1976 Detroit Tigers season

The 1976 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished in fifth place in the American League East with a record of 74–87, 24 games behind the New York Yankees. They were outscored by their opponents 709 to 609. The Tigers drew 1,467,020 fans to Tiger Stadium in 1976, ranking 4th of the 14 teams in the American League.

1976 Detroit Tigers
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s)John Fetzer
General manager(s)Jim Campbell
Manager(s)Ralph Houk
Local televisionWWJ-TV
(George Kell, Larry Osterman, Don Kremer, Al Kaline)
Local radioWJR
(Ernie Harwell, Paul Carey)
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Offseason

Regular season

1976 was the year of "The Bird" in Detroit, as rookie pitcher Mark Fidrych drew sell-out crowds to Tiger Stadium. Fidrych led the major leagues with a 2.34 ERA, won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and finished with a 19–9 record.

Aurelio Rodríguez also became the first American League third baseman other than Brooks Robinson to win the Gold Glove Award at third base since 1959.

Season chronology

  • April 20: Milt May‚ acquired by the Tigers in December‚ broke his ankle crashing into the wall behind home plate while chasing a foul ball. He did not play for the remainder of the season.
  • April 20: Mark "The Bird" Fidrych appeared in his first major league game.[5]
  • May 15: Mark Fidrych won his first major league start. Fidrych pitched a complete game, allowing only two hits in a 2–1 victory over the Indians. Fidrych took a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a single to Buddy Bell in the seventh. Aside from his fine pitching, Fidrych drew attention for talking to the ball during the game‚ and patting down the mound each inning. Tom Veryzer had the game-winning RBI for Detroit with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
  • May 25: Mark Fidrych pitched well in his second start, holding the Red Sox to six hits and two runs, but the Tigers were shut out, 2–0, by Luis Tiant.
  • May 28: After hitting safely in 30 straight games since April 17, Ron LeFlore went hitless in a 9–5 loss to the Yankees. LeFlore's hitting streak tied the third longest in team history.
  • May 31: Manager Ralph Houk let rookie Mark Fidrych go 11 innings for a complete game, 5–4 win over the Brewers. Fidrych gave up a run in the top of the 11th inning, but the Tigers rallied in the bottom of the 11th on singles by Chuck Scrivener, Jerry Manuel, and Tom Veryzer. Ron LeFlore had two triples in the game.
  • June 1: John Hiller won both games of a double header against the Brewers. The Tigers came from behind to win 8–7 and 7–5.
  • June 5: Mark Fidrych pitched his second straight 11-inning complete game, beating Bert Blyleven and the Texas Rangers, 3–2. Ben Oglivie scored the winning run in the top of the 11th, and The Bird pitched a 1–2–3 inning in the bottom of the 11th against the heart of the Rangers lineup (Mike Hargrove, Toby Harrah, and Jeff Burroughs).
  • June 8: The Tigers traded Joe Coleman to the Chicago Cubs for cash and a player to be named later. On the same day, the Tigers had the second pick in the baseball draft, selecting pitcher Pat Underwood.
  • June 11: "Bird"-mania began to take hold in Detroit. A crowd of 36,377 showed up in Detroit for a Friday night game, as Mark Fidrych faced Nolan Ryan. Fidrych gave up only one earned run, and the Tigers came out on top, 4–3. The Tigers won on a walk-off single by Alex Johnson in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Ron LeFlore scoring the winning run.
  • June 15: The Tigers lost to the Royals, 21–7. Four Detroit pitchers (Dave Lemanczyk, Bill Laxton, Ray Bare, and Steve Grilli) combined to allow 24 hits and 20 earned runs. George Brett went 4-for-5 and Amos Otis drove in five runs.
  • June 16: The Tigers drew 21,659 on a Wednesday night to watch Mark Fidrych win his fifth game. Fidrych held the Royals to five hits and two earned runs. The Tigers trailed 3–2 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Tigers rallied for two runs off singles by Dan Meyer and Alex Johnson, and a walk by Aurelio Rodríguez. Mickey Stanley ended it with a walk-off single to right field, driving in Johnson.
  • June 20: The Tigers beat the Twins, 7–3, in Minneapolis, as Mark Fidrych extended his record to 6–1. Jason Thompson hit a three-run home run in the 3rd inning for the Tigers.
  • June 24: Mark Fidrych drew 26,293 fans to Fenway Park for a Thursday night game, as the Tigers won, 6–3. Jason Thompson homered and Fidrych pitched another complete game.
  • June 28: Mark Fidrych was in the spotlight, as the Tigers faced the Yankees on Monday Night Baseball. In front of a crowd of 47,855 at Tiger Stadium and a national television audience, "The Bird" talked to the ball and groomed the mound, as the Tigers won, 5–1 in a game that lasted only 1 hour and 51 minutes.
