Wait 'til next year Tiger fans. It is odd that I come to this team today, as Bill Lajoie, the GM that helped put this team and more importantly, the '84 team together passed away yesterday. The Tigers were almost there in 1983 and after some very big acquisitions in the off season between 1983 and 1984, the Tigers were ready to put together one of the most historic seasons in baseball. (I hope my homerism isn't showing through too much.)
Best Player: Lou Whitaker
Best Pitcher: Jack Morris
All-Stars: Aurelio Lopez, Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker
Rookie Card of the Year: Howard Johnson...Imagine an infield through the 80s with Whitaker/Trammell, Johnson at 3rd and a platoon of Evans/Bergman at first. This could've been one of the most solid ever for about a 5 year stretch. All the Tigers got for Johnson after the '84 season was Walt Terrell. I guess they did have to shore up the starting pitchers as there was little after Morris and Petry, but it was often reported Johnson was in Sparky's doghouse.
Other rookie cards: Larry Pashnick, Dave Rucker (first solo card, will be listed under Cardinals roster), Jerry Ujdur, Glenn Wilson
First Tigers cards: Doug Bair, Johnny Grubb
Most interesting non-Topps card: Howard Johnson...the rookie card of arguably the best third basemen in the later '80s/early '90s, appears in both the Fleer and Donruss sets.
Other notes: As per the practice of trying to match up the players with the organizations they saw the most playing time with in 1983, Wayne Krenchicki, Bob Molinaro, Julio Gonzalez, and Bill Nahorodny are placed on this checklist, even though they all appear on different teams. Krenchicki did play with the Reds in '83, but received more playing time with the Tigers. Molinaro also played with the Phillies, and is shown in a Phils uniform on a card in the traded set, so his regular Cubs card is placed here. I've probably talked more about Bob Molinaro on this blog than anybody else. But he had an odd career in that he bounced around alot, and his cards almost never line up with who he is actually playing with. Gonzalez and Nahorodny played only with the Tigers, but never had cards in the traded sets.
Another interesting card is Aurelio Lopez showing up in the traded set. Senor Smoke had been with the Tigers since the 1979 season. His playing time was down in 1982, but he still appeared in 41 innings. He would be an all-star in 1983, and his Topps card shows up in the traded set.