Tommy Bridges

Thomas Jefferson Davis Bridges (December 28, 1906 – April 19, 1968) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career with the Detroit Tigers from 1930 to 1946. During the 1930s, he used an outstanding curveball to become one of the mainstays of the team's pitching staff, winning 20 games in three consecutive seasons and helping the team to its first World Series championship with two victories in the 1935 Series. He retired with 1,674 career strikeouts, then the eighth highest total in American League history, and held the Tigers franchise record for career strikeouts from 1941 to 1951.

Tommy Bridges
Tommy Bridges.jpeg
Pitcher
Born: December 28, 1906
Gordonsville, Tennessee
Died: April 19, 1968 (aged 61)
Nashville, Tennessee
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 13, 1930, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
July 20, 1946, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record194–138
Earned run average3.57
Strikeouts1,674
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early years

Born in Gordonsville, Tennessee, Bridges attended the University of Tennessee, and after having a 20-strikeout game for the minor league Wheeling Stogies in 1929, he joined the Tigers in 1930, inducing Babe Ruth to ground out on his first major league pitch.

On August 5, 1932, he came within one out of throwing a perfect game. With two outs in the ninth inning, and the Washington Senators trailing 13–0, the Senators pitcher was due to bat. Washington manager Walter Johnson sent pinch hitter Dave Harris to bat, who led the AL that season with 14 pinch hits. Harris hit a single to break up the perfect game.[1]

Bridges had another one-hitter against the Senators, on May 24, 1933. On September 24, 1933, Bridges reached the ninth inning with a no-hitter for the fourth time in two years. This time, he gave up a pair of hits but beat the St Louis Browns 7–0. For the 1933 season, Bridges had a 3.08 earned run average (ERA) (140 Adjusted ERA+), second-best in the American League.

1934–1935 seasons

In 1934, Bridges was 22–11 with 23 complete games to help the Tigers win their first pennant in 25 years. Bridges also surrendered Ruth's 700th home run on July 13, 1934. In the 1934 World Series, Bridges pitched a complete game victory, beating Dizzy Dean 3–1 in Game 5, but the Tigers lost the Series in seven games.

Bridges had another strong season in 1935, going 21–10 with 23 complete games. He also pitched a complete game victory in the last game of the 1935 World Series. With the score tied 3–3 in the top of the ninth, Bridges gave up a leadoff triple to Stan Hack, but retired the next three batters without the runner on third scoring. In the bottom of the ninth, Goose Goslin drove in the winning run with two outs, and the Tigers won their first championship. After the game, manager Mickey Cochrane said the following of Bridges's gutsy performance:

A hundred and fifty pounds of courage. If there ever is a payoff on courage, this little 150 pound pitcher is the greatest World Series hero.

In a nationwide poll Bridges was named the No. 2 sports hero of 1935, behind Notre Dame football player Andy Pilney.[2]

After winning over 20 games in both 1934 and 1935, Bridges led the AL in 1936 with 23 wins, and finished ninth in the MVP voting.

Later years

On August 11, 1942, Bridges was involved in one of the great pitching duels of all time. Cleveland starter, Al Milnar had a no-hitter until Doc Cramer singled with two out in the 9th. Milnar's scoreless duel with Bridges ended in a 14-inning scoreless tie because the rules did not permit the game to be continued under the lights.

Career record

Bridges was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 1931 until 1943, when he entered the Army.

He was among the league leaders in ERA 10 times between 1932 and 1943, including a career-low 2.39 ERA in 1943—the year before Bridges entered the Army.

Over his major league career, he compiled an Adjusted ERA+ of 126—ranking 54th best in major league history. Though his unadjusted ERA is less impressive because of the high batting averages in the years in which he pitched, Bridges had an Adjusted ERA+ in excess of 140 on six occasions: 1932–33, 1939–40, 1942–43.

He was named an All-Star six times between 1934 and 1940, missing out only in 1938 due to an injury.

Bridges was also a consistent leader in strikeouts. He led the AL in strikeouts in 1935 and 1936, and was among the league leaders 12 times: 1931–40, 1942–43. Even more telling, he was among the top three in the league in strikeouts per nine innings pitched on 7 occasions: 1931, 1935–36, 1939–40, 1942–43.

