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)
< Previous season     Next season >

The 1976 Detroit Tigers season was the 76th season for the Detroit Tigers competing in Major League Baseball as a member of the American League. In their third season under manager Ralph Houk, the Tigers compiled a 74–87 record and finished in fifth place in the American League East, 24 games behind the New York Yankees. The team improved by 17 wins over its 1975 performance for the largest improvement by any team in the American League. The team played its home games at Tiger Stadium and attracted 1,467,020 fans, ranking fourth of the 12 teams in the American League.

1976 "Tiger of the Year" Mark Fidrych
1976 "Tiger of the Year" Mark Fidrych

Rookie pitcher Mark Fidrych, known as "The Bird", became a sensation throughout baseball, both for his pitching prowess and for his unusual practices in talking to the ball and grooming the pitcher's mound. Fidrych finished the 1976 season with a 19-9 win–loss record and led the American League with a 2.34 earned run average (ERA). Fidrych won the American League Rookie of the Year and "Tiger of the Year" awards and finished second in the voting for the Cy Young Award.

The team's batting leaders included center fielder Ron LeFlore with a .316 batting average and 58 stolen bases, Jason Thompson with 17 home runs, and Rusty Staub with 96 RBIs and a .386 on-base percentage. Third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez also won the American League Gold Glove Award, breaking Brooks Robinson's streak of winning the award for 17 consecutive years.

Preseason

The 1975 Detroit Tigers compiled the worst record (57–102) in Major League Baseball and up to that time the worst season in franchise history. The team's poor performance prompted two major trades during the December 1975 Winter Meetings.

Pitcher Dave Roberts
Pitcher Dave Roberts

The Tigers also brought in new talent through the draft. On January 7, 1976, the team drafted outfielder Steve Kemp with the No. 1 overall pick in the January phase of the MLB draft.[4] Kemp spent the 1976 season in the minors but became the Tigers' starting left fielder from 1977 to 1981.

The most significant preseason move involved the surprise promotion of little known pitcher Mark Fidrych. On April 5, 1976, the team announced that Fidrych would start the season with the team. He had not even been on the major league roster prior to the announcement.[5]

Regular season

Manager Ralph Houk
Manager Ralph Houk

Season chronology

April

May

John Wockenfuss

June

Pitcher John Hiller
Pitcher John Hiller

July

August

Willie Horton

September

Jason Thompson

October

Shortstop Tom Veryzer
Shortstop Tom Veryzer

Award season

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


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


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 36 252.0 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 30 134.0 7 8 4.63 59
Joe Coleman 12 66.2 2 5 4.86 38
Frank MacCormack 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 32 109.1 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

Pitcher Mark Fidrych
Center fielder Ron LeFlore
Center fielder Ron LeFlore
Third baseman Aurelio Rodríguez
Third baseman Aurelio Rodríguez
Right fielder Rusty Staub
Right fielder Rusty Staub

League top ten finishers

Mark Fidrych

John Hiller

Ron LeFlore

Dave Roberts

Aurelio Rodríguez

Rusty Staub

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

See also: Minor League Baseball

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. ^ Jim Hawkins (December 7, 1975). "Tigers Get 'No. 1 Catcher,' 2 Pitchers in Trade Coup". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1E, 5E – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ Jim Hawkins (April 22, 1976). "Tigers Lose May for 3-4 Months". Detroit Free Press. p. 1F – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Jim Hawkins (December 13, 1975). "Tigers Trade Lolich for Rusty Staub". Detroit Free Press. p. 1C – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Brian Bragg (January 8, 1976). "Tigers Get Their Man: 'Great to Be with Detroit'". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Jim Hawkins (April 6, 1976). "Tigers Pull Surprise, Keep Mark Fidrych". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Jim Hawkins (April 11, 1976). "Tigers Open Season with a Bang, 3-1". Detroit Free Press. p. 1E – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Jim Hawkins (April 11, 1976). "Tigers, Indians Set All-Time $$ Marks". Detroit Free Press. p. 4E – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Jim Hawkins (April 14, 1976). "Hectic Ninth Ruins Tiger Opener, 1-0". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Four Tigers Listed on All-Star Ballot: Willie Isn't One of Them". Detroit Free Press. April 15, 1976. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Jim Hawkins (April 18, 1976). "Roberts 2-Hits Angels, 2-0". Detroit Free Press. p. 1E – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Mark Fidrych[permanent dead link] at Baseball Reference
  12. ^ Jim Hawkins (April 29, 1976). "Roberts Baffles A's For 3d in Row, 8-1". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Jim Hawkins (June 9, 1976). "Steady Loser Joe Coleman Dealt to Cubs". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Tigers Draft Lefthanded Pitcher". Detroit Free Press. June 9, 1976. p. 3D – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "How 3 Tigers Did In All-Star Game". Detroit Free Press. July 14, 1976. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Jim Hawkins (August 8, 1973). "Another Feather In The Bird's Cap! He Clips Tribe, 6-1". Detroit Free Press. p. 1E – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ Jim Hawkins (August 18, 1976). "It's Another Storybook Finish ... Kimm's HR Wins for Bird, 3-2". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1D, 4D – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ Jim Hawkins (August 19, 1976). "'Ryan's Express' Fans 17 ... Tigers Lose in 11th, 5-4". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Jim Hawkins (September 1, 1976). "Tigers Surrender to Angels". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "The Nolan Ryan Express | The Strikeout King". smackbomb.com/nolanryan. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  21. ^ Jim Hawkins (September 22, 1976). "Bird Wins 17th In Putting Down Indians, 5-3". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1D, 4D – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ Jim Hawkins (September 23, 1976). "Only 3,616 Fans On Hand As Indians Chill Tigers, 3-0". Detroit Free Press. p. 1F – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ Brian Bragg (September 23, 1976). "The Bird Loses Some Curl . . . But Relax, It's for Good Cause". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1F, 4F – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Jim Hawkins (September 25, 1976). "Tigers Split, Slow the Yankees' Flag Express". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1B, 3B – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ Jim Hawkins (September 26, 1976). "Yanks Win . . Clinch AL East". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1E, 2E – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Jim Hawkins (September 29, 1976). "Bird Wins 18th ... Tigers Split". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1D, 3D – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ Joe Falls (September 29, 1976). "Tigers to Fix Up Stadium: Minimum Cost to Be $15 Million". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1A, 2A – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ Jim Hawkins (September 30, 1976). "Tigers Clinch 5th . . . Bow To Tribe, 3-2". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1F, 9F – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ Jim Hawkins (October 1, 1976). "It's Tigers, 6-4". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1D, 4D – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ Jim Hawkins (October 2, 1976). "Hiller Starts ... Zips Brewers, 5-0". Detroit Free Press. p. 1C – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ "Fidrych Hurls Five-Hitter, 4-1". News-Journal. UPI. October 3, 1976. p. 2E – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ Jim Hawkins (October 3, 1976). "Tigers Give Bird a Bonus Plus Fat 3-Year Contract". Detroit Free Press. p. 1E – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ Jim Hawkins (October 4, 1976). "Tigers End Long Season With 5-2 Win". Detroit Free Press. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ Jim Hawkins (October 31, 1976). "The Bird (Who Else?) Is Tiger of Year". Detroit free Press. p. 1E – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ "Big Cy: Palmer Beats Bird to AL Award". Detroit Free Press. November 11, 1976 – via Newspapers.com.
  36. ^ "1976 MLB Fielding Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  37. ^ "Aurelio Named to Top Fielding Team". Detroit Free Press. November 20, 1976. p. 5C – via Newspapers.com.

References