Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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These Tigers should be AL Central's best ever

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: April 30, 2013 - 5:46 AM

Major League Baseball split into three divisions per league starting in 1994. The players went on strike Aug. 11. That wound up ending the regular season and wiped out the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

The playoffs were twice as large with three division champs and a wild-card team per league when the postseason arrived in 1995. The absurdity of a second wild-card and one-game shootouts in each league were added in 2012.

There have been 18 World Series in baseball's three-division era. Seven champions have come from the American League East (Yankees-5, Red Sox-2), four from the National League East (Florida-2, Atlanta, Philadelphia), three from the NL West (San Francisco-2, Arizona), two from the NL Central (St. Louis-2) and one apiece from the AL Central (White Sox) and the AL West (Angels).

The White Sox title came in 2005 and is the lone World Series championship for a Chicago franchise since 1917. The AL Central has sent four other teams to the World Series: Cleveland in 1995 and 1997, and Detroit in 2006 and 2012.

Two decades after the start of three-division play, the AL Central is not exactly a storied division. That said, I feel as if the Twins are currently in Detroit for a three-game series against a Tigers' team that should turn out to be the best-ever in the Central, barring injuries.

The Cleveland team of 1995 won 100 games in a 144-game scheduie, then powered its way into the World Series. Those were some frightening hitting teams the Indians put on the field in the mid-and-late '90s.

The White Sox team that rolled through October in 2005 was also tremendous. Yet, comparing those teams with the current Tigers, I like Detroit.

Here's a look at the AL Central teams that made it to the World Series, along with today's Tigers:

1995 CLEVELAND: C-Tony Pena. 1B-Paul Sorrento. 2B-Carlos Baerga. SS-Omar Vizquel. 3B-Jim Thome. LF-Albert Belle. CF-Kenny Lofton. RF-Manny Ramirez. DH-Eddie Murray.

SP-Dennis Martinez, Charles Nagy, Orel Hershiser, Mark Clark, Chad Ogea, Ken Hill (after July 27 trade). BP-Jose Mesa (closer), Julian Tavarez, Eric Plunk, Paul Assenmacher.

1997 CLEVELAND: C-Sandy Alomar. 1B-Thome. 2B-Tony Fernandez. SS-Vizquel. 3B-Matt Williams. LF-Brian Giles. CF-Marquis Grissom. RF-Ramirez. DH-David Justice.

SP-Nagy, Hershiser, Ogea, Jaret Wright, Bartolo Colon (rookie, 17 starts). BP-Mesa (closer), Mike Jackson, Plunk. Assenmacher.

2005 WHITE SOX: C-A.J. Pierzynski. 1B-Paul Konerko. 2B-Tadahito Iguchi. SS-Juan Uribe. 3B-Joe Crede. LF-Scott Podsednik. CF-Aaron Rowand. RF-Jermaine Dye. DH-Carl Everett (and Frank Thomas on limited basis).

SP-Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez (for 22 starts). BP-Dustin Hermanson (closer), Luis Vizcaino, Neal Cotts, Damaso Marte, Bobby Jenks (later in season).

2006 DETROIT: C-Pudge Rodriguez. 1B-Chris Shelton, Sean Casey. 2B-Placido Polanco. SS-Carlos Guillen. 3B-Brandon Inge. LF-Craig Monroe. CF-Curtis Granderson. RF-Magglio Ordonez. DH-Marcus Thames.

SP-Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Kenny Rogers, Justin Verlander (rookie), Zach Miner and others. BP-Todd Jones (closer), Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney.

2012 DETROIT: C-Alex Avila. 1B-Prince Fielder. 2B-Omar Infante (last two months). SS-Jhonny Peralta. 3B-Miguel Cabrera. LF-Andy Dirks. CF-Austin Jackson. RF-Brennan Boesch, others. DH-Delmon Young.

SP-Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly, Anibal Sanchez (12 starts). BP-Jose Valverde (closer), Jaoquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel (later in season), Phil Coke.

2013 DETROIT: C-Avila. 1B-Fielder. 2B-Infante (full season), SS-Peralta. 3B-Cabrera. LF-Dirks. CF-Jackson. RF-Torii Hunter. DH-Victor Martinez.

SP-Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Sanchez (full season), Porcello. BP-Valverde (closer for now), Benoit, Coke, Smyly, Al Albuquerque (healthy), Bruce Rondon (rookie with potential to help), Dotel (currently injured).

I like the 2013 Tigers much better than last year's World Series team. I like this Tigers' lineup over the 2005 White Sox. I like the Tigers' starting pitching more than the 1995 Indians, and substantially more than the '97 Indians

Again, barring injuries to this Detroit team, here's the way I rate all-time AL Central clubs for potency: 2013 Tigers, 2005 White Sox, 1995 Indians, 1997 Indians, 2012 Tigers and 2006 Tigers.Take your choice of the best of the Twins' division champs in the 2000s and put that club seventh.

 

 

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Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

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