2003 Detroit Tigers season

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2003 Detroit Tigers
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) Mike Ilitch
Manager(s) Alan Trammell
Local television WKBD
(Frank Beckmann, Jack Morris)
FSN Detroit
(Mario Impemba, Rod Allen)
Local radio WXYT (AM)
(Jim Price, Dan Dickerson)
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The 2003 Detroit Tigers lost more games than any other team in American League history and came within one loss of tying the 1962 New York Mets for the most losses in modern major league history. The team's record was 43-119, giving them a .265 winning percentage, and broke the Philadelphia Athletics' 1916 American League record of 117 losses. They were outscored by 337 runs over the course of the season (928 to 591) and finished 47 games behind the Minnesota Twins. Blame for the dismal season was shared by both the pitching staff which had an ERA of 5.30 and the batters who finished with a team batting average of .240 –- 19 points below the American League's .259 batting average. The season was the Tigers’ 103rd since they entered the AL in 1901.

Season overview[edit]

The 2003 Tigers seemed like a sure bet to break the 1962 Mets' record for most losses when they stood at 38-118 after 156 games, but they won five of their last six to avoid ignominy. On September 27, in their next-to-last game, the Tigers came back from an 8-0 deficit to beat the Minnesota Twins 9-8.[1] Then the Tigers won the season finale to avoid tying the record and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Mike Maroth went 9-21 for the 2003 Tigers and became the first pitcher to lose 20 games in more than 20 years.[2] Tigers' pitchers Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman (6-19), and Nate Cornejo (6-17) were #1, #2, and #3 in the major leagues in losses for 2003—the only time in major league history that one team has had the top three losers.

While the 2003 Tigers rank as the third worst team in major league history based on loss total (behind the 1899 Cleveland Spiders and 1962 Mets), they fare slightly better based on winning percentage. As shown in the chart below, the 2003 Tigers rank only as the 9th worst team in history based on winning percentage.

Year Franchise Lg W L Percentage
1899 Cleveland Spiders NL 20 134 .130
1890 Pittsburg(h) Alleghenys NL 23 113 .169
1916 Philadelphia Athletics AL 36 117 .235
1935 Boston Braves NL 38 115 .248
1962 New York Mets NL 40 120 .250
1904 Washington Senators AL 38 113 .252
1898 St. Louis Browns NL 39 111 .260
1919 Philadelphia Athletics AL 36 104 .257
2003 Detroit Tigers AL 43 119 .265

Unlike the 2003 Tigers, most of the other teams usually described as the worst of all time were plagued by significant off-field troubles. The 1899 Spiders and 1916 A's had essentially been reduced to minor-league status after unloading their best players. The 1890 Alleghenys had lost practically their entire roster to the Players' League. The 1935 Braves were plagued by underfinanced ownership. The 1962 Mets were a first-year expansion team. For this reason, the 2003 Tigers have been described as possibly "the worst team of all time without a good excuse."[3]

Designated hitter/left fielder Dmitri Young is the one member of the 2003 Tigers to have a truly good year, with a .297 batting average, 29 home runs, and .537 slugging percentage. According to Win Shares, the Tigers would have had about six fewer wins without him.[3]

On the pitching staff, Jamie Walker stands out as the one pitcher who had a good season. Walker appeared in 78 games (2nd most in the AL) and had an ERA of 3.32 (Adjusted ERA+ of 130).

Some blamed first-year manager Alan Trammell for the performance of the 2003 Tigers, but the 2002 team was 55-106 under manager Luis Pujols. Making Trammell's job more difficult, the Tigers did not sign any significant new talent in 2003 and actually lost several key players from the 2002 team, including the team's best starter, Jeff Weaver, the team's closer Juan Acevedo, second baseman Damion Easley, right fielder Robert Fick, and designated hitter Randall Simon. In short, Trammell inherited a team in shambles—an already bad team made worse by the departure of its best performers. Even with fellow 1984 teammates Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish on the coaching staff, Trammell could not turn the team around in 2003.

After the 2003 season, the Tigers acquired Iván Rodríguez, Carlos Guillén, Ugueth Urbina, and Rondell White. With the infusion of new talent, Trammell was able to lead the turn-around, as the team improved to 72-90 in 2004, a 29-game improvement over the 2003 season—the largest improvement in the American League since Baltimore's 33-game improvement from 1988 to 1989.

