Known for his quiet efficiency, Michigan native Charlie Gehringer was not only the best fielding second baseman of his time, but he also hit for power and average. Ty Cobb, who managed the Tigers during Gehringer's first three seasons, called him, aside from Eddie Collins, "the greatest second baseman (he) ever saw."
A fearsome run producer and home run hitter, "Hammerin' Hank" Greenberg made the most of a career interrupted by four years of military service during World War II and another season lost to injury to capture two MVP awards and a pair of World Series titles.
If any player defined the Tigers during the last half-century it was Al Kaline, and in 1980, he became just the 10th player ever elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility. At the time of his retirement, Kaline and Ty Cobb were the only Tigers ever to play 20 or more seasons in a Detroit uniform.
Sparky Anderson spent 17 seasons as the manager for the Tigers. During his 17-year tenure, he led the Tigers to a pair of playoff appearances, including the 1984 World Series championship. Anderson earned American League Manager of the Year honors in 1984 and 1987 and managed the American League squad in the 1985 All-Star Game. He finished his time as the Tigers skipper with a franchise record 1,331 victories. Over his 26-year career as a big league manager, which included nine seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Anderson won 2,194 games, led his teams to three World Series championships and had a .545 career winning percentage. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 in his first year of eligibility.
The only pitcher in major league history to win back-to-back league MVP awards, Hal Newhouser, Detroit born-and-raised, was one of the most dominant pitchers of the 1940s.
The "hometown hero" and former Tigers great returned to the organization in January of 2002, being named special assistant to the president. The 18-year veteran played 14 seasons with the Tigers after signing with the team at age 18 in 1961 following an outstanding baseball career at Detroit's Northwestern High School.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American man to play in the Major Leagues. Played for Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947-56.