With Cecil Fielder, the Tigers finally had a star player who was worth the price of admission. With no disrespect to the 1984 players who still remained, like Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, or the ones who departed (Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon), Fielder was dynamic---someone who could crush the baseball every time at bat. He also produced runs at a breathtaking pace.
Sparky Anderson was beginning his 12th full season as Tigers manager. No skipper had such a long run in Detroit since the days of Hughie Jennings, early in the 20th century.
Following Fielder's lead, the Tigers assembled a power hitting team rivaled by few in team history.
In the off-season, the Tigers acquired C/1B Mickey Tettleton, OF Rob Deer and, just before the season, the Tigers signed OF Pete Incaviglia, recently released by Texas.
That was a lineup full of thumpers---because there were already Travis Fryman, Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell in the lineup, who were all capable of power.
Sure enough, the Tigers slugged 209 homers, led by Fielder, who had 44 and who again led the league with 133 RBI. But Deer batted just .179, striking out 175 times in 448 at-bats, though he had 25 homers. Fryman blossomed at 3B, batting .259 with 21 HR and 91 RBI. But Trammell was again felled by injury, appearing in only 101 games.
A pleasant surprise on the mound was veteran righthander Bill Gullickson, who the Tigers signed in December 1990 after he was released by Houston. Gullickson became the Tigers' first 20-game winner since 1983, losing just nine games. The Tigers' last 20-game winner, Jack Morris, had left for Minnesota as a free agent in the off-season. With the Twins, Morris pitched a gutsy, dramatic Game 7 in the World Series, throwing 10 shutout innings as the Twins won, 1-0.
As a team, the Tigers kept things interesting, staying in contention until early-September. But they faded, and the Toronto Blue Jays overtook them after Labor Day. The Tigers finished 84-78, tied for third place with the Boston Red Sox, seven games behind the Jays.
It was the Tigers' 12th winning season in their past 14.By GregEno
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- Alan Trammell, Bill Gullickson, Cecil Fielder, Detroit Tigers, Hughie Jennings, Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Mickey Tettleton, Pete Incaviglia, Rob Deer, Sparky Anderson, Toronto Blue Jays, Travis Fryman