The Tigers and Cardinals have met in the World Series 3 times since 1934. Not this year. This year the Tigers are out; the Cardinals are in. That means no flashbacks to the “Gashouse Gang” featuring the last NL pitcher to win 30 games, Dizzy Dean. The matchup between Dean and Hank Greenberg took on a different meaning after Dean hit a homerun, turned to Greenberg and said, “Hey Moe (referring to Moses and Greenberg’s Judaism), that’s how you do it.”
Greenberg followed Dean’s comments with a home run of his own. Dean was also the last pitcher in the major leagues to win 30 until former Tiger Denny McClain won 30 in 1968. Who played in the 1968 World Series? The Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals.
Dubbed the “Year of the pitcher,” the 1968 World Series featured Cy Young winner and American League Most Valuable Player Denny McClain and World Series MVP Mickey Lolich as the front two of the Tigers starting rotation. The Cardinals starting three consisted of Bob Gibson, Nelson Briles, and Steve Carlton. Bob Gibson won 22 games that year and boasted an all time record ERA of 1.12.
Hank Greenberg threw out the first pitch of game 4 of the 1968 W.S. Hammerin’ Hank also went on to testify on behalf of a young Cardinals outfielder at the time, Curt Flood, in a benchmark case that led to modern free agency. Two of the Tigers outfielders in the 1968 World Series, Al Kaline and Willie Horton, would later go on to throw out the first pitch in the 2006 World Series when the Tigers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals. While the Cardinals are playing the Rangers and foregoing any possibility of a rematch this year, the connective bond between organizations with rich histories like the Cardinals and Tigers often seem to overlap under unusual circumstances.