Three years after losing 119 games, the Tigers went 95-67 and made it to the 2006 World Series. Players common to the 2003 and 2006 Tigers teams included Brandon Inge, Ramón Santiago (who spent 2004 and 2005 with the Seattle Mariners), Craig Monroe, Dmitri Young (released in September 2006), Omar Infante, Mike Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Jamie Walker, Wilfredo Ledezma, and Fernando Rodney.

The improvement from 2003 to 2004 was actually more substantial than the 24-game improvement from 2005 (71-91) to 2006 (95-67).

Season standings[edit]

AL Central W L GB Pct.
Minnesota Twins 90 72 -- .556
Chicago White Sox 86 76 4 .531
Kansas City Royals 83 79 7 .512
Cleveland Indians 68 94 22 .420
Detroit Tigers 43 119 47 .265

Roster[edit]

2003 Detroit Tigers
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Transactions[edit]

  • November 25, 2002: Randall Simon was traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later and Adrian Burnside (minors). The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Roberto Novoa (December 16, 2002) to the Detroit Tigers to complete the trade.[4]
  • November 29, 2002: Ernie Young was signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers.[5]
  • January 20, 2003: Bill Haselman was signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers.[6]
  • January 23, 2003: Steve Avery was signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers.[7]
  • March 27, 2003: Bill Haselman was released by the Detroit Tigers.[6]
  • March 29, 2003: AJ Hinch was purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the Cleveland Indians.[8]

Player stats[edit]

Batting[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Brandon Inge 104 330 67 .203 8 30
Carlos Peña 131 452 112 .248 18 50
Warren Morris 97 346 94 .272 6 37
Eric Munson 99 313 75 .240 18 50
Ramón Santiago 141 444 100 .225 2 29
Craig Monroe 128 425 102 .240 23 70
Alex Sánchez 101 394 114 .289 1 22
Bobby Higginson 130 469 110 .235 14 52
Dmitri Young 155 562 167 .297 29 85
Shane Halter 114 360 78 .217 12 30
Kevin Witt 93 270 71 .263 10 26
Omar Infante 69 221 49 .222 0 8
Andrés Torres 59 168 37 .220 1 9
Matt Walbeck 59 138 24 .174 1 6

Note: pitchers' batting statistics not included

Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Mike Maroth 33 193.3 9 21 5.73 87
Nate Cornejo 32 194.7 6 17 4.67 46
Jeremy Bonderman 33 162 6 19 5.56 108
Gary Knotts 20 95.3 3 8 6.04 51
Adam Bernero 18 100.7 1 12 6.08 54
Nate Robertson 8 44.7 1 2 5.44 33

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; W= Wins; L= Losses; SV = Saves; GF= Games Finished; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV GF ERA SO
Matt Roney 45 1 9 0 12 5.45 47
Steve Sparks 42 0 6 2 24 4.72 49
Wilfredo Ledezma 34 3 7 0 8 5.79 49
Chris Spurling 66 1 3 3 18 4.68 38
Jamie Walker 78 4 3 3 19 3.32 45
Fernando Rodney 27 1 3 3 11 6.07 33
Franklyn Germán 45 2 4 5 15 6.04 41

League Leaders and Awards[edit]

Worst seasons in Detroit Tigers history[edit]

Worst Seasons in Detroit Tigers History
Rank Year Wins Losses Win %
1 2003 43 119 .265
2 1952 50 104 .325
3 1996 53 109 .327
4 2002 55 106 .342
5 1975 57 102 .358

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Toledo Mud Hens International League Larry Parrish
AA Erie SeaWolves Eastern League Kevin Bradshaw
A Lakeland Tigers Florida State League Gary Green
A West Michigan Whitecaps Midwest League Phil Regan
Short-Season A Oneonta Tigers New York–Penn League Randy Ready
Rookie GCL Tigers Gulf Coast League Howard Bushong

[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sep 27, 2003, Twins at Tigers Play by Play and Box Score". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 26, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Pitchers With 20 or More Losses in a Season". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on October 14, 2008. Retrieved September 26, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "2003 Detroit Tigers Baseball Graphs Review". BaseballGraphs.com. Retrieved September 26, 2008. 
  4. ^ Randall Simon Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com
  5. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/y/younger02.shtml
  6. ^ a b http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/haselbi01.shtml
  7. ^ Steve Avery Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com
  8. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hincha.01.shtml
  9. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 2007

External links[edit]