Monday night the Detroit Tigers will honor the 1984 World Championship team in a pre-game ceromony. All the greats will be on hand including HOF manager Sparky Anderson, MVP Allan Trammell, Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson, Willie Hernandez and more. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the Tigers won it all. Detroit had the best record in baseball that season with 104 wins on their way to the World Series. This is one of my favorite memories about being a baseball fan as a kid.
Luckily, I’ve had a chance to meet some of my childhood heroes through my Minor League baseball trips. A lot of these guys like to give back to baseball and coach in the Minors. It’s great seeing them instruct a whole new generation of players. So far off the the 1984 team I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tom Brookens (West Michigan Whitecaps), Lance Parrish (Great Lakes Loons), Doug Bair (Dayton Dragons), and Barbaro Garbey (Peoria Cheifs). We also had a chance to meet John Wockenfuss this season, who was traded in 1984 in a deal to the Phillies to bring Willie Hernandez and Dave Bergman to Detroit. We got to meet pitcher Jack Morris, too, but he wasn’t coaching, just signing at a store opening in northern Michigan. Still, he has the most wins of any pitcher in the 80’s, so it was great meeting him. I can’t wait until next years trip to see who we can meet along the way.
Tom Brookens of the Whitecaps signs for the kids in 2007
Lance Parrish of the Loons signs some cards for the kids in 2007
Photos property of MIB
There’s no better way to spend your birthday than at the ballpark. This year my dad, the kids and I went to the Whitecaps game. We started off at Chuck E. Cheese’s in Grand Rapids so the kids could expell some energy.
At the game, the rain held off and we had a beautifull night. They were playing the Peoria Chiefs again this time. Last year we got to meet Ryne Sandberg while he was managing there. This season former Tiger Barbaro Garbey was in town so he signed some cards for the kids. Garbey was on the Tigers 1984 World Series Championship team, and is currently the hitting coach for the Chiefs. It was also Tiger Friday, so John Wockenfuss was on hand to meet the fans and he signed some cards for the kids, too. They were also giving away bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans. In the end, the ‘Caps won 9-0 and we had a great time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to catch another game in West Michigan this year or not, but we’ll be going to Appleton, WI next month to watch the Timber Rattlers.
Photos property of MIB