OT: Verlander is Legend

Submitted by stephenrjking on October 12th, 2012 at 12:35 AM

The state of Michigan has a curious relationship with its professional sports stars. We've had our share of greats, but our loyalty to them has only a partial correlation to their raw athletic talent. 

Many of our favorites are guys who are great team players with great work ethics. Big stars are good, and big achievements are important, but if you're humble and do your job and succeed Michigan will love you. The 2004 Pistons are a great example of this--no stars, but beloved by everybody. 

We love Steve Yzerman. Not just because he was a brilliant player, but because he was the captain and he played hurt and he changed his game for the god of the team. 

We love Al Kaline. Not the greatest player of his time, but a great player who stuck with the Tigers for his entire career and led them to a title.

We love Barry Sanders, who was saddled with bad teams but was transcendant as a runner and always humble.

Last night, the Tigers horribly choked away a series win in the ninth inning. After winning the first two games at home, Oakland had seized the momentum going into game 5 at home. It was awful, it was dispiriting, it was a nightmare.

It would be unbearable, but for the one man every Michigander knew could stop the bleeding: Justin Verlander.

On the road. Game five. Nine innings. No runs. Justin takes his place in the pantheon of all-time Michigan sports greats.

Verlander is legend.

Comments

jdon

October 12th, 2012 at 12:41 AM ^

I still hate valverde though because this performance could have been game 1 of round two...

 

as for verlander if he wants to be up there with stevie y, al kaline, and the other detroit legends then he has to win a world series and no one know show this year will go...

jdon

pasadenablue

October 12th, 2012 at 12:46 AM ^

Complete game (first since Jack Morris in 84)

Shutout

First 2-win series for a Tigers pitcher since the aforementioned Morris

11 K's

22 K's in a divisional series - Major League Record

 

and he did it on 122 pitches (83 of them for strikes).  that means he could've gone a couple more batters had it been needed.

 

it'll be a shame if he doesn't win the Cy Young.  he is the "best pitcher in the game", said the best hitter in the game aka miguel cabrera.

MadtownMaize

October 12th, 2012 at 12:51 AM ^

I agree with everything you said except Barry. He was the 3rd best Lion to wear #20. The man was exciting, but he lacked leadership, toughness and most of all heart. Billy Sims was twice the player before he blew up his knee in MN. Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker belong on your list too.
I assume there will be some folks who disagree.
All hail Verlander.

bsand2053

October 12th, 2012 at 1:54 AM ^

I could not possibly disagree more with this.  Barry lacked heart?  Where is your evidence for this?  He lacked leadership?  You don't have to be a rah rah screamer to be a leader.  See Stu Douglass.  Toughness?  

Yeah, the way he retired was odd, and he should have given the Lions more notice, but all in all he is defintely a Michigan sports legend.

We can agree on Hailing Verlander though.

MadtownMaize

October 12th, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

I knew there would be people who disagreed, and admittedly his "retirement" was the final straw for me, but I will tell you why I feel this way.

-Football is a game of emotion, and Barry never showed any. Not when we scored, not when we won and not when we lost.

-When the Lions needed 1 freaking yard what did they have to do to get it? They had to throw the ball to Herman Moore (who was awesome).

-Barry had the most exciting and incredible one yard runs in history, after running 75 yards in the backfield.

-Barry always got caught from behind. He would have two 60 yard runs a game, resulting in FG's, and finish the game with 28 carries for 165 yards. Sounds great until you realize that means he had 26 carries for 48 cards earning 2 FG's and keeping the Lions punter busy.

I don't hate Barry, I just don't think he was "greatness". Verlander undoubtedly is.

MH20

October 12th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

I don't hate Barry

Sure doesn't sound like it.  It's a real bummer he never lived up to your expectations.

Emmitt Smith has championships and records, running behind some of the greatest offensive lines ever assembled.  And there is no way in hell he is a greater running back than Barry Sanders.  I know you never mentioned Emmitt but he's usually Exhibit A for "greatness" for a running back because he won titles.

I can't even fathom how many 2000 yard seasons Barry would have had running behind those Cowboy lines.  But I guess that's Barry's fault, too.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

October 12th, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^

Football is a game of emotion, and Barry never showed any. Not when we scored, not when we won and not when we lost.

This is not the same thing as "having no heart."  And hockey is a game of emotion too, yet Nick Lidstrom is the calmest, coolest cat on the ice and nobody has ever accused him of having no heart, nor should they.