In 1941, he set the Tigers career strikeout record, surpassing George Mullin's mark of 1,380. His team record for career strikeouts was broken in 1951 by Hal Newhouser, and remained the top mark for a right-hander until Jack Morris broke it in 1988.

Bridges' career record with the Tigers was 194–138 with a 3.57 ERA.

Bridges during World War II

Bridges served in the U.S. Army during World War II, missing the entire 1944 season and coming back in time for only one start in 1945. He was a member of the Tigers 1945 World Series championship team, his fourth Series, making a relief appearance in Game 6.

Bridges and Hank Greenberg are the only players in Detroit Tigers history to play in four World Series for the team, having appeared in the 1934, 1935, 1940, and 1945 World Series.

Pacific Coast League

Sent to the minors in 1946, he pitched for four years with the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League. On April 20, 1947, pitching for Beavers, Bridges finally got his no-hitter, beating San Francisco 2–0. Bridges also led the Pacific Coast League in ERA in 1947, but never pitched in the majors again.

Life after baseball

Bridges' life outside the major leagues took a downward turn, in part due to alcoholism, which developed during his war service.[3] In 1950 Bridges left his wife for another woman; former teammates were shocked by his appearance.[4] In 1951, he became a scout and coach for the Cincinnati Reds, and he was later a scout for the Tigers, and New York Mets.

Bridges died in Nashville, Tennessee in 1968 at age 61.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Tommy Bridges". Baseball Library. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "Tommy Bridges". SABR. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Berger, Ralph. "Tommy Bridges at SABR Baseball Project". SABR. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  4. ^ James, Bill (2001). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Simon & Schuster. p. 901. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "Tommy Bridges dies". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. April 20, 1968. Retrieved June 27, 2014.

External links

1930 Detroit Tigers season

The 1930 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League with a record of 75–79, 27 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics.

1931 Detroit Tigers season

The 1931 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished seventh in the American League with a record of 61–93, 47 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics.

1932 Detroit Tigers season

The 1932 Detroit Tigers season ended with them placing fifth in the American League with a record of 76–75, 29½ games behind the New York Yankees.

1933 Detroit Tigers season

The 1933 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League with a record of 75–79, 25 games behind the Washington Senators.

1934 Detroit Tigers season

The 1934 Detroit Tigers season was the 34th season for the Detroit Tigers since entering the American League in 1901. The Tigers won the American League pennant with a record of 101–53, the best winning percentage in team history. The team made its fourth World Series appearance, but lost the 1934 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 3.

1934 World Series

The 1934 World Series matched the St. Louis Cardinals against the Detroit Tigers, with the Cardinals' "Gashouse Gang" winning in seven games for their third championship in eight years.

The Cardinals and Tigers split the first two games in Detroit, and Detroit took two of the next three in St. Louis. But St. Louis won the next two in Detroit, including an 11–0 embarrassment in Game 7 to win the Series. The stars for the Cardinals were Joe ("Ducky") Medwick, who hit .379, a Series-high five RBI and one of St. Louis' two home runs, and the meteoric ("Me 'n' Paul") Dean brothers, Dizzy and Paul (or "Daffy") Dean, who won two games apiece with 28 strikeouts and a minuscule 1.43 earned run average. 1934 was the last World Series in which both teams were led by player-managers.

The two teams have met twice in the World Series since 1934; in 1968 (Tigers won in seven) and 2006 (Cardinals won in five). Tiger pitcher Denny McLain, winner of Game 6 in 1968 (coasting home on the Tigers' record-tying ten-run second inning rally on the road), had gone 31–6 during the season, upstaging "Diz" with his mere 30–7 that year, who at 57 went onto the Tiger Stadium field in a big cowboy hat to be photographed with McLain moments after the walk-off hit that had given the latter his thirtieth win of the season. As of 2018, they are the last two 30-game winners in the major leagues.