  • July 3: As the country prepared to celebrate the Bicentennial, Mark Fidrych shut out the Orioles 4–0 in front of a sell out crowd of 51,032 at Tiger Stadium. Fidrych gave up only four hits and extended his record to 9–1.
  • July 9: Pitching in front of another sell-out crowd (51,041) at Tiger Stadium, Mark Fidrych held the Royals to one run in nine innings, but Dennis Leonard shut out the Tigers. The final score was Royals – 1; Tigers – 0.
  • July 13: Mark Fidrych gave up two runs and was tagged as the losing pitcher in the 1976 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The National League All-Stars defeated the American League, 7–1.
  • July 16: Mark Fidrych won his 10th game, a 1–0 victory over the A's. Another big crowd (45,905) showed up to watch "The Bird" do his thing on the mound at Tiger Stadium.
  • July 20: A crowd of over 30,000 shows up on a Tuesday night in Minneapolis to watch "The Bird." Fidrych pitched another complete game and got his 11th win, 8–3. Rusty Staub and Ron LeFlore homered for the Tigers.
  • July 24: "The Bird" drew another big crowd to Tiger Stadium (37,405), but lasted only 4.1 innings. John Hiller got the win in relief, as Ben Oglivie hit a home run in the eighth inning to give the Tigers a 5–4 win over the Indians.
  • July 29: Mark Fidrych took a loss despite pitching a six-hit complete game and not allowing an earned run. The Orioles shut out the Tigers, 1–0, as Lee May scored an unearned run in the fourth inning on an error by Detroit second baseman Pedro García. Rusty Staub tripled in the bottom of the fourth, but did not score as Willie Horton and Alex Johnson followed with ground balls to third base.
  • August 7: "The Bird" got his 12th win against the Indians, a complete game six-hitter, by a score of 6–1. Ben Oglivie went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Dan Meyer and Ron LeFlore scored two runs each.
  • August 11: The Tigers beat the Rangers, 4–3, as Mark Fidrych notched his 13th win over Gaylord Perry. The Tigers drew 36,523 for a Wednesday game in Detroit. Rusty Staub and Willie Horton both hit home runs for Detroit.
  • August 17: Despite a losing record, the Tigers drew a season-high 51,822 fans on a Tuesday night, as Bird-mania reached a frenzy. The game featured Mark Fidrych against the Frank Tanana and the California Angels. Fidrych did not disappoint the fans, as the Tigers won 3–2. Fidrych went to 14–4.
  • August 18: Nolan Ryan struck out 17 Tigers batters. The Angels won, 5–4, in 11 innings.
  • August 25: The Tigers beat the White Sox, 3–1, in front of 40,000 fans on a Wednesday night in Detroit. Rookie Mark Fidrych held the White Sox to five hits in a game that lasted only one hour and 48 minutes.
  • August 31: Nolan Ryan struck out Ron LeFlore for the 2000th strikeout of his career.[6]
  • September 3: The Tigers lost to the Brewers, 11–2, as Mark Fidrych had the worst outing of his young career, and Mike Hegan hit for the cycle for Milwaukee. Fidrych gave up nine runs (seven earned) in 3.2 innings.
  • September 12: The Tigers beat Dock Ellis, 3–0, in front of 52,707 fans at Yankee Stadium. Mark Fidrych pitched a complete game shutout for his 16th win.
  • September 18: Mark Fidrych and the Tigers beat the Indians, 4–0. Willie Horton had a double, a home run, and two RBIs, and Fidrych held the Indians to five hits for his 18th win. The Bird continued his pattern of fast-paced games, as the game lasted only 1 hour and 48 minutes.
  • September 22: Without The Bird pitching, the Tigers did not draw well. On this date, a season-low 3,616 fans showed up at Tiger Stadium to watch the Indians shut out the Tigers, 3–0.
  • September 24: Tigers starter Dave Roberts shut out the AL East champion Yankees, 3–0. Roberts held the Yankees to five hits, as John Wockenfuss had a triple and Rusty Staub hit a home run.
  • October 1: John Hiller got a rare start for the Tigers and pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout over the Brewers at County Stadium. * October 2: In his last start of the 1976 season, Fidrych got his 19th win, beating the Brewers, 4–1. Fidrych held the Brewers to five hits in a game that lasted 1 hour and 46 minutes.
  • October 3: The Tigers finished the season on a four-game winning streak, beating the Brewers, 5–2. The game was Hank Aaron's last major league game. Aaron hit an RBI-single to shortstop off Dave Roberts in his last at bat in the bottom of the sixth inning.
  • November 5: The Cy Young Award is announced, with Jim Palmer taking the award over Mark Fidrych.
  • December 4: The AL Gold Glove Award at third base was awarded to Aurelio Rodríguez. Rodríguez was the first AL third baseman other than Brooks Robinson to win the award since 1959.

