The West Michigan Whitecaps will continue to have ‘Tiger Friday’s’ as one of their top promotions next summer. The former Detroiter who will be ‘headlining’ this promotion will be one of the best second baseman in Tigers history…’Sweet’ Lou Whitaker. The other half of one of the greatest double-play tandems in history (along with Alan Trammel) will appear at Fifth-Third Ballpark on June 28. The first 2,000 fans will receive a bobble head, but due to high demand, there will be a raffle for autographs. Nothing has been posted yet on the ‘Caps website on how to enter the raffle, but when they due I’ll be sure to keep it to myself.. I would love to meet Lou, as a fellow second baseman, he’s was one of my idols growing up. He came up just about the time I was really getting into baseball, collecting cards, and getting my jersey dirty on the field myself. In high-school, I was even given the ‘Sweet Lou’ moniker for my play in the field. We’ve actually only been to one Tiger Friday, when we met John Wockenfuss back in 2009. I’ve missed some of my other favorites like Matt Nokes and Mickey Tettleton, though. I’m hoping that either one of the kids or myself win a chance to meet Whitaker. The rest of the participants for Tiger Fridays will be announced later this winter.
Lou played in Detroit for 19 seasons from 1977-1995. He and Trammel were one of the best double-play combinations in the game through out that period. Lou was on that great Tigers’ team of 1984 that roared to the World Series Championship. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1978, and a five-time All-Star. In 1985 he was voted to start the All-Star game, but forgot his bag in the back of his car before leaving for Minnesota. He used the glove, batting glove, and helmet from his fellow All-Stars, and wore a Tigers hat and jersey from a souvenir stand. One of the clubhouse attendants drew his #1 on the back with a marker. One of my favorite Lou stories.
Photos courtesy Getty Images
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
Pounding The Ball: ‘Caps third basebman Bryan Pounds has been on a roll the last nine games. He’s batting .361 with 15 RBI’s and seven runs scored. Pounds is getting offensive
help from the outfield as well. Left fielder Billy Nowlin is batting .389 with nine RBI’s and seven runs scored. While not patroling center field at Fifth Third Ballpark, Ben Guez is slugging .333, respectively, and has added 11 RBI’s and nine runs scored including a home run in his last ten games.
Snakebitten: The Whitecaps have had a rough time with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season, dropping 5 of 6 games. Last week the ‘Caps commited four errors that led to three Rattler runs in a 5-2 loss at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton. In the lone ‘Caps win, however, they won 11-2 on the back of 17 hits.
Ups and Downs: Being promoted to West Michigan from the GCL Tigers is short stop Hernan Perez. Perez was batting .255 with five RBI’s in 13 games so far in the Gulf Coast League. He replaces Gustavo Nunez who has been recently suspended. Nunez has been batting .328 with one home run, 24 RBI’s and 37 stolen bases so far this season with the ‘Caps.
Johnny B In West Michigan: This Friday is another Tiger Friday at Fifth Third Ballpark. Former Detroit Tiger fan favorite Johnny B. Wockenfuss will be on hand to sign autographs and meet fans. Wockenfuss played in Detroit from 1974-1983, being traded to Philadelphia before the Tigs won the World Series in 1984. He was a solid utiliy player who played catcher, first base, and outfield. His career BA was .262, slugging 86 home runs and 310 RBI’s. Wockenfuss also managed the Toledo Mud Hens starting in 1987. In 1989 the Mud Hens (Detroit’s AAA farm team) actually beat the Tigers with Wockenfuss himself being the winning pitcher. Had had never pitched in his Major League career. I’ll be on hand this Friday, too, to get my free bobblehead and enjoy the game.