunch of new faces on the roster: catcher Eddie Ainsmith; OFs Ira Flagstead and Chick Shorten; and pitcher Dutch Leonard among them.
The new-look Tigers didn't start out so good in 1919; on May 18 they were 5-14 and flat on the bottom of the American League standings.
The Tigers spent most of the mid-summer months crawling out of that hole, and along the way some individuals emerged as key players.
There was 1B Harry Heilmann, seeing his first action as a starter. Heilmann would hit .320 for the team. Catcher Ainsmith hit .272 and was a solid backstop. Flagstead, in limited action, batted .331 and Shorten hit .315. Bobby Veach, old reliable, smacked the baseball around at a .355 clip.
And then there was the amazing Ty Cobb.
Cobb was showing remarkable consistency at the highest level, batting .384 after years of .383 and .382. It resulted in his 12th batting title. Cobb was simply the best player in baseball, for his multiple skills and talents.
But, as had happened to them so many times before, the Tigers couldn't overcome a rough start and their mediocre pitching. They rode in at 80-60---very respectable, but good enough for just fourth place.
HR: Heilmann (8)
RBI: Veach (101)
BA: Cobb (.384)
Wins: Hooks Dauss (21)
K: Leonard (102)
ERA: Leonard (2.77)
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