Detroit — Cameron Maybin was going through his post-game routine Friday night, only halfway paying attention to his cell phone blowing up with text messages.
“I saw stuff about ‘making history’ but I was more focused on us losing and trying to get ready for (Saturday),” he said.
Turns out, his ninth-inning solo home run off Dominic Leone, though it had little impact on the 10-4 loss, did in fact put his name in some exclusive company. He’s now the ninth player in Tigers’ history to hit a home run in three different decades — a mere 100 years since Ty Cobb became the first to achieve the feat.
“That’s pretty awesome,” said Maybin, who made his first start Friday after being on the injured list (quad) since July 31.
Here’s the list:
- Ty Cobb – 1900s, 1910s, 1920s
- Charlie Gehringer – 1920s, 1930s, 1940s
- Vic Wertz – 1940s, 1950s, 1960s
- Al Kaline – 1950s, 1960s, 1970s
- Kirk Gibson – 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
- Alan Trammell – 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
- Lou Whitaker – 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
- Miguel Cabrera – 2000s, 2010s, 2020s
- Maybin – 2000s, 2010s, 2020s
“I always talk about character,” Maybin said. “So for me to be back here for a third time, I just appreciate this organization seeing so much in me from a character standpoint to have me back. That really means the most to me.”
Maybin and teammate Niko Goodrum will be front and center as the Tigers help MLB celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues this weekend.
“It’s huge that we continue to honor our history,” Maybin said. “The reason we are able to play this game, that I am able to play this game is because of their sacrifices. I think it’s very important to honor and pay homage to that history.”
Because of the pandemic, of course, the celebration will be virtual, much of it presented at Tigers.com. Among the planned activities:
►Fans will be able to view digital baseball cards of Negro League players and kids will learn about the Negro Leagues, Detroit Stars, Hamtramck Stadium and the Willie Horton African American Legacy Award.
►A special Sunday Kid’s Day will also include themed activities and videos, all of which can be found on Tigers.com starting on Sunday.
►In a special contest, Tigers shortstop Goodrum will teach students about the history of the Detroit Stars and Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, followed by students researching and then submitting a video with a favorite fact that they learned about Stearnes.
►A winner will be announced following the submission period. The Detroit Tigers Foundation will re-name a Tiny Tigers team the “Detroit Stars” for their 2020 season.
►A conversation with Willie Horton African American Legacy Award winners: Torii Hunter, Craig Monroe, Jake Wood, Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon and Gary Sheffield is available on the Tigers’ YouTube channel.
►On Sunday there will be a screening of the Tigers vs. Indians game at 1 pm at the Chevy Plaza, located at Little Caesars Arena, and after the game, there will be a special screening of “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.”
“My dad taught me a lot about the history of the Negro League,” Goodrum said. “And I have researched a lot of it myself. I’ve visited the Negro League Museum in Kansas City and I encourage everyone to do so. This is a special day — it always is.”
Bad enough that Indians slugger Franmil Reyes had the audacity to hit a baseball 462 feet off the vines beyond the bushes in center field at Comerica Park Friday — but off his cousin? Come on.
“That’s the third round between us,” said Tigers Ivan Nova, who hung an 0-2 curveball. “He got me the first two rounds. So I’ve got to get him back to even the count.”
That’s going to be a while. Nova said he felt some discomfort in his arm after the game and on Saturday we went on the injured list with triceps tendinitis.
“I felt good the whole game, to be honest,” he said. “Just felt a little sore after and I told the trainers. They checked it out and found a little tendinitis. It’s nothing too big. We’ll get rid of it and be back soon.”
As for giving up the bomb to his cousin, Nova said, “That curveball didn’t do anything. I make a mistake and I pay for it. I mean, he’s family and I am happy for him that he’s putting it together. But I am hoping my guys strike him out a bunch of times the rest of the series.”
Tigers utility man Harold Castro has kind of gotten lost in all the lineup shuffling lately. He’s made one start in the last seven games.
“We’re having a hard time finding places here,” Gardenhire said. “With Maybin just getting back, and (Jeimer) Candelario is doing fine at first. Harold will get plenty of playing time. He’s going good off the bench right now.
“And he’s penciled in to play (Sunday).”
Castro is 2 for 3 as a pinch-hitter with an RBI.