1968 Detroit Tigers Triptych

1968 was, in so many ways, the year everything came together for the Detroit Tigers.
Individually, who in the modern era has even come close to matching the stunning 31 - 6 record of Denny McLain? It's no wonder that he was the recipient of both the Cy Young award as well as the MVP award that season. Even the 7 home runs hit by pitcher Earl Wilson as he continuously helped his own cause stands out, as most pitchers fill out an entire career without hitting even one home run the entire time.
As a team, the Tigers led the league in home runs, yet only Willie Horton hit more than 30. But the Tigers sent 8 men to the plate who each had 10 or more home runs, thus bringing a dimension of power consistent throughout their lineup that most teams could only hope for.

The Tigers of 1968 took over first place on May 10th, and never looked back the remainder of the long season. As 1968 was the last year before divisional play began, they went straight to the World Series, facing a menacing St. Louis Cardinals team that boasted having Bob Gibson, Nelson Briles, and Steve Carlton on the mound, and a lineup that included Roger Maris, Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, and Curt Flood. Four of these men have plaques in the Hall of Fame, and it remains that Roger Maris may one day join them. The Series went the full 7 games, and ended on a gutsy performance by young Mickey Lolich defeating the future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.

The Display

This display attempts to capture the feeling that the fans of the Tigers had toward their great team, and does so by featuring many of the artifacts that remain to this day lovingly cared for in the scrapbooks and even sock drawers of their fans, all in one location for the viewer's pleasure. Team issued items, Team material not made available to the fans, photographs, tickets, bumper stickers (how appropriate for the team from 'Motor City'), a pennant, and even an almost impossible to find glass sign from Stroh's beer have all been placed on stage here. There is so much material that it took 3 frames to properly display it all in the manner in which it deserves to be shown.

Beginning with the large center display, a full set of 1968 World Series tickets adorns the top row. As a tribute to the 1935 season, which was first year the Tigers ever won a World Series, the artist has included a small pin that reads simply, "Keep Winning You Tigers", which dates back to that glorious season of 1935. Coming lower in the frame one sees a full 1968 season schedule, which was intended to hang on one's wall. This is followed by the Stroh's sign alluded to earlier. A pair of large souvenir pins flank a "souvenir ticket" issued by Dodge Automobiles. A vibrant 1968 Tigers World Champions pennant then follows, and is in turn followed by the 1968 Tigers Media Guide, which sits above authentic press pins to the 1968 World Series from both the Tigers as well as the Cardinals. A rarely seen World Series pass to the Press Hospitality Room is located just below the pins. As one moves back to the left, a ticket to the Tigers Pennant Clinching game stands next to a photographic reprint of the Cardinals' Lou Brock being tagged out at home plate by Tigers catcher Bill Freehan. Freehan had captioned the original photo with the words, "He should have slid!" This play is regarded as one of the major turning points of the Series, which at one point was a 3 games to 1 rout in favor of the Cardinals. Two bumper stickers adorn the bottom of the display, many of which would have been seen on the backs of cars driving throughout the greater Detroit area in 1968. Finally, in the center of the display sits a 1968 Tigers team photo, signed by nearly the entire team. The 9 players and coaches who had pre-deceased the signing of the photo have their autographs displayed below the photo, in the form of signed unlined 3 x 5 cards. The JSA Letter of Authenticity for these signatures is enclosed in a pocket mounted to the back of the display. Lastly, all four corners of the display feature original patches of the famous "D" insignia of the Tigers.
Moving to the Left Side Display, one can see 2 different original 1968 World Series pins with ribbons attached, as well as both the Tigers as well as the Cardinals versions of the World Series Program, and in the center, an original press wire photo showing the celebration occurring in Detroit following the Tigers World Series victory.

In the Right Side Display, one sees a 1968 Tigers Yearbook as well as an original issue of Sports Illustrated showing Denny McLain being congratulated by teammate Al Kaline as the Tigers won the game that gave McLain his 30th victory. A pin bearing McLain's name, announcing the 1968 World Series as well as another Tigers pin are shown as well, along with an original press wire photo showing McLain en route to winning his 30th game against the Oakland A's. McLain would go on to defeat the NY Yankees to gain his 31st victory 5 days later.

I hope you enjoy viewing, displaying, and discussing the 1968 Tigers Display as much as I enjoyed creating it.

As for the sizes, the large centerpiece is 45" high x 65" wide. The Left and Right displays are each 43" high x 25" wide.






©2008 GOING GOING GONE SPORTS MEMORABILIA. Marlene Steiner & Neil Sherer. All rights reserved.