The 10 most comical moments in Tigers history

November 24th, 2019

1) Norm Cash brings table leg to plate for Ryan no-hitter
July 15, 1973

Nolan Ryan was an out away from his second no-hitter of 1973, striking out 17 batters on a Sunday afternoon at Tiger Stadium, when Detroit's Norm Cash stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth. After two strikeouts and a groundout in his previous at-bats, Cash stepped to the plate with a different piece of lumber. Turns out, it was a table leg from the Tigers clubhouse, prompting plate umpire Ron Luciano to break out laughing as he told Cash he needed an actual bat.

“I won’t hit him anyway,” Cash reportedly said.

The incident became a legend in Detroit and later in cartoon form. In The Simpsons episode “Homer At The Bat,” Carl brought a piano leg to the plate.

2) Casey thrown out at first on liner to left
Aug. 24, 2006

Sean Casey was a Tiger for just a season and a half, but he’s immortalized in the Old English D for one at-bat -- a 5-7-3 putout on a line drive to left field. Casey thought White Sox third baseman Joe Crede had robbed him with a leaping grab and turned his head away in frustration, thus missing the ball deflecting off Crede’s glove and landing in shallow left. Casey realized his mistake and took off running, but joked he was running in quicksand as Pablo Ozuna charged the ball in left and fired to first for the first out of the fifth inning.

3) Mahtook taps ball over fence
Sept. 3, 2017

“It’s not like I got hit in the head and it bounced over,” Mikie Mahtook said afterwards. “It was a ball that hit off the top of the wall twice.”

Mahtook was right, but it was memorable nonetheless. José Ramírez's drive bounced off the top of the left-field fence, went straight up, then bounced again back into play. Mahtook leapt at the ball but tried to barehand it in hopes of quickly throwing the ball into the infield. Instead, he deflected it back over.

4) Goodrum deflects fly ball over fence
Aug. 15, 2019

Like Mahtook, Niko Goodrum wasn’t hit by a ball off his head that went over the fence. But the Tigers utility man, playing center field on an August night, was hit -- by his teammate. Both Goodrum and left fielder Brandon Dixon went after Kyle Seager’s drive to left-center. Goodrum had the ball in his glove for a split second but lost it just before Dixon crashed into it. The ball carried over the fence, and a bewildered Seager rounded the bases with his third home run of the night.

5) Cecil Fielder’s first stolen base
April 2, 1996

Fielder rekindled baseball passion in the Motor City with his historic 51-homer season in 1990, on his way to 245 career home runs hit for the Tigers. But while Fielder posted five 30-homer seasns in Detroit, the burly, slow-footed first baseman didn’t have a stolen base in any big league uniform until his final season as a Tiger in '96. With Detroit leading a high-scoring affair in the ninth inning on an April night at the Metrodome, and reliever Dan Naulty not paying attention, Fielder took off and beat Twins catcher Greg Myers’ off-line throw to second. The Metrodome crowd gave Fielder a standing ovation. The swipe helped Fielder score an insurance run on a Pat Meares error.

6) Prince Fielder chases foul ball, gets nachos instead
Sept. 19, 2013

While the Tigers were wrapping up their run to a third consecutive division title, their fun-loving first baseman found himself in a roundabout chase for a fifth-inning foul ball. Fielder couldn’t quite get there, but his momentum took him to the fence of the seats down the right-field line, where an unsuspecting fan was holding a tray of nachos. Fielder grabbed a chip, wiping his mouth on his jersey on his way back to first base.

7) Miguel Cabrera tickles fan’s beard
June 21, 2017

While Justin Verlander was trying to strand a runner in the sixth inning, Miguel Cabrera was trying to help him out by chasing down a foul ball behind the first-base dugout. He never had a chance at the ball, which landed a half-dozen rows deep in the seats, but as long as he had his glove out, he took a tug at the beard of an unsuspecting fan in the front row.

8) Verlander’s first base hit
April 12, 2014

For an American League pitcher, Verlander always fancied himself as a skilled hitter, despite 26 hitless at-bats over his first eight seasons. His quest for his first big league hit was a running saga until a Saturday afternoon in San Diego and a fastball from Ian Kennedy, which Verlander slapped back up the middle for a single. The Tigers dugout erupted in a sarcastic ovation as Verlander rounded first base.

9) Brad Ausmus throws hoodie on home plate in ejection
May 16, 2016

The Tigers have had their share of fiery managers in their long history, but cerebral, mild-mannered Brad Ausmus usually isn’t regarded among them. His critique of plate umpire Doug Eddings’ strike zone in 2016, however, ranks among the most epic managerial meltdowns of recent memory, capped by Ausmus removing his hoodie and placing it on home plate. The hoodie was eventually auctioned off for charity, drawing $5,010.

10) Gates Brown rounds bases with hot dogs in jersey

This is more legend than fact, but it’s too good to leave out. Brown was an unsung hero on the 1968 World Series champion Tigers, batting .450 (18-for-40) with three homers as a pinch-hitter that year. But it was a pinch-hit double that became the stuff of legend. As Brown and teammates told the story, he was snacking on a couple hot dogs when manager Mayo Smith unexpectedly called on him to hit. Brown stuffed the dogs in his uniform, stepped to the plate and doubled.

“That’s the only time I ever wished I’d struck out,” Brown joked, according to a Tigers press release years later.