Mickey Tettleton, Top 100 Tigers
- Rank: 62
- Name: Mickey Lee Tettleton
- Position: Catcher, First Base, Outfield
- Tigers Tenure: 1991-1994
- Awards: Silver Slugger (1991 and 1992), All Star (1994)
- Best Season: 1991. Mickey Tettleton came over to the Tigers prior to the 1991 season in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles. The Tigers gave up Jeff Robinson, who was washed up, and got the slugging catcher in return. Tettleton hit 31 homers and drove in 89 runs in a powerful Detroit lineup. He also hit for a career high .263 average. While that .263 is less than impressive, it’s what he did along with it that made him such a valuable player. Tettleton also drew 101 walks (second in the American League) and posted an OBP of .387. His OPS+ of 140 still ranks third highest in Tigers history for a catcher (trailing only Bill Freehan).
- Good Stuff: Tettleton was basically the 1990s version of Adam Dunn, but at catcher. Tettleton never really hit for average (.241 career) and he struck out a ton (over 130 times three times with the Tigers). However, he hit for power and worked a lot of walks. During his three full seasons in Detroit (1994 was strike-shortened), Tettleton topped the 30 home run mark each time. From 1991-1993 he hit 95 home runs, the most by a catcher in all of baseball. In fact, second on that list was Darren Daulton who hit 32 fewer homers. Tettleton also drew 90 more walks than any other catcher during that time period.
- Bad Stuff: Tettleton was not a great defensive catcher. Also, like most catchers, he was very slow. His main weakness however, was the strikeouts. From 1991-1994 no catcher in baseball struck out more than Mickey. He struck out 505 times, leading all catchers by an astounding 180 K’s. However, all of the strikeouts were simply a product of how he played the game. He worked the count. He was patient at the plate. While working the count probably lead to a few long balls and countless walks, it also led to a few hundred strikeouts.
- Place In Tigers History: Tettleton ranks third on the Tigers homerun list for catchers, trailing only Lance Parrish and Bill Freehan. Perhaps most impressive of all (and most surprising to me), is where he ranks in all time on base percentage amongst his fellow Tigers. Of all Tigers batters since 1901, only 10 have a higher career OBP than Tettleton (min. 500 games). His career .387 marks puts him ahead of the likes of Magglio Ordonez, Al Kaline, and Bobby Veach.