The Cardinals, led by the Dean brothers, used only six other pitchers in amassing a team earned-run average of 2.34 for their 1934 Series victory,

Pete Fox played for the losing team, yet became the only player in Series history, as of 2018, to hit six doubles in a World Series.

For his top-of-the-sixth triple in Game 7, Joe Medwick slid hard into Tiger third baseman Marv Owen. They tangled briefly, and when Medwick went back to his position in left field for the bottom of the inning enraged Tiger fans, knowing the game was all but lost (the score was 9–0 by then), vented their frustrations on him, pelting him with fruit, vegetables, bottles and cushions among other things. It was a feat for him to make the catch of a fly ball instead of the orange thrown close to it. Commissioner Landis ordered Medwick out of the game, ending the ruckus. Newsreel footage shows Medwick slamming his glove against the dugout bench in disgust. It was the only time a Commissioner has ever ejected a player from any major league game, as of 2018.(Audio)

Dizzy Dean nearly took himself out of the Series on a play in Game 4. In the fourth inning, he pinch-ran and broke up a double play the hard way; i.e., by taking the errant relay throw to first flush on the noggin. The great Dean lay unconscious on the field. (He was later to protest, "Hell, it was only a glancing blow.") He was rushed to a hospital for observation, where he was given a clean bill of health. Legend has it that at least one newspaper the next day featured the headline, "X-ray of Dean's head shows nothing." Be that as it may, ol' Diz recovered rapidly enough to start Game 5 (a 3–1 loss to Tiger curveballer Tommy Bridges) the very next day.

According to Charles Einstein's The Fireside Book of Baseball, in the midst of the Cardinals' Game 7 rout, player-manager Frankie Frisch, the "Fordham Flash", called time and walked out to the mound from second base to warn Diz, "If you don't stop clowning around, I'll take you out of the game." Dizzy said, "No you won't." Frisch thought about this a moment, then retreated to second.

1935 Detroit Tigers season

The 1935 Detroit Tigers won the 1935 World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 2. The season was their 35th since they entered the American League in 1901. It was the first World Series championship for the Tigers.

1935 World Series

The 1935 World Series featured the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs, with the Tigers winning in six games for their first championship in five Series appearances. They had lost in 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1934.

The Tigers won despite losing the services of first baseman Hank Greenberg. In Game 2, Greenberg collided with Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett and broke his wrist, sidelining him for the rest of the Series.

The Cubs had won 21 consecutive games in September (still a record as of 2018), eventually taking the National League pennant by four games over the defending World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.

In Game 6, Tommy Bridges pitched a complete game victory to win the Series for Detroit. With the score tied 3–3 in the top of the ninth inning, Bridges gave up a leadoff triple to Stan Hack, but retired the next three batters without the runner on third scoring. In the bottom of the ninth, Goose Goslin drove in the winning run with two outs. After the game, manager Mickey Cochrane said the following of Bridges' gutsy performance: "A hundred and fifty pounds of courage. If there ever is a payoff on courage this little 150-pound pitcher is the greatest World Series hero."In addition to Bridges, the Tigers had a hitting hero. Right fielder Pete Fox accumulated ten hits and an average of .385 for the Series. Fox hit safely in all six games.

Detroit owner Frank Navin, then 64 years old, had been running the organization for 30 years and had seen four of his teams win American League pennants, only to lose four World Series. Six weeks after the Tigers finally won the World Series in October 1935, Navin suffered a heart attack while riding a horse and died.

1936 Detroit Tigers season

The 1936 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished second in the American League with a record of 83–71, 19½ games behind the New York Yankees.

1936 Major League Baseball season

The 1936 Major League Baseball season.

1937 Detroit Tigers season

The 1937 Detroit Tigers finished in second place in the American League with a record of 89–65. The team finished 13 games behind the New York Yankees. Their winning percentage of .578 ranks as the 15th best season in Detroit Tigers history.

1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the seventh playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1939, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York City, the home of the New York Yankees of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 3–1.

