Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Who is the most hated Detroit Tiger?
So I saw an interesting piece over at Hardball Talk talking about certain teams most hated players. It got me thinking about the most hated player or players in the history of the Detroit Tigers (my team). Granted my selection will come from my era of Detroit Tigers fandom, and for those of you who don't know I started watching Tigers baseball in 1983.
Since the Tigers were one of the worst teams of the 1990's (if not the worst) I have a lot of options here, but I think one player rally stands out. As a kid I can remember Closer Mike Henneman getting a lot of boos and he was the closer through the first part of that awful '90'. Matt Anderson a first round pick who had several forgettable years as the Tigers' closer could certainly be on that list. Justin Thompson who spent a few years as this club's so called ace certainly gets a dishonorable mention, but for the most hated Tiger of all I look to one Bobby Higginson.
Of course I should mention that a friend and I had a particularly nasty verbal altercation with Mr. Higginson from the Center Field bleachers at old Tiger Stadium (of course we were fueled by a few adult beverages) that ended with Mr. Higginson calling security and having us tossed out of the game.
It is hard to believe that Higginson was with this team for 11 seasons, as it never seemed he was the guy to get this team over the top. We do have to remember that he played on some god awful clubs, but the year after he was traded this team played in the World Series. That fact should be lost on no one.
Overall his numbers are not that bad. He hit .272 in his Tigers career with 187 home runs and 709 RBI. That means he averaged 17 home runs and 64 RBI in each of his 11 seasons in Detroit. For that production the team paid him over 52 million dollars or around 4.72 million dollars a year on average. I think that is where the real hatred for this guy comes from. He got paid a ton of money and was never the player the fans thought he should be.
On top of that he averaged 72 strikeouts per season and anytime a player averages more strike outs than RBI there is a problem. For a lot of us Higgy is the face of those dreadful 1990's Tiger teams, and in my humble opinion that makes him the most hated man in recent team history.
Dishonorable Mentions- Beyond the players I listed above I can think of a few other polarizing figures in Detroit Tigers history. Willie Hernandez was a great relief pitcher, but he had a continuous relationship with the fans. Jack Morris was not the most liked man by the press, and I can remember hating the crap out of Kirk Gibson in 1987 when it became apparent he was going to leave as a free agent. Given all of his troubles off the field I think current Tiger Miguel Cabrera might make this list as well.
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