Rodriguez was with the Tigers for nine of his 17 MLB seasons and is seen here on a '74 Topps card. "Hammerin'" Hank needs no introduction and looks like the slugger he was in this sepia-toned 2002 SP Legendary Cuts base offering. And Fielder, seen on a 2012 GQ Moonshots insert, did indeed hit some longballs during his two-year term with Detroit: 55 over two seasons, to be exact; he was also putrid in the playoffs and I don't miss him!
But a player I do miss and am happy to see join my Tigers hits collection is this dude right here:
Dean Palmer 2001 Fleer Game Time Lumber bat
Dean-o! Palmer was with Detroit for just five of his 14 seasons, and really only played for two full years--1999 and 2000--due to injuries, but those two seasons were very good for him despite terrible Tigers teams. After eight seasons with Texas and two with the Royals, Dean signed on with Detroit for five years and $36 million, which seemed reasonable after an All-Star 1998 campaign in which he clubbed 34 homers, his second-best total at the time. The following two seasons with the Tigers, Palmer bashed 67 HR, including a new career-high 38 in '99, while eclipsing 100 RBI, all while mostly playing 3B.
His career quickly went downhill after that, but those two seasons provided me with plenty of good memories during an otherwise bleak era in Motown. Considering his power, it's definitely appropriate that my first hit of him is a bat relic.
Jim, thanks again for the unexpected but much-appreciated cards! I can already tell you that I'll soon have something headed back your way (which was already in the works before you sent these!) in thanks for being a great trade partner. Readers, please point your browsers/feeds to GCRL and help add to the collection of a very focused blogger!