The Tigers began the 1935 season with an unfamiliar feeling: that of the targeted.
For once, it was the Tigers who other teams were gunning for. The Tigers had the bullseye on their backs. Could they win two pennants in a row under such pressure?
Everyone, just about, was back from the 1934 team, so it was natural for the Tigers to believe that they could repeat in 1935. Of particular cause for excitement was 1B Hank Greenberg, who baseball observers knew was going to be a superstar for years to come.
Apparently, the Tigers had problems with being a target. They stumbled out of the gate with a 2-9 record. It took the Tigers a while to warm up, but when they did, they were very hot. The 2-9 eventually turned into 46-29, good enough for second place on July 7, one game behind the Yankees.
Greenberg was amazing. He led the league in RBI with 170, and in homers with 36. It was good enough to be named league MVP. 2B Chariie Gehringer was his reliable self, registering a .330 season, living up to his nickname of "The Mechanical Man."
Tommy Bridges (21 wins) and Schoolboy Rowe (19) led the pitching staff for manager/catcher Mickey Cochrane.
In late-July, the Tigers ripped off 14 wins in 16 games, and on August 11 the defending league champs were a comfortable six games in front of second place New York. The Tigers made a mockery of the pennant race. By September 7, they were a full 10 games in front of the Yankees. There was no drama---the Tigers were going to repeat as league champs!
The final margin of victory was three games, but that was simply due to a mini-slump in the final two weeks; the Yankees were never really in the race after Labor Day. The Tigers' record was 93-58.
The Tigers celebrated another pennant, but that, of course, wasn't what their ultimate goal was.
1935 World Series
The Tigers would go up against the Chicago Cubs in the 1935 World Series. The Cubs survived a tough race with the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals, winning an even 100 games.
The Cubs were managed by Charlie Grimm and featured stars like 2B Billy Herman, C Gabby Hartnett, OF Chuck Klein and pitchers Lon Warneke and Bill Lee.
The World Series opened in Detroit, and the Cubs came away with a 3-0 win behind the four-hit pitching of Warneke. But the Tigers stormed back to take the next three games, taking control of the Series. In a do-or-die Game 5 in Chicago, it was Warneke again victimizing the Tigers, 3-1.
Game 6 in Detroit was one for the ages. The game was tied, 3-3 heading into the ninth inning. The Cubs' Stan Hack led off with a triple. But he died there, as Tommy Bridges wiggled out of the inning with a strikeout, a pitcher-to-first groundout and a fly out.
In the Tigers' half of the ninth, with one out, Mickey Cochrane singled. Gehringer moved Black Mike to second with a groundout. The Series-winning run was now in scoring position with two outs. Then veteran Goose Goslin, almost 35 years old, slapped a single to right field, scoring Cochrane. The 40,000+ throng at Navin Field went berserk. The Tigers were World Champions for the first time ever!
But the giddy mood would soon be tempered, as longtime Tigers owner Frank Navin would pass away on November 13 from a heart ailment. But at least he got to see his team finally win a World Series. The new leader would be Walter Briggs, Sr., who was already half owner.By GregEno
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- 1935 World Series, Bill Lee, Charlie Gehringer, Charlie Grimm, Chicago Cubs, Chuck Klein, Detroit Tigers, Frank Navin, Gabby Hartnett, Goose Goslin, Hank Greenberg, Lon Warneke, Mickey Cochrane, Schoolboy Rowe, Stan Hack, Tommy Bridges, Walter Briggs