1940 Detroit Tigers season

The 1940 Detroit Tigers season was their 40th since they entered the American League in 1901. The team won the American League pennant with a record of 90–64, finishing just one game ahead of the Cleveland Indians and just two games ahead of the New York Yankees. It was the sixth American League pennant for the Tigers. The team went on to lose the 1940 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds 4 games to 3.

1943 Detroit Tigers season

The 1943 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League with a record of 78–76, 20 games behind the New York Yankees.

1946 Detroit Tigers season

The 1946 Detroit Tigers finished the season with a record of 92–62, twelve games behind the Boston Red Sox. The season was their 46th since they entered the American League in 1901.

1966 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1966 followed the system introduced for even-number years in 1956.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players with provision for a second, "runoff" election in case of no winner. Ted Williams tallied more than 90% on the first ballot.

Meanwhile, the Veterans Committee was meeting annually to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected Casey Stengel.

Detroit Tigers award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Detroit Tigers professional baseball team.

List of Detroit Tigers Opening Day starting pitchers

The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Detroit, Michigan. They play in the American League Central division. The first game of the new baseball season is played on Opening Day, and being named the starter that day is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. Since joining the league in 1901, the Tigers have used 55 different Opening Day starting pitchers. The Tigers have a record of 56 wins and 59 losses in their Opening Day games. They also played one tie game, in 1927.The Tigers have played in three different home ball parks, Bennett Park from 1901 through 1911, Tiger Stadium (also known as Navin Field and Briggs Stadium) from 1912 to 1999 and Comerica Park since 2000. They had a record of 5 wins and 2 losses in Opening Day games at Bennett Park, 19 wins and 22 losses at Tiger Stadium and 3 wins and 4 losses at Comerica Park, for a total home record in Opening Day games of 26 wins and 28 losses. Their record in Opening Day away games is 27 wins, 31 losses and one tie.Jack Morris has the most Opening Day starts for the Tigers, with 11 consecutive starts from 1980 to 1990. Morris had a record of seven wins and four losses in his Opening Day starts. George Mullin had ten Opening Day starts for the Tigers between 1903 and 1913. The Tigers won five of those games and lost the other five. Mickey Lolich had seven Opening Day starts between 1965 and 1974. He had a record of five wins and two losses in those starts. Justin Verlander has also made seven Opening Day starts for the Tigers, between 2008 and 2014. His record in those starts is one win and one loss with five no-decisions. Other Tiger pitchers with at least three Opening Day starts include Hal Newhouser with six, Earl Whitehill and Jim Bunning with four; and Tommy Bridges, Frank Lary and Mike Moore with three.The first game the Tigers played as a Major League team was on April 25, 1901, against the Milwaukee Brewers. Roscoe Miller was the Tigers Opening Day starting pitcher for that game, which the Tigers won 14–13. The Tigers have played in the World Series eleven times, in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968, 1984, 2006, and 2012, with wins in four of those: 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984. The Tigers Opening Day starting pitchers in those seasons were Mullin (1907 and 1909), Ed Siever (1908), Firpo Marberry (1934), Rowe (1935), Newsom (1940), Newhouser (1945), Earl Wilson (1968), Morris (1984), Kenny Rogers (2006), and Justin Verlander (2012). The Tigers won five of those Opening Day games and lost the other five.Josh Billings was the Tigers Opening Day starting pitcher in 1928, despite being only 20 years old and having only won five Major League games prior to the season. Bunning, who made four Opening Day starts for the Tigers was later elected to the United States Senate. McLain, who made two Opening Day starts for the Tigers, was later convicted of embezzlement. Bunning and Newhouser have each been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Thomas Bridges

Thomas Bridges may refer to:

Thomas Bridges (dramatist and parodist) (c.1710-c.1775)

Thomas Bridges (botanist) (1807–1865)

Thomas Bridges (Anglican missionary) (1842–1898)

Thomas Bridges (Australian politician) (1853–1939)

Thomas Bridges, 2nd Baron Bridges (1927–2017), British diplomat

Tom Bridges (1871–1939), British military officer and Governor of South Australia

Tommy Bridges (1906–1968), American baseball player

Sir Thomas Pym Bridges, 7th Baronet (1805–1895), of the Bridges baronets

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