Season standings

AL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
New York Yankees 97 62 0.610 45–35 52–27
Baltimore Orioles 88 74 0.543 10½ 42–39 46–35
Boston Red Sox 83 79 0.512 15½ 46–35 37–44
Cleveland Indians 81 78 0.509 16 44–35 37–43
Detroit Tigers 74 87 0.460 24 36–44 38–43
Milwaukee Brewers 66 95 0.410 32 36–45 30–50

Record vs. opponents

1976 American League Records

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
Team BAL BOS CAL CWS CLE DET KC MIL MIN NYY OAK TEX
Baltimore 7–11 8–4 8–4 7–11 12–6 6–6 11–7 4–8 13–5 4–8 8–4
Boston 11–7 7–5 6–6 9–9 14–4 3–9 12–6 7–5 7–11 4–8 3–9
California 4–8 5–7 11–7 7–5 6–6 8–10 4–8 8–10 5–7 6–12 12–6
Chicago 4–8 6–6 7–11 3–9 6–6 8–10 7–5 7–11 1–11 8–9 7–11
Cleveland 11–7 9–9 5–7 9–3 6–12 6–6 11–6 9–3 4–12 4–8 7–5
Detroit 6–12 4–14 6–6 6–6 12–6 4–8 12–6 4–8 9–8 6–6 5–7
Kansas City 6–6 9–3 10–8 10–8 6–6 8–4 8–4 10–8 7–5 9–9 7–11
Milwaukee 7–11 6–12 8–4 5–7 6–11 6–12 4–8 4–8 5–13 5–7 10–2
Minnesota 8–4 5–7 10–8 11–7 3–9 8–4 8–10 8–4 2–10 11–7 11–7
New York 5–13 11–7 7–5 11–1 12–4 8–9 5–7 13–5 10–2 6–6 9–3
Oakland 8–4 8–4 12–6 9–8 8–4 6–6 9–9 7–5 7–11 6–6 7–11
Texas 4–8 9–3 6–12 11–7 5–7 7–5 11–7 2–10 7–11 3–9 11–7

