Pinch Hitting: First game memories

Here’s where I hand it over to you the readers. Earlier this year I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my first Tigers game. I was able to pinpoint the date by searching through retrosheet.

After seeing the amazing pictures that were taken of the Tiger Stadium last week, and the auction and upcoming demolition, it left me feeling more than a little nostalgic and melancholy.

So here’s the challenge, see if you can find the box score from your first Tigers game and please post it in the comments.

Was it at Tiger Stadium, or some place on the road?

Looking back at the boxscore is there anything that surprised you about the game or didn’t match your recollection?


  1. Jim

    October 3, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    I need to ask my dad about the date of my first game because I was too young to remember.

    This however was the first game that popped into my head for somereason. Not even close to my first game but I remember it, I think I still have the score card for it somewhere too

  2. Bobby

    October 4, 2007 at 1:46 am

    Found it…

    October 1, 1981
    Baltimore 5, Detroit 4

    I was 12, and my Dad finally took me to a game. He wasn’t around much, as he and my Mom had split – so this was quite a treat.

    Highlight: watching Gibby hit one out
    Lowlight: forgetting my Members Only jacket at the game. Dad was not happy.

    The only way I was able to track this down was that I remember vividly watching Lenn Sakata hit two homers that day. Go figure.

  3. Ian C.

    October 4, 2007 at 7:30 am

    July 11, 1983: Tigers 12, Angels 6

    For some reason, I always associated Brian Downing with my first Tigers game, and after looking at the boxscore, I now see why. Downing went 2-for-4 that day, with a home run and 4 RBIs.

  4. Sam

    October 4, 2007 at 8:00 am

    July 5, 1978

    I grew up in Baltimore and was 11 when we went. The Birds swept a double header from the Blue Jays. Mike Flanagan pitched a complete game 3-1 win in the 1st. In the 2nd game, Nelson Briles got ejected after 2 batters in an argument with Marty Springsteed. The Birds won 8-6. Andres Mora started both ends of the Doubleheader going 3-6 with a 2B and a HR.


  5. Pete G.

    October 4, 2007 at 8:16 am

    June 8,1957

    I never knew the date, but I always remembered it was the Yankees and the Tigers won 7-4. I searched through the calendar until I found the game. I was only 6 and my dad took me to Detroit on a passenger train from Muskegon. Bill Tuttle was my favorite player (I don’t remember why). It’s pretty cool I know the date now. Thanks!!

  6. Kyle J

    October 4, 2007 at 9:24 am

    I don’t think it was my first game and I haven’t been able to find the box score when I’ve looked in the past, but my most vivid memory is of Lou Whitaker hitting a line drive home run down the right field line to win a game for the Tigers in the 10th inning. I was sitting in the upper deck in left field and couldn’t see the home run land in the stands under the right field overhang.

    Will have to dig some more on this. Don’t remember the opponent. Must have been some time between 1986 and 1989.

  7. DJS

    October 4, 2007 at 9:37 am

    July 4, 1978, Toronto in town. I was 7, and our next door neighbor (Fat Bob Taylor, the Singing Plumber) was singing the national anthem, but moving on to other holiday festivities and gave us his tickets, which happened to be in the second row behind the first base-side on-deck circle. (In the subsequent 29 years, I’ve only once had comparable seats). Somebody made a bunt attempt — I’ve always remembered it as John Mayberry, although I’ve never really trusted that memory, since why would John Mayberry attempt a bunt? Perhaps it was McKay — that went foul, and landed on my Mom’s lap (Neither I nor anyone sitting with me has caught a foul ball in any game I’ve been to in the subsequent 29 years).

    I’d remembered that the Tigers had not won, but looking at the box, I was surprised to see that the Tigers got blown out 9-2 with J-Mo taking the loss. There were two Tram-Lou DPs (and 3 total), and my favorite player at the time, Ron Leflore acquitted himself well (pun intended — sorry) with two singles and a walk. We probably left before it was over: with 11 runs and 27 hits (23 of which were singles) , I’m guessing it stretched well past my bedtime!

