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The Glory Years of the Detroit Tigers


William M. Anderson With a foreword by Dan Dickerson

Publication Year: 2012

In the three decades between 1920 and 1950, the Detroit Tigers won four American League pennants, the first world championship in team history in 1935, and a second world crown ten years later. Star players of this era—including Ty Cobb, Harry Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Mickey Cochrane, George Kell, and Hal Newhouser—represent the majority of Tigers players inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sports writers followed the team feverishly, and fans packed Navin Field (later Briggs Stadium) to cheer on the high-flying Tigers, with the first record season attendance of one million recorded in 1924 and surpassed eight more times before 1950. In The Glory Years of the Detroit Tigers: 1920–1950, author William M. Anderson combines historical narrative and photographs of these years to argue that these years were the greatest in the history of the franchise. Anderson presents over 350 unique and lively images, mostly culled from the remarkable Detroit News archive, that showcase players’ personalities as well as their exploits on the field. For their meticulous coverage and colorful style, Anderson consults Tigers reporting from the three daily Detroit newspapers of the era (the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, and Detroit Times) and the Sporting News, which was known then as the “Baseball Bible.” Some especially compelling columns are reproduced intact to give readers a feel for the exciting and careful reporting of these years. Anderson combines historical text with photos in six topical chapters: “Spring Training: When Dreams are Entertained,” “Franchise Stars,” “The Supporting Cast,” “Moments of Glory and Notable Games,” “The War Years,” and “The Old Ballpark: Where Legends and Memories Were Made.” Anderson presents sketches of many fine players who have been overlooked in other histories and visits characters who often acted in strange ways: Dizzy Trout, Gee Walker, Elwood “Boots” “The Baron” Poffenbeger, and Louis “Bobo” “Buck” Newsom. Tigers fans and anyone interested in local sports culture will enjoy this comprehensive and compelling look into the glory years of Tigers history.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series: Painted Turtle


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Foreword by Dan Dickerson

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pp. ix-xii

The room above the garage in our house is affectionately called the “baseball room.” It’s a place where old copies of the Baseball Register sit on a shelf next to Bill James Baseball Abstracts, biographies, and baseball...

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pp. xiii-xx

My inspiration for this new, focused history of the Detroit Tigers originated with a phone call I received from my friend George Michael in December 2008. Michael, a name familiar to many people interested in sports, had recently resigned as the anchor of the George...

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1. Spring Training When Dreams Are Entertained

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pp. 1-54

Hope is a good thing. Fortunately all major league teams—their owners, management, and players—all approach spring training and a new season certain that they will play better and win more games. If the team was a contender in the last campaign, the cry...

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2. Franchise Stars

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pp. 55-142

The issue of who should be considered star players is sure to evoke debate and disagreement. Here the distinction is reserved for those who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In both this chapter and the following one, “The Supporting Cast,” the order...

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3. The Supporting Cast

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pp. 143-238

Every competitive team has a core of key players who are determining factors in a ball club’s ultimate success; I have chosen to label them the franchise stars of this era. Just below on the ladder of importance is another rung of quality performers, not Hall...

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4. Moments of Glory and Notable Games

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pp. 239-326

In the last two decades of these glory years, Detroit won four American League pennants and two world championships within a dozen years— no other timeframe in franchise history has ever produced...

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5. The War Years

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pp. 327-390

Although the United States would not enter World War II until December 1941, civilians were being drafted as the war escalated. The media radar illuminated the treatment of high-profile Americans, especially men who played professional sports. In Detroit the...

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6. The Old Ballpark Where Legends and Memories Were Made

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pp. 391-446

Are there entertainment venues more cherished than major league baseball stadiums? People flock to concerts primarily because of the performers. For rock music enthusiasts, outdoor venues are often more appealing than a great concert hall. Because...

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pp. 447-448

Those of us who love the game of baseball have an intimate lifetime relationship with our favorite team that holds a considerable amount of our attention. If we are not able to be at the ballpark or experience the broadcast of last night’s game, finding...


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pp. 449-452


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pp. 453-460


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pp. 461

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335925
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814335895

Page Count: 480
Illustrations: 368
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1
Series Title: Painted Turtle