Motor City Champs

Mickey Cochrane and the 1934–1935 Detroit Tigers

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SKU: 9781476666594 Categories: ,

About the Book

In the early 1930s, the Motor City was sputtering from the Great Depression. Then came a talented Detroit Tigers team, steered by player-manager Mickey Cochrane, to inject new pride into the Detroit psyche. It was a cast of colorful characters, with such nicknames as Schoolboy, Goose, Hammerin’ Hank and Little Tommy. Over two seasons in 1934 and 1935, the team powered its way to the top of the baseball world, becoming a symbol of a resurgent metropolis and winning the first-ever Tigers championship. This exhaustively researched account provides an in-depth look into a remarkable period in baseball history.

About the Author(s)

Scott Ferkovich, a member of SABR, writes about the national pastime from his home near Detroit.

Bibliographic Details

Scott Ferkovich
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6659-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2950-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

A Note on Statistics and Quotations 5

One. “Detroit is not my lucky town” 7

Two. City on the Strait 19

Three. “The tumult and the shouting start” 30

Four. One Hot Goose 43

Five. “Get that fellow out of my sight in a hurry” 51

Six. “They’ll never see another game like it” 62

Seven. Winning Streak 71

Eight. Schoolboy and the History Books 81

Nine. “A phenomena, bordering on the miraculous” 92

Ten. Heartbreak and Garbage 103

Eleven. “You can’t keep a gang like that down” 129

Twelve. Hammerin’ Hank Sets the Pace 146

Thirteen. “Pulling game after game out of the fire” 162

Fourteen. The Cubs Blow In 174

Fifteen. “The most obscene language I ever had to take from anybody” 183

Sixteen. “This mad, delirious city” 194

Epilogue 206

Chapter Notes 215

Bibliography 227

Index 229

Book Reviews & Awards

• “This book serves as an excellent introduction to the business and financial aspects of professional baseball teams in the 1930s, offering examples from several franchises to illustrate the constraints placed on teams as a result of the Depression…. An engaging and informative read…. recommended”—Choice

• “Ferkovich mixes game recaps with background and current event information masterfully…. [He] also captures the degree to which the Tigers’ Series win was an important, uplifting triumph for the entire city of Detroit. A satisfying tale well told.”—Spitball

• “Few teams in baseball history offer as rousing a story and as colorful a cast of characters as the 1934-35 Detroit Tigers, and Scott Ferkovich brings them alive as if he’d watched it all himself from the Navin Field bleachers. Don’t miss Motor City Champs!”—Mike Shannon, Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine

• “With his usual precision, Scott Ferkovich captures a great player and a significant team with writing that is abundant in clarity and grace. Any lover of baseball history will greatly enjoy, learn, and benefit from Motor City Champs.”—Stew Thornley, author of Land of the Giants: New York’s Polo Grounds

• “In the mid-1930s, during the dark days of the Great Depression, Mickey Cochrane and his colorful Tigers thrilled the baseball world and gave hope to a struggling city. Author Scott Ferkovich re-creates the time and team in Motor City Champs, a fitting celebration to a lost era. Tigers fans will love it.”—Tom Stanton, author of Terror in the City of Champions and Ty and The Babe

• “This is one to savor. You will learn a lot about Cochrane, about the Tigers, about Detroit—and about the grand ol’ game we all love. Quality work, Scott.”—Tom Gage, J.G. Taylor Spink Award recipient; “Relying on mounds of primary source material, Ferkovich sets his story against the backdrop of a city ravaged by the Great Depression and shows how the Tigers provided needed hope during one of the bleakest times in American history.”—Bruce Markusen, Seymour Medal-winning historian

• “The 1934–35 Tigers have for decades been an underappreciated part of Detroit’s sports history, taking a back seat to the 1945, 1968, and 1984 world championship teams. No longer: Scott Ferkovich gives these two pennant winners the serious treatment they deserve.”—Gary Gillette, co-editor of Detroit Tigers 1984: What a Start! What a Finish!

• “The G-Men – Gehringer, Goslin and Greenberg—circle the bases again in Scott Ferkovich’s vivid retelling of that glorious era when Detroit became a city of champions.”—Tim Wendel, author of Castro’s Curveball and Summer of ‘68

• “Rejoice! Scott Ferkovich has painted us a lovely portrait of the Tigers of the Great Depression!”—Charles Leerhsen, author of Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty

• “Scott Ferkovich has given us a beautifully-written tale of the Depression-era champion Tigers that’s an ode not only to Detroit but to the national spirit. No one will put this book down without a newfound abiding respect for Black Mike and the G-Men, and what they accomplished to lift spirits in the tenor of those times.”—Bob McGee, author, The Greatest Ballpark Ever: Ebbets Field and the Story of the Brooklyn Dodgers