After watching Tim Anderson tear apart Detroit Tigers pitching the past week, we started to think about the biggest Tigerkillers in the last 20 years.
As Detroit Tigers fans, we all remember one player who always hit Detroit pitching hard. Recently, we have witnessed Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson tear apart Tigers pitching to the tune of a slash line of .579/.600/1.368 with an OPS of 1.968. He is 11-for-19 with four home runs, a double and a triple already this season. Hopefully, Casey Mize can cool him off tonight.
So it got us thinking on our Slack channel who are some of the biggest Tigerkillers. What player have you booed the loudest when you see them come to the plate? We broke it down into three categories among active players: OPS, home runs, and batting average (minimum 125 plate appearances). We did add inactive names at the end so you can have a good flashback. Let’s begin.
Top 5 Active OPS leaders against the Detroit Tigers
- Jorge Soler: 1.102 in 159 plate appearances
- Jose Ramirez: 1.014 in 348 plate appearances
- Matt Davidson: 1.001 in 128 plate appearances
- Whit Merrifield: .988 in 313 plate appearances
- José Abreu: .983 in 470 plate appearances
Both Soler and Ramirez are AL Central rivals so it makes sense, and Davidson, the former White Sox hitter who is now in Cincinnati, also was a pest to the Tigers. The highest OPS from a non-division player? Jed Lowrie, at .940 in 178 plate appearances.
Top 5 Active HR Leaders against the Detroit Tigers
- Alex Gordon: 25 HR in 780 plate appearances
- Carlos Santana: 22 HR in 669 plate appearances
- Nelson Cruz: 21 HR in 432 plate appearances
- Salvador Perez: 21 HR in 455 plate appearances
- José Abreu: 20 HR in 470 plate appearances
Alex Gordon did surprise me, considering the two names below him, but he does have 120 more plate appearances against Detroit than Santana. The most non-division homers come from Albert Pujols, with 15 in 268 plate appearances.
Top 5 Active Batting Averages against the Detroit Tigers
- Whit Merrifield: .352 in 313 plate appearances
- José Abreu: .348 in 470 plate appearances
- Jed Lowrie: .340 in 178 plate appearances
- Michael Brantley: .331 in 178 plate appearances
- Adam Eaton: .330 in 236 plate appearances
I had a feeling Merrifield would be the top name on the list. Abreu is another White Sox hitter who has always tormented Tigers pitching, following the footsteps of former White Sox first baseman Jim Thome. Lowrie is the only non-division opponent in the top five.
Non-Active Players against the Detroit Tigers
When it comes to this portion of the list, there are several factors to consider:
- Both leagues played 154 games until 1961
- Both leagues played in one division until the west expansion of baseball placed a second division in 1969
- Interleague play began in 1997
Non-Active top 5 home run leaders
- Babe Ruth: 123 in 1562 PA
- Jimmie Foxx: 93 in 1338 PA
- Ted Williams: 88 in 1463 PA
- Mickey Mantle: 73 in 1368 PA
- Yogi Berra: 72 in 1169 PA
Jim Thome is sixth with 66 HR in 900 plate appearances against Detroit, and Paul Konerko had 45 in 1023 PAs.
Non-Active top 5 batting average leaders
- Bobby Bonilla .448 in 125 PA
- Alex Cole .407 in 129 PA
- Matty McIntyre .385 in 130 PA
- Irv Waldron .384 in 125 PA
- Shoeless Joe Jackson .383 in 836 PA
If you knew who Alex Cole was, congrats! The former outfielder who played for a few teams from 1990 to 1996, had the Tigers number. Bonilla came as a surprise to me as well. Shoeless Joe Jackson, Matty McIntyre, and Irv Waldon all played between 1900 to 1920.
Non-Active top 5 OPS
- Bobby Bonilla 1.300 in 125 PA
- Babe Ruth 1.221 in 1562 PA
- Aaron Robinson 1.103 in 150 PA
- Ted Williams 1.094 in 1463 PA
- Shane Mack 1.089 in 229 PA
Jim Thome was 10th on this list with 1.068 and just above him was Jose Bautista at 1.077. Robinson would play in Detroit for a few seasons after a few seasons with the Yankees. Another notable down the list was David Ortiz at .992 OPS.
There it is, your Tigerkillers list. Do some of the names surprise you?