In the past fourteen seasons, here are all of the reasons Giants fans had to think about the Detroit Tigers:
Interleague play! Catch the fevexcitement! There are even rumors that the Tigers played in a World Series recently. Couldn't find confirmation.
Nope. Just rumors. There are also rumors that the Giants and Tigers have played nine times in interleague play already. Yeah. Can't say I remember any of those. Apparently, the all-time series is at Giants 5, Tigers 4, though the Tigers have taken the last two series.
Here, then, is the definitive list of the only five things in history that have made Giants fans think of the Tigers. They're all trades. What else could they be?
5. Chico Salmon sent to the Detroit Tigers in an unknown transaction
Chico Salmon played nine major league seasons. At no point did he play for the Giants. At no point did he play for the Tigers. But according to Baseball Reference, before the 1960 season, he was sent from the Washington Senators to the Giants in "an unknown transaction." Then before 1961, he was sent from the Giants to the Tigers in "an unknown transaction."
It takes a while for those FOIA requests to go through, so until then, we'll just have to wonder. My guess is that the first trade was for Willie McCovey, who had already found an apartment in D.C., but the trade was voided by Commissioner Frick, after which the Giants agreed to send something that was never disclosed. Probably the missing Alou brother, Zeppo.
4. Champ Summers for Enos Cabell
Champ Summers. It's like a made-up name in a video game from a company that was too cheap to buy the MLB license. Champ Summers. It's like the name of a character who would make a cameo in an Archie comic, briefly vying for Betty or Veronica's hand. Champ Summers. Said together, it's like a word from Game of Thrones
The wildlings hadn't come this close to Winterfell since before the champsummers, when the harvests were scorched.
Champ Summers for Enos Cabell would have made this site explode with joy. Cabell wasn't anything special, and Summers was coming off seasons with an OPS+ of 154 (!) and 175 (!!) before he had an injury-plagued final season with the Tigers. The perfect buy-low candidate. Then he played 99 games over two seasons with the Giants before fading away.
But Champ Summers!
3. Mark Lewis for Jesse Ibarra
Lewis used to be toolsy super-prospect of the decade, believe it or not. He was the #2 overall pick in the 1988 draft, above Steve Avery, Jim Abbott, and Robin Ventura. When the Giants traded for him, he was a) coming off a meh season for the Tigers but, b) still just 26. Not a bad trade in retrospect, especially considering that the Giants were still in quasi-rebuilding mode. In the end, though, all I remember about Lewis is that he kept starting over Bill Mueller in 1997, and that absolutely drove me bonkers because, dammit, please start Bill Mueller.
2. Juan Berenguer, Bob Melvin, Scott Medvin for Eric King, Dave LaPoint, Matt Nokes
Apparently, the Tigers wanted to hold on to Frank Mefvin, Harvey Mecvin, Stan Megvin, and Tex Mexvin. Good for them.
Ah, sweet Matty Nokes. Talk about a trade that would have made this site melt down. As a 21-year-old catcher in AA, Nokes hit .294/.365/.491. He was surely one of the team's best prospects, maybe not at the time, but with the hindsight of the OBP/SLG revolution. He was traded for a reliever (nickname: Señor Smoke!) who pitched one season before being released, a backup catcher who played two seasons before being traded for Terry Kennedy, and a reliever who never pitched for the Giants. Fleah. Nokes had a nifty little career as a plus-power catcher before he broke down.
But, wait! Medvin was a part of the deal that brought Rick Reuschel to the Giants! Sure, Jeff Robinson was probably the main part of the deal, but don't rule ol' Meddy out. He gave the Giants a pennant, really. The Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series because of Scott Medvin and Matt Nokes. And now you know.
1. Brian Johnson for Marcus Jensen
So the Tigers are cool in my book. If they don't lose a bunch of games this weekend, they'll be less cool. But they gave us Brian Johnson, which gave us one of the better Giants memories since they moved to San Francisco.
Hitter to watch:
Brian Johnson. I linked the video and everything.
Pitcher to watch:
Rick Reuschel. Though he was probably good enough in his 20s to hit cleanup for the 2011 Giants, so maybe he should be the hitter to watch.
The thread is curiously devoid of people who claim that the Giants should have kept Marcus Jensen.