-When the Lions needed 1 freaking yard what did they have to do to get it? They had to throw the ball to Herman Moore (who was awesome).

Barry can't help that he wasn't a sledgehammer.  Wasn't his style.  Besides, do you honestly think the Lions shit O-line could have moved the line of scrimmage enough to get any RB one yard?

-Barry had the most exciting and incredible one yard runs in history, after running 75 yards in the backfield. 

 

True.  Part of his legend.

-Barry always got caught from behind. He would have two 60 yard runs a game, resulting in FG's, and finish the game with 28 carries for 165 yards. Sounds great until you realize that means he had 26 carries for 48 cards earning 2 FG's and keeping the Lions punter busy.

Barry is still the only RB in NFL history to have two TD runs in a game of 80+ yards.

 

NoMoPincherBug

October 12th, 2012 at 12:55 AM ^

For most our lives, the Tigers have never had that Singularly Identifyable Star Starting Pitcher (SISSP) until now. 

Hal Newhouser was from ancient times...McClain flamed out under the weight of his own twisted hubris....Lolich had a fine career but only a few dominant seasons...Jack Morris was excellent and a symbol of 80s power with his mustache and attitude...although he had sustained long term success, he was never the best pitcher in the game at any point in his era, and he ended up with several other teams to finish up his career... the 90s and 00s...forget about it.

JV is the best Tigers starter ever.  The Tigers finally have their "Clemons".

Steve Lorenz

October 12th, 2012 at 11:06 AM ^

Politely disagree. An epic playoff performance was the only thing holding him back from taking that next step as his playoff numbers were meh coming into this season. 

He looks primed to carry them to the World Series, putting him in a class of the truly elite.

bklein09

October 12th, 2012 at 12:57 AM ^

But was it as good as Carpenter, Game 5 against the Phillies last year?

If the Tigers go on to win it all I say yes. Personally I'm hoping for another tigers-cardinals World Series. But first Wainwright has to take care of business against the Nattys tomorrow.

Brewers Yost

October 12th, 2012 at 9:16 AM ^

I am a Cards fan* but all my friends are Tigers fans. I would love to see them both in the series again.

*I'm not huge into baseball. So if the Tigers would have beat the Cards the last time they played I would have been happy for my friends. Same goes this time around.

 

Lionsfan

October 12th, 2012 at 1:11 AM ^

Sports fans in Michigan really are blessed. For all the attention that the cities like LA, Boston, Chicago, and Miami get, Detroit has held their own in every sport when it comes to transcendent players

StephenRKass

October 12th, 2012 at 1:45 AM ^

Detroit has held its own in baseball, hockey, and basketball.

Football, on the other hand, is the weak link for Detroit. Without a Super Bowl win, let alone a super bowl, it is hard to rank football in Detroit up there. Yes, Billy Sims and Barry Sanders were great running backs. But players bigger than the game (Yzerman, Isaiah Thomas, etc.) usually have some hardware to back it up.

Nonetheless, this is Verlander's night.

StephenRKass

October 12th, 2012 at 6:47 AM ^

I was aware of the 50's and the Lion's NFL championships.

However, if you look at the last 10, or 20, or 30, or 40, or 50 years, you have nothing in that span for the Lions.

Looking over the entire span of the Super Bowl, I would still submit the Lions as the weak link. And you don't need to count Stanley Cups or World Series older than 50 years, because both the Red Wings and Tigers have won more recently. If you want to do that, you might as way say the Cubs are relevant in MLB, because, you know, they've won World Series in the past as well. Come on.

FTR, I'm a Bears fan, but I don't bother counting Bears NFL championships or championship appearances. The Packers and Giants had lots of NFL championships, but weren't really relevant until they were part of the Super Bowl.

StephenRKass

October 12th, 2012 at 9:23 AM ^

All I'm trying to say is that any team whose most recent success is only remembered by retirees is living in the past.

If you're going to use the Big 10, Minnesota would be that kind of example . . . they won a lot in ancient history, but not in the last 50 years.

I lived in the Detroit area for 20 years back in the 70's and 80's. Even then, Bobby Lane was old history, and it is even more so now. Look, even though I'm a Bears fan, I'd be happy to see the Lions succeed, but looking back to NFL championships is mostly irrelevant.

Anyway, Verlander is a stud, and the reason that Detroit is doing so well.