I’m going to do something I shouldn’t — I’m going to breakdown the fourth wall of blogging. My editors at Beaumont wanted me to write about who my favorite Detroit Tiger was growing up. Honestly, as a lifelong fan, that’s like asking me who my favorite child is!
I was lucky because I was 9 when the “Bless You Boys” Tigers were putting up banners and winning a championship. But making me pick one player is just unfair. You had one of the best pitchers of the 1980s in Jack Morris, the best shortstop in the game (Yes, I said best … look at the numbers), and a second baseman who should be in Cooperstown. There is no way to pick just one.
The 1984 Tigers were a team. Not just a collection of players, but a “you throw at my player, get ready for a fight” kind of team. You didn’t know who the hero would be from game-to-game and that was what was exciting! One day, Alan Trammell would make a play at short and go three for four with two runs batted in. Kirk Gibson would take an extra base, not because he was told to but because he could.
Larry Herndon, Chet Lemon and the aforementioned Gibson patrolled the outfield at old Tiger Stadium. Tom Brookens, Tram, Sweet Lou and Darrell Evans rounded out the defense, and Lance Parrish caught a rotation I can still name.
The players on the bench were household names; any of the bullpen pitchers could’ve run for mayor of the city and won. It was a different era, and without a 24-hour sports network or fantasy leagues, we weren’t force-fed a superstar and a bunch of also-rans. We could learn about every player and how each could help our team win. They became part of the city and the city became part of them.
So when someone asks who my favorite player was growing up, it’s unfair to those on that magical team to choose just one. But if forced to pick just one I’ll have to say Herbie Redmond. You won’t find him on any roster, but true Tigers fans will know Herbie as the grounds crew member who danced while tending to the field at old Tiger Stadium. He made the break in the action enjoyable with his signature moves. We lost Herbie about a decade before Comerica opened its doors, but his legend will always live in the hearts of Tigers fans who saw him dance.
So what does this have to do with parenting? Not much, but it proves you never know what a pudgy 9-year-old kid will remember. I was witness to the best team ever in baseball (please, try to prove me wrong) and one of my best memories is seeing a grown man dance with a broom.
– Jim Pesta is a Parenting Program participant and father of two girls.