Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What If They Had Not Been Traded

Two of the former Tiger players taking part in the Fantasy Camp here in Lakeland are Jason Thompson and Steve Kemp. Remember how they were the rising stars on the Tigers during the late 1970s? It seemed like they would be the saviors of the franchise. It has always struck me how those two both had fairly good major league careers, but were not part of what the Tigers eventually accomplished in 1984 with their world title. Darrell Evans, who is also here, was the one free agent signing the Tigers used in '84 after they dealt away Thompson. Nobody could argue with the Kemp trade. Chet Lemon, acquired for Kemp from Chicago, in center field was a very important piece of the Tigers puzzle. If those trades had not been made, I doubt the Tigers would have had the type of success they did during the 1980s. Then again, Thompson and Kemp have nothing to be ashamed of about their major league careers.

Random Thought

- By the way, one of my pet peeves used to be people referring to "Justin" Thompson as "Jason" Thompson.

- The Sporting News Baseball Yearbook has Minnesota No. 1 its power poll in the major leagues, with the Tigers second. Surprised? I am. But this is what the Twins have going for them: Morneau, Mauer and Santana - their best three players just might be the best three players in the American League.

7 Comments:

Blogger Ozz said...

Steve Kemp was my first favorite Tiger when I became a fan back in 78/79. I remember sitting in my bedroom one Saturday night sorting baseball cards (I was 10). My little sister came in to tell me that it had just been announced on the news that Kemp had been traded. I thought she was messing with me.

Yeah, that was a good trade.

Thompson, of course, was also an early favorite. It's too bad they traded him when they did. They got Al Cowens (and his Ed Farmer-related drama in return). I don't remember what the Tigers got when they eventually parted ways with Cowens. Maybe a minor leaguer? I'd have to look it up.

Had Thompson not been traded, maybe he would've stuck around until '84. Then again, the Tigers might not have ended up with Evans and the veteran leadership he brought with him.

6:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Wockenfuss was another player that deserved to experience the glory of 1984. Although not a star like Kemp or Thompson, he was one of the best bench players I've seen. I believe he was involved in the trade to get Bergman and Hernandez, so it is similar to the Kemp/Lemon trade of giving up talent to acquire talent.

10:04 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Ozz,
It seemed like Evans' veteran leadership kicked in later. That was especially true in 1987. In 1984, he didn't have such a great year. His best yearwas '85.
Caputo

10:29 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Yeah, it was cool the way John B. would squeeze the bat waiting for a pitch. And he was in the trade for Willie and and Bergman - along with Glenn Wilson. Sparky also forced them to get rid of Rick Leach before '84.
Caputo

10:31 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Caputo I agree those moves the Tigers made in the 80s were very significant. To me it solidifies the point that if you want to win championships you have to play for the moment and take advantage of it while you can. The Tigers did that and they landed in the graces of World Series fame. To me Dave Dombrowski has done that with this current tigers. A few years ago we were all sitting back and thinking what the hell is this guy doing. You trade Weaver for a guy to be named later (Bonderman)? Redman for a nerdy looking left hander (Robertson)? Why in the heck would you sign an aging veteran catcher (I-Rod) and a year or two later a washed up right fielder (Ordonez)? How is Monroe and Shelton why waste the rule 5 on these guys. Trade them away. I can't believe you didn't break the bank for Pavano (he's played 2 games as a yankee). You got Guillen instead of Aurillia (Aurillia is he still in the league)? HE played his cards right and slowly formed a team in my mind that will be good not just for a year or two, but for a long stretch. Personally for that 5th starter this year I wouldn't have mind them going out and getting another guy like maybe a Jason Schmidt for a descent price. Cause I think Rogers is headed toward the finish line. I would have also seen us sign a guy like Hillenbrand this offseason cause i think he could fill a big role. At the same time I think you have to trust Dombrowski in knowing what is right and he is defiantely playing to win now and playing to win for a long stretch.

This is why I think Joe Dumars should make a move and not be afraid to lose a guy like Amir Johnson and his number 1 picks. He can't draft anyways. After the first 10 picks the NBA draft is a crap shoot. Go get that extra guard or swingman. Saunders should play Maxiell more. The kid deserves to be on that softmore game and in my mind was screwed by Saunders lack of PT. That kid was dominant in the SUmmer leagues. HE played extremely well in the Pre_Season and during his short stint as a starter and plays well when he does play. Flip could easily knock down Rips, Prince, SHeed, and Webbers minutes to around 30 and keep them fresh for the playoffs if he lets his bench have a chance.


I do however, like Minnesota as the favorite over the Tigers. For some one reason(other then the lions) Detroit teams play better with the backs against the wall. Plus you hit it. Mourneau, Mauer, Santana are as good as it gets at key positions. You have the MVP, CY Young winner, and batting champ all on the same team. I think in the end Detroit will still win the Central if they start off good.

11:30 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
I agree that the Pistons would be wise to make a deal to get help in the backcourt and need not worry about the future as much as the present. I still feel they have a real good chance of making it to the NBA finals. I see it differently than you about the fifth starter. I feel the Tigers are deep in starting pitching and don't need to make a move in that direction. I do agree about the premise you have about winning now instead of always playing for tommorrow. The idea is to win - now.
Caputo

4:33 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

Say hi to my friend Chuck Helppie down there. Are you playing ball Pat or just hanging out?

9:19 PM 

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