If you don’t already know, I love baseball, and more specifically, I love the Tigers. I have loved those boys since before they were in the race for the pennant in 2006, so don’t even think of calling me a bandwagon fan.
Magglio Ordonez joined the Detroit Tigers as number 30 back in 2005 after several seasons with the Chicago White Sox. After paying close attention to this very talented (and very attractive) Latino player, I decided he was my new Tiger. I appreciated his quiet confidence and loved his power at the plate. No no, I was not one of those women who fell for his long, curly hair.
In 2006, Magglio led the Tigers to the race for the pennant. Though we ended up landing the wild card spot instead of clinching the AL Central Division spot, we still made it. And oh baby did we really make it.
First we played the Yankees in a five-game series. After losing the first game, all critics thought that was it. There was no way the team who has not been to the playoffs since 1987 was going to beat the New York Yankees. Think again, oh yee of little faith!
The Tigers may have lost that first game, but they won the next three to win the ALDS. Then we met up with Oakland A’s in the ALCS. We won game one. We won game two. We won game three. Could we possibly sweep them in all four games?
It’s Saturday night, bottom of the ninth, game 4 against the A’s. The Tigers are tied up 3-3 when Craig Monroe and Placido Polanco hit back-to-back singles. Then Magglio Ordonez comes up to the plate. First pitch. Ball. Next pitch. He makes contact with it….it’s going…it’s going…IT’S GONE! HE HITS IT OUT OF THE PARK! THE TIGERS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES! WAHHHHHH!
I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I sang “We Are the Champions.” That is by far my favorite baseball memory.
Though the Tigers didn’t win the World Series that year, Magglio’s bat did not slow down in 2007. He was on fire that season and won the coveted Batting Title hitting a career high .363.
In his next three seasons, he still averaged above .300 and was still playing like a star. Unexpectedly the second half of the 2009 season, his bat slowed down a bit. I remember Fox Sports Detroit announcers Rod Allen and Mario Impemba mentioning Ordonez’s wife Dagly was being treated for cancer and was being treated in his home country of Venezuela, and I personally think that’s why his game started to diminish.
He played with the Tigers until 2011 where he ended up hitting in the mid .250s, but his contract was not renewed in 2012. But that is not the memory I’ll have of this great baseball player. I will forever remember his poise at the plate, his quiet celebration when he made contact with the ball, his support of his teammates. He was a great baseball player and made a phenomenal contribution to my beloved Tigers.
Today, June 3, 2012, he is officially retiring. Magglio, you are a great athlete and by far my favorite Tiger. Thank you for the unforgettable baseball memories and smiles you brought my friends, family, and me throughout the years.
Oh yeah, and go Tigers!