    The Tigers lineup was pretty much as I remembered it, from a generic late-70s standpoint. Besides Morris, I don’t recall the pitchers the Tigers used (well, the name Crawford rings a bell, but not Sykes or Foucault). I was surprised to see that there were only 12,000 at the Stadium — in my mind’s eye, it was a full house.

    I also wonder why John Wockenfuss, of all people, was sent in to pinch-run for Mickey Stanley in the 2nd.

  8. Kyle J

    October 4, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Found it. Saturday, July 25, 1987. Tigers 5, Angels 4. Whitaker homered with two out and no one on in the bottom of the 10th.

    Gibson, Herndon, and Matlock all homered, too. Didn’t remember that. Henneman got the win for getting the final two outs in the top of the 10th; strange that he wasn’t in the game in the 9th when the Angels scored to tie the game at 4.

  9. Coach Jim

    October 4, 2007 at 10:40 am

    My first game was when the Tigers clinched 1st place in 1968.
    Mickey Lolich pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout. Jim Northrup and Bill Freehan each hit 2 homers and Willie Horton added another. I sat with my parents upper deck right field above the bullpen.

  10. Matt in Toledo

    October 4, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    I’m pretty sure my first game was in 1983 against the Angels. That’s pretty much all I can remember other than it was a Tiger win. What’s funny is I had always thought I was eight when I went to my first game, but I think I would have remembered the game more if it had been part of the buzz of 1984.

  11. Mike R

    October 4, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    I live on the west side of the state and my dad and I just never made it over to a game at Tiger Stadium, so my first game was in Comerica, April 24th, 2001 against the Orioles on my 15th birthday. It was cold, but I don’t think it rained. I was so excited to see Cal Ripken in what turned out to be his last year and he had the day off. So i got the joy of seeing Mike Kinkade (a Livonia, MI native, by the way) man 3B in an 8-3 Tigers loss. Great seats, about 15-18 rows back right behind the 3rd base dugout.

  12. Ian from the UP

    October 4, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    After reading all of your dates, this made me laugh: May 27th, 2007 was my first game.

    I’ve lived in the UP all of my life and being 7+ hours from Detroit, I didn’t get down to the area very often. So this year I finally took the initiative and went to a game with some friends from college. It was an absolutely beautiful day down there even though it rained during the afternoon, but it cleared up by game time and stayed in the low 70s until the game finished. Unfortunately they lost, but it was a great time anyway!

    Also my first experience with $8.50 beers!

  13. Mike R

    October 4, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Oh, and the best memory I had for the longest time of a Tigers game live, was seeing Rondell White hit a walk off, 3-run HR, which I pinpointed was April 24th, 2004, again, my birthday and the day of the NFL draft. Which helped a ton because it was when the Lions took Roy Williams and got Kevin Jones in the 1st round, too, and my brother called me.

    We were sitting in the box seats on the 1st base side and were essentially looking straight down the LF line and Rondell hit a liner that was hooking and everyone was seemingly leaning to the right to keep it fair and it was.

    This memory was surpassed by everything in 2006 whether I saw it live or not, but still, that’s my first vivid memory of a big event at a Tigers game.

    Nice sidenote: The HR came off of Chad Durbin, too. Oh, how it all comes full circle.

    The Tigers defensive lineup that day that day:

    1B: Carlos Pena
    2B: Fernando Vina
    3B: Eric Munson
    SS: Carlos Guillen
    LF: Rondell White
    CF: Brandon Inge
    RF: Craig Monroe
    DH: Bobby Higginson

  14. jim-mt

    October 4, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    June 19, 1965

    I was 15 and won the tickets in a radio quiz show, so my Dad had to take me then. Dick McAuliffe hit 2 homers and Denny McLain got the win. I didn’t remember Norm Cash getting caught twice stealing!

    Seems like McAuliffe was the answer to the quiz question too.