Notable transactions

Roster

1976 Detroit Tigers
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Designated hitters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Bill Freehan 71 237 64 .270 5 27
1B Jason Thompson 123 412 90 .218 17 54
2B Pedro García 77 227 45 .198 3 20
3B Aurelio Rodríguez 128 480 67 .240 8 50
SS Tom Veryzer 97 354 83 .234 1 25
LF Alex Johnson 125 429 115 .268 6 45
CF Ron LeFlore 135 544 172 .316 4 39
RF Rusty Staub 161 589 176 .299 15 96
DH Willie Horton 114 401 105 .262 14 56

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Ben Oglivie 115 305 87 .285 15 47
Dan Meyer 105 294 74 .252 2 16
Chuck Scrivener 80 222 49 .221 2 16
Mickey Stanley 84 214 55 .257 4 29
Bruce Kimm 63 152 40 .263 1 6
John Wockenfuss 60 144 32 .222 3 10
Gary Sutherland 42 117 24 .205 0 6
Mark Wagner 39 115 30 .261 0 12
Phil Mankowski 24 85 23 .271 1 4
Marvin Lane 18 48 9 .188 0 5
Jerry Manuel 54 43 6 .140 0 2
Milt May 6 25 7 .280 0 1

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Dave Roberts 36 252 16 17 4.00 79
Vern Ruhle 32 199.2 9 12 3.92 88
Mark Fidrych 31 250.1 19 9 2.34 97
Ray Bare 30 134 7 8 4.63 59
Joe Coleman 12 66.2 2 5 4.86 38
Frank McCormack 9 32.2 0 5 5.79 14
Ed Glynn 5 23.2 1 3 6.08 17

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Jim Crawford 32 109.3 1 8 4.53 68
Dave Lemanczyk 20 81.1 4 6 5.09 51

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
John Hiller 56 12 8 13 2.38 117
Steve Grilli 36 3 1 3 4.64 36
Bill Laxton 26 0 5 2 4.09 74

Awards and honors

League top ten finishers

Mark Fidrych

  • MLB leader in ERA (2.34)
  • MLB leader in Adjusted ERA+ (158)
  • AL leader in complete games (24)
  • #3 in AL in walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP) (1.079)
  • #4 in AL in wins (19)
  • #4 in AL in win percentage (.679)
  • #5 in AL in bases on balls per 9 inning pitched (1.91)
  • #5 in AL in shutouts (4)

John Hiller

  • #4 in AL in games finished (46)

Ron LeFlore

  • AL leader in errors by an outfielder (11)
  • #2 in AL in stolen bases (58)
  • #3 in MLB in times caught stealing (20)
  • #4 in AL in singles (137)
  • #5 in AL in batting average (.316)
  • #5 in AL in runs scored (93)
  • #6 in AL in strikeouts (111)

Dave Roberts

  • #2 in MLB in losses (17)
  • #2 in MLB in earned runs allowed (112)
  • #5 in AL in shutouts (4)
  • #9 in AL in complete games (18)

Aurelio Rodríguez

  • AL leader in fielding percentage by a third baseman (.978)
  • #3 in AL in times grounded into double plays (19)

Rusty Staub

  • AL leader in games played (161)
  • AL leader in times grounded into double plays (23)
  • #2 in AL in times on base (266)
  • #2 in AL in sacrifice flies (11)
  • #3 in AL in plate appearances (690)
  • #4 in AL in on-base percentage (.386)
  • #4 in AL in bases on balls (83)
  • #4 in AL in runs created (99)
  • #5 in AL in RBIs (96)
  • #5 in AL in intentional walks (11)
  • #7 in AL in times hit by pitch (7)
  • #7 in AL in hits (7)
  • #8 in AL in OPS (.818)
  • #10 in AL in total bases (255)

Players ranking among top 100 all time at position

The following members of the 1977 Detroit Tigers were ranked among the Top 100 of all time at their position by The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract in 2001:

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Evansville Triplets American Association Fred Hatfield
AA Montgomery Rebels Southern League Les Moss
A Lakeland Tigers Florida State League Jim Leyland
Rookie Bristol Tigers Appalachian League Joe Lewis

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Montgomery, Lakeland

Notes

  1. ^ Gene Michael at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Jim Crawford at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ Rusty Staub at Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Tom Walker at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ Mark Fidrych at Baseball Reference
  6. ^ "The Nolan Ryan Express | The Strikeout King". smackbomb.com/nolanryan. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  7. ^ Joe Coleman at Baseball Reference
  8. ^ Jack Morris page on Baseball Reference

References

External links

1976 in Michigan

Events from the year 1976 in Michigan.

