Former Tigers pitcher Woodie Fryman died on Friday, at the age of 70. Woodie is one of those players that I know only from baseball cards. He was, by and large, a non-descript journeyman of a pitcher.
Except for in 1972.
Fryman was a portly 32-year-old southpaw whose career appeared all but over. He had never won more than 12 games. He was 4-10 with a 4.36 ERA for a lousy Phillies team when purchased Aug. 2
All Fryman did was go 10-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 14 starts for the Tigers. He even won the division clincher on the next-to-last day of the season.
That, from a very nice Detroit Free Press article that remembers Fryman for being Doyle Alexander before Doyle Alexander was the guy that led the Tigers on an improbable stretch run to win the pennant in 1987. Fryman did it in '72.
He struggled for a few years, was traded, then struggled a few more, before turning to the bullpen to revitalize his career. He stayed in the majors until he was 43.
So RIP Woodie Fryman. For Tigers fans, we'll always have '72.