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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:57 am

Can Tigers count their eggs before ... ?

By Rick Hummel
Dave DombrowskiDontrelle Willis
Dec. 20, 2007--Detroit Tigers president Dave Dombrowski, right, introduces new Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis.
(Rob Widdis/AP)

The Detroit Tigers' offseason stockpiling of premier offensive talent to go with an already impressive core has caught the attention of many in baseball, not to mention the Tigers themselves.

With much of their firepower in attendance at a recent Tigers fan fest, reliever Todd Jones looked at what general manager Dave Dombrowski had wrought and told reporters, "It's kind of hard to believe this is just one team and not a Team USA thing or an All-Star team."

Third baseman Miguel Cabrera, one of the new acquisitions along with shortstop Edgar Renteria, said, "Oh, my God, this is amazing. When you see all these guys, you say this is a dream come true."

And infielder Carlos Guillen said, "This year, everybody's talking about the Tigers. They don't talk about New York anymore."

This is what the Tigers already had: right fielder Magglio Ordonez, who won the 2007 American League batting title at .363 and drove in 139 runs; second baseman Placido Polanco, who hit .341; center fielder Curtis Granderson, who had a remarkable, unprecedented power mix of 38 doubles, 23 triples and 23 homers besides stealing 26 bases; designated hitter Gary Sheffield, who has 480 home runs in his career and nearly 1,600 runs batted in; catcher Pudge Rodriguez, who has nearly 2,400 hits; and shortstop-first baseman Guillen, who hit .296 with 21 homers and 102 RBIs last year.

Add Cabrera, who hit .320 with 34 homers and 119 RBIs for Florida, and Renteria, who hit .332 with Atlanta, and you have a lineup people are comparing to the 1927 Yankees and one capable of scoring a magical 1,000 runs.

That 1927 New York lineup, featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, though, was not the highest-scoring lineup in history. That club, which swept to the World Series title in four games against Pittsburgh, scored 975 runs, nearly 100 shy of the record 1,067 tallied by the 1931 Yankees. But that 1931 Ruth-Gehrig team didn't win the American League pennant, losing out to the Philadelphia Athletics.

As a matter of fact, the 1,000-run plateau is not necessarily a sign of a pennant.

The 1936 New York Yankees, who maybe had baseball's best lineup ever, scored 1,065 runs and won the World Series. The 1932 Yankees had 1,002 runs and won the World Series, but the 1930 Yankees finished third, though scoring 1,062 runs. The 1950 Boston Red Sox were a close third while scoring 1,027 runs, and the 1999 Cleveland Indians, the only team to score more than 1,000 in the designated hitter era, didn't make it past a division championship.

So it is little wonder that Detroit manager Jim Leyland, speaking at the same convention of Tigers fans, said, "Everybody's counting us as champions already. We're not champions of anything.


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