On this day in 1969 the Tigers beat the Seattle Pilots 8-5 at Sick's Stadium. Six members of the defending World Series Champions (including Al Kaline) had multiple hits in the game while the Pilots wasted a 4-for-4 day from outfielder Wayne Comer, the only such game of his career. This was the first-ever meeting between these two franchises.
The two teams were pretty clearly headed in different directions at this point: The Tigers went 66-54 from this day on and finished second to the 109-win Orioles in the AL East. This loss dropped the Pilots to 20-23, and they went 44-75 down the stretch to finish 33 games out in the West.
These two teams became divisional rivals when the Brewers moved into the East in 1972, and remained that way until realignment moved the Crew into the AL Central in 1994. Finally, the Brewers' move to the NL in 1998 allowed the Tigers to escape the shadow of the Yankees and Red Sox and join the AL Central, a division they've won in each of the last two seasons.
All told these two franchises have now met 418 times, with the Tigers leading the all-time series 221-197. 21 of those games have come since the Brewers switched leagues, with the Tigers leading 12-9 in interleague play. These teams haven't played since 2009, when the Tigers swept a three game set.
Here are some other notables from this matchup:
- The longest Brewers/Tigers tilt came in 2000, when former Brewer manager Phil Garner led Detroit to a 4-2, 15 inning win.
- The Brewers were the opposing team for Justin Verlander's no-hitter in 2007.
- Robin Yount actually appeared in 254 games against the Tigers. Plate appearances against the Tigers represent 9% of his career total.
- 25 of Gorman Thomas' 208 Brewer home runs came against the Tigers. So did ten of Jim Slaton's franchise record 117 wins.
Finally, on this day in 1970 the Brewers were playing the Tigers when second baseman Roberto Pena hit an inside-the-park grand slam. We covered that event in this space last year.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday to 1972-73 Brewer John Felske. He turns 71 and we covered his birthday in this space two years ago.