With Sunday night’s sweep by the San Francisco Giants, the Detroit Tigers continued their World Series title drought back to 1984. The team, which started play in the American League in 1901, has appeared in the World Series eleven times.
Of the teams in the MLB appearing in nine or more World Series, the Tigers trail only the Chicago Cubs in a title drought. Of course, with the Cubs’ last title coming in 1908, the Tigers at least have a ways before their drought approaches the 100 year mark. The Tigers also have the second longest drought in for a World Series title of the teams that have won four or more.
The 2012 season did not end the way it was supposed to for the Tigers. After losing starter Victor Martinez to a season end injury, the Tigers went out and signed free agent Prince Fielder to a deal. The news of the deal and the pairing of Fielder with Miguel Cabrera on the Tigers lineup immediately vaulted the Tigers into title contenders.
Despite this move, the Tigers struggled throughout most of the season, and had to close the regular season with several series wins to pass the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Ultimately the team fell short and was once again a postseason disappointment.
The good news for Tigers fans is the team continues to approach contender status. After posting eleven straight seasons of losing records from 1995-2005, the team is now seeing winning come back to the city of Detroit. Since 2006, the Tigers have had winning seasons in six of the seven seasons. The Tigers now have playoff appearances in 2006, 2011, and 2012. The team has reached the World Series on two of those occasions.
Several key players like Fielder and Cabrera are locked up for multiple years. If the Tigers re-sign Anibal Sanchez, the team will continue to have one of the best pitching rotations in baseball. Going into 2013, the Tigers have a team that should win the AL Central Division. The return of Victor Martinez will be influential on offseason plans, but getting back a guy who has hit .303 in his career is not a bad thing.
With the MLB changing the Wild Card rules for the postseason, the Tigers need to win the division. As both the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves found out, one game and you’re out ends a great season real fast. The Tigers have two seasons to get a World Series Championship before the drought hits 30 years.