A franchise rich in tradition, the Tigers have historically been a competitive team that has kept close on the heels of the Yankees in the American League. In 62 of their 100 seasons they have finished with a winning record.
Prior to 1989 they had finished last just three times. The first Junior Circuit club to win three straight pennants, the Tigers have fielded some of the best players in the history of the game. Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Heinie Manush, Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser, Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, and Jack Morris have all worn the Old English "D". The Tigers won the pennant each year from 1907-1909, losing the Series each time to superior NL foes. The 1910's saw the team post winning marks and great offensive numbers, but nary a flag. The 1915 team is one of only eight teams to win 100 games and finish in second place. The 1961 Tigers also hold that dubious distinction. The Bengals, as they are often called, won the 1934 and 1935 pennants, finally winning their first world title in 1935 with a victory over the Cubs. Between 1934 and 1945, a twelve year stretch, the team won four pennants, finished second three times, and enjoyed nine winning seasons. The 1945 team rode Greenberg's bat and Newhouser's arm to the crown. The 1950's were the worst in team history, though Al Kaline arrived on the scene. In 1955 he became the youngest man to win a batting title.
In the 1960's the team was built through shrewd trades (Norm Cash from Cleveland for Steve Demeter), and the farm system, a philosophy the Tigers used through the 1980's. In 1961 the Tigers became one of the few teams to win 100 games but lose the pennant, when the Yankees out-distanced them.
In 1967 the Tigers were eliminated on the last Saturday of the season, but the next year was all theirs. In '68 Denny McLain rolled to 31 victories - the last man to top that magic figure. The Tiger offense was led by Kaline, Willie Horton, Bill Freehan, Jim Northrup, Dick McAuliffe, and Gates Brown. Mickey Lolich and John Hiller supported McLain on the mound.
In 1972 an aging team squeeked into the playoffs, in large part due to the early-season strike, but were beaten by the A's in five games. Three years later they bottomed out - falling into last place and losing 100 games. But within a few short years a new manager and young players from the furtile farm system had the Tigers back on track.
The '84 team was one of the best ever for a single season. By June the AL East race was over. The Tigers rolled to 104 wins, topping the Blue Jays by 15. The team's real strength was up-the-middle. Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Lemon manned the middle positions, and each were All-Stars. Kirk Gibson, Evans, Howard Johnson, and Larry Herndon provided support.
Jack Morris, who would win more games than any other pitcher in the 1980's, paced the staff, followed by Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox. Most of the key players on the team were products of the Tigers farm system.
In the post-season Detroit swept the Royals and cast the Padres aside in five games.
That team disappointed - failing to win another pennant, though they did win 98 games and the AL East flag in 1987. By the late 1980's the Tigers were old and in last place. After Anderson retired in '95, the Tigers quickly lost all ties to the past - Whitaker and Trammell retired shortly after. The late 1990's saw three managers in short order - Buddy Bell, Larry Parrish, and Phil Garner.
The 2000 Tigers started poorly but played very well from July to early September. The showing propped fans hopes that the Tigers may be back in contention soon.
In 2004 the Detroit Tigers finished 4th in the American League Division with a 72-90 record.
In 2006 the Detroit Tigers finished 2nd in the American League Division with
a 95-67 record.