Overview: The Essential Games of the Detroit Tigers is a 4 DVD set featuring four historic games, as well as highlights from dozens of others.
Packaging: Each game comes on its own disc, in its own slim case. Front of each World Series game feature the Official Program Cover. The last Game at Tiger Stadium shows a nice view from Michigan and Trumbull. The back of each case features a brief synopsis of the game, as well as the starting line-ups. Each disc shows the inning by inning scoreboard. The slim cases all fit into a nice cardboard box.
The disc menus are nice—allowing you to play the entire game, or select the top or bottom of any inning.
The games are:
Disc 1: Detroit Tigers vs. St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Game 5 at Tiger Stadium, 10/7/68. This game is featured in black and white, as it was originally broadcast. Yes, the box says “Color”, and yes, I’ve seen color highlights, but we all know these ’68 World Series games were broadcast in black and white. Disc 1 also includes all of the bonus highlights, which I describe in detail below under “Extras”.
Disc 2: Detroit Tigers vs. St. Louis Padres, World Series Game 5 at Tiger Stadium, 10/14/84. This game featured the classic showdown between Goose Gossage and Kirk Gibson. This game features the NBC audio, as well as radio broadcast, featuring the great Ernie Harwell.
Disc 3: Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals, 9/27/99 at Tiger Stadium. This was the final game at Tiger Stadium. This DOESN’T feature the pre-game speeches or post-game festivities.
Disc 4: Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland A’s, ALCS Game 4, 10/12/2006. This game featured the Magglio Ordonez walk-off home run that sent Detroit to the World Series.
The video quality in this set is as you would expect—as good as the technology that existed at the time of the games. The 1968 game is in black and white, and the audio shows signs of being recorded in 1968. The 1984 game shows some degradation, but looks and sounds good. The 1999 and 2006 games look and sound like they were recorded yesterday.
In my opinion, A&E did a decent job selecting memories. I like the focus on post-season accomplishments, and likeable players (like Fidrych, Fryman, and Fielder) who didn’t wind up on a ’68, ’84, or ’06 team.
I would have really liked to see the complete 1987 pennant game vs. the Blue Jays. I might have enjoyed the Dave Rozema karate kick, or Jack Morris No-Hitter highlights.
Most of all, I would have liked more earlier memories. More of the ’67, ’68 and ’72 teams. Maybe some 1940’s and 1950’s. Definitely more Al Kaline.
The best part of this set might be the extra highlights. Disc 1 is loaded with highlights. Each is typically 2 to 5 minutes long.
They are (SPOILER ALERT):
1971 All Star Game at Tiger Stadium - Shows introduction of Tiger Players, Billy Martin, and famous home run by Reggie Jackson.
5/15/76 Mark Fidrych Complete Game against the Yankees at Tiger Stadium. They show an introduction, describing his antics. Shows Fidrych getting last out against Elrod Hendricks thanking teammates and umps, and taking three curtain calls.
10/5/84 ALCS Game 3 - Chet Lemon scoring on Marty Castillo groundout. Willie Hernandez against Daryl Motley for last out. Team celebrating. (Ernie Harwell broadcast)
10/12/84 World Series Game 3 –Willie Hernandez against Steve Garvey for last out. (Ernie Harwell broadcast)
10/13/84 World Series Game 4 – Alan Trammell’s two home runs. (Ernie Harwell and Vin Scully doing broadcast)
10/4/87 – Tigers vs. Blue Jays at Tiger Stadium. Shows Frank Tanana against Dane Iorg for last out. Team and fans celebrating.
10/10/87 – ALCS Game 3 - Tigers vs. Twins at Tiger Stadium. Shows Pat Sheridan hitting home run off of Jeff Reardon, with Jack Morris pinch running. Fans throwing stuff on the field. Mike Henneman striking out Kent Hrbek for the last out.
6/21/1988 – Tigers vs. Yankees at Tiger Stadium. Shows Alan Trammell hitting a grand slam walk-off. This is from the old PASS network (Larry Osterman and I believe Jim Northrup broadcast)
9/14/1991 – Tigers against Brewers at County Stadium – Cecil Fielder hits #41 out of the park. This was the year he hit 51 in the race against Canseco. This is from the old PASS network (Larry Osterman and I believe Jim Northrup broadcast)
7/27/1993 – Tigers vs. Yankees at Tiger Stadium. Travis Fryman hits for cycle –double, home run, single, and triple.
9/21/1995 – Tigers vs. Orioles at Tiger Stadium – Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker’s last game together at Tiger Stadium. Show them warming up, Whitaker walking (in last at bat) walking off the field together to ovations. Trammell ended up playing in 1996. Whitaker retired.
4/11/2000 – Comerica Opening Day – Ernie Harwell Master of Ceremonies speech, introduction of Tiger greats (including Al Kaline, George Kell, Willie Horton, Sparky Anderson). Lengthy Flag ceremony.
7/16/2004 – Tigers versus Yankees at Comerica Park – Maroth striking out Gary Sheffield for last out of his one-hitter. (Frank Beckman broadcast)
4/29/2006 – Tigers against Twins at Comerica – Tigers beat Twins 18-1. Home runs by Guillen, Granderson, Ordonez. (Mario Impemba and Rod Allen broadcast)
5/20/2006 – Curtis Granderson hits home run against Seattle at Comerica Park to join 20/20 club. I think the date on this is incorrect because he didn’t have 20/20 by May. (Either Rizz or Rathbun commentating--I don't know the difference. Whichever says “Goodbye Baseball”)
10/6/2006 – Tigers vs. Yankees at Comerica Park. ALCS Game 3. Kenny Rogers manhandling the Yankees.
10/7/2006 – Tigers vs. Yankees at Comerica Park. ALCS Game 4. Todd Jones getting the last out. Fans and players celebrating (including Leyland kissing a fan through the screen).
10/13/2006 – Tigers vs. A’s at Comerica Park. ALDS Game 3 – Craig Monroe Home Run, Todd Jones getting final out.
10/22/2006 – Tigers vs. Cardinals at Comerica Park. World Series Game 2 – Kenny Rogers pine tar. Craig Monroe home run off Jeff Weaver. Todd Jones getting last out.
6/12/2007 – Tigers vs. Brewers at Comerica Park. Jeff Verlander No-Hitter. They show about 21 of the 27 outs, including the Maglio sliding catch and the last out. They left out the really nice Neifi Perez play. (Mario Impemba and Rod Allen broadcast)
9/27/1999 –Tigers vs. Royals at Tiger Stadium. This is a short film that someone put together. It’s so-so.
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