The Associated Press (AP) selected the top Michigan news stories of 1976 as follows:

United Auto Workers strikes against Ford Motor Company lasting 28 days (from September 14 to October 12) and General Motors lasting 12 hours (from midnight until noon on November 19);

A forest fire lasting for two months from July until September that blackened 65,000 acres in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in the Upper Peninsula with state and federal firefighting costs reaching $7.5 million;

Continued fallout from the Michigan PBB contamination incident in which a flame retardant chemical (PBB) was mixed with livestock feed, distributed to Michigan farms, and fed to 1.5 million chickens, 30,000 cattle, 5,900 pigs, and 1,470 sheep;

Voter approval on November 2 of a ballot proposal banning throwaway beverage containers;

Gerald Ford's November 2 loss to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 U.S. Presidential election, though Ford took Michigan's 21 electoral votes with 51.8% of the state's votes to 46.4% for Carter;

A March 3 ice storm that left 200,000 homes in southern Michigan without power and caused millions of dollars in damage;

Congressman Donald Riegle's election to replace retiring U.S. Senator Philip Hart after defeating Secretary of State Richard H. Austin and Congressman James G. O'Hara in the Democratic primary on August 3 and Marvin Esch in the general election on November 2;

A violent melee on August 15 that erupted following a concert at Cobo Hall featuring Average White Band and Kool & the Gang with multiple robberies and beatings and two gang rapes;

The prosecution of two Filipina nurses, Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez, in the Ann Arbor Hospital Murders in which 10 patients at the Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor died mysteriously from respiratory failure; and

The state's fiscal year is extended by three months to avoid a deficit.The AP also selected the state's top sports stories as follows:

The success of rookie pitcher Mark Fidrych who won 19 games for the Detroit Tigers, was the starting pitcher for the American League in the All-Star Game, led the American League with a 2.34 earned run average, and was named American League Rookie of the Year;

The NCAA's imposition of three years of probation against the Michigan State Spartans football team for illegal recruiting and the firing of head coach Denny Stolz and athletic director Burt Smith;

The 1976 Michigan Wolverines football team that compiled a compiled a 10–1 record in the regular season and was ranked No. 1 before being upset by Purdue;

The 1975–76 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team that compiled a 25–7 record and advanced to the Final Four, losing to Indiana in the championship game;

Ron LeFlore compiling a 30-game hitting streak, the longest in the American League in 27 years, and stealing 56 bases for the Detroit Tigers;

Detroit speedskater Sheila Young winning gold, silver and bronze medals at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria;

Rick Forzano's resignation as head coach of the Detroit Lions on October 4, the hiring of Tommy Hudspeth as head coach on October 5, and the team compiling a 6–8 record;

The 1975-76 Western Michigan Broncos men's basketball team compiling a 25-3 record and advancing to the Sweet 16 round of the 1976 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament before narrowly losing to No. 2 ranked Marquette;

The Detroit Pistons selection of Marvin Barnes on August 5 with the fourth overall pick in the ABA dispersal draft; and

Bo Schembechler undergoing open heart surgery to perform four bypasses on May 20 and deciding to continue coaching.

Mark Fidrych

Mark Steven Fidrych (; August 14, 1954 – April 13, 2009), nicknamed "The Bird", was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He pitched his entire career for the Detroit Tigers (1976–1980).

In 1976, Fidrych led the major leagues with a 2.34 ERA, won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and finished with a 19–9 record. Shortly after, injuries piled up and his major league career ended after just five seasons.

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