  15. Kurt

    October 4, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    I know my first was a game against Milwaukee. I want to say 1990 or so, maybe but I’m not real certain. Could be 1989. They hosted in August is all my foggy memory of the event knows. First base line a few rows behind the visitors dugout.

  16. Jim

    October 4, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    With some help from my dad it looks like this:
    was my first game. July 19th, 1990 against the Red Sox.

    I was only three at the time and don’t remember any of it except our seats were in left field upper deck just to the left of the foul pole. That and I still have a toy Tigers car my dad bought for me. He said when we first sat down to our seats not too long after I asked when we were going home. HA!

  17. Rings

    October 5, 2007 at 10:30 am

    1977 in the upper deck at the Corner…I remember Steve Kemp tracking down a ball in left and Rusty Staub had three hits in a victory…

    More memorable of my youth, was the first time I kept score during a game live in May of ’82. Larry Herndon homered in his final at bat to beat the Twins and then followed it up by homering his first three at bats against the A’s Mike Norris the following day…I can still hear Paul Carey hollaring, “he did it again!” after his fourth straight dinger.

  18. Joey the K

    October 5, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    I’m gonna dig around and try to find mine. On a side note Bilfer, thanks for the info on the Tiger Stadium seats, 2 will be heading to Portland Oregon in mid november!

  19. Scuba

    October 6, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Behind home plate were the seats, about 12 of us as my Grandma’s company took us to the game. Met Mike Illitch before the game when I won a raffle for a large collection of baseball cards before the game..I recall the early gathering being in a rathe rluxurious long ago though I don’t remember where exactly it was.

    Gary Pettis hitting his first home run sticks out in my mind the most. Tiger duffle bags were given out to the first (who know how many) fans.

  20. Justin C.

    October 6, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    May 6, 1989 v. Oakland.

    I was 9 yrs. old. Sat in the lower deck in left, about 4 rows back. McGwire’s homer in the 2nd landed just over my head. I can’t wait until my sons are old enough to go to games

  21. David

    October 6, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Not exactly sure when my first game was although I know it was around 1992 or 1993 when I was 4 or 5.

    The five top games I’ve been to are:

    2004 Opening Day
    2006 Against the Reds where Granderson hit the HR in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs right to the right of the LF foul pole and we won it in the 10th off of an error – May
    2006 Against the Yanks where Guillen got the game-winner in the bottom of the 9th off of Farnsy – June
    2006 Against the Indians were Pudge hit a 2 out 2 run HR off of Carmona – August

    But the best game was

    Mike Maroth 1-hits the Yankees!!!

    D@mn you Gary Sheffield

    The ones that almost made the cut

    Papelbon’s big league debue even though we lost in extras (guess who was the SP for us hard-luck Nate – Rodney blew it)

    Roger Clemens return to COPA as a ‘Stro – we won he lost

    The middle game against the Cards in ’06 after that we were 50-25 =)

    I have other games that I like but since my family has had season tickets since 2005 and bought I think around 10-15 games in 2004 those are most of my Tiger memories.

    Probably 2003 and prior I went to 4-5 games a year (about once a month) but watched most with Mario and Rod or Lewin and Gibson

    Hopefully for 2008 I can go to some games that will knock some of these down a few notches.

  22. Tim D

    October 6, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    June 30, 1967

    Sat with my dad in the upper deck just past 3b on the LF line. Tigers beat Tommy John and the 1st place White Sox. Dick McAuliffe’s 1st inning triple out near the flagpole remains one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I was 10 and mesmerized by the game. I had watched a ton of games on TV but going to a game hadn’t worked out until then. My dad worked late, but after I had such a blast he started to work it in more. We went to probably 20 games in ’67, and a similar number for the next ten years or so.

  23. Ace Dub

    October 14, 2007 at 1:40 am

    I think that the two pitchers for The Detroit Tigers should be nick-named, “The Test-tubes, and The Scales.” You know the ones, those guys, right? Good pitching, and then good hitting. Mix in good defense, and that sounds like The Detroit Tigers. Signing out, A-Dub of The Bielassilver.