06/27/2004 6:46 PM ET
'Bless You Boys' honored
Championship team members reunite
By Kyle Jepson / Special to MLB.com
|With Sparky Anderson (left) at the helm, Alan Trammell and the 1984 Detroit Tigers streaked to a record 35-5 start and never looked back. (Rick Fowler/AP)
Former Tigers closer Willie Hernandez dreamt about winning a World Series as a child and would watch the games on TV. And being back together with the rest of his 1984 Tigers teammates, he felt like a baby.
"It gave me goose bumps," he said of Sunday's pregame ceremony honoring the Tigers' last World Series championship team. "Sharing time with my teammates, I felt like I was in uniform. And remembering those great memories, I want to do it again. If I had to come back next month, I would do it, because we have to live those kind of memories."
For the first time in 20 years, the Bless You Boys were honored in front of fans in a celebration marked with ex-players and memories of old.
The festivities began with Tigers Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell indulging fans with stories of the '84 season. Mentioned was everything from Jack Morris' no-hitter in Week 1 to Kirk Gibson's home run off Goose Gossage in the final game of the World Series.
Other speakers included former player Darrell Evans, manager Alan Trammell and president/general manager Dave Dombrowski. In his speech, Dombrowski alluded to both those players he felt deserving of a Hall of Fame bid as well as the future of the Tigers organization.
"The star power of this club, to me, hasn't been recognized to this day," he said. "Not only was it a team that had a Hall of Fame manager in Sparky [Anderson], but the baseball world should recognize the Hall of Fame players that were on this team -- people like Alan Trammell, Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Jack Morris.
"This was one of the greatest clubs put together in recent time. And for all of us that are a part of this organization at this time, it's a true goal to reach what these guys achieved. And we're going to put our best foot forward to follow this club day in and day out."
After the celebration, Hernandez said just being on the field was enough to bring back floods of memories from the '84 season.
"I remember when we clinched against the Brewers," he said. "And I remember when we beat Kansas City and San Diego. That was one of the greater memories of my life, because I saved the game against the Brewers to clinch (the division), and I was pitching during the last inning against Kansas City and San Diego.
"(After the game,) I remember going into the clubhouse and opening the bottles of champagne. Everyone was celebrating, and I was partying for the next three weeks after that. Everything was a celebration after that."
For some, though, the celebration was short-lived. Trammell, Parrish and Kirk Gibson all had to quickly resume their coaching duties after the ceremony.
"I'd love to spend a lot more time," Trammell said. "It's kind of unique, though, for us. We have three guys on our staff that are having a reunion. So, instead of being together the whole way, it's broken up. I'd love to be part of those festivities, which I will be, and we will be. But again, we still have a job to do today."
While many of his former teammates' minds were on living that championship season again, the ceremony reminded Trammell how much he would love to build another championship club.
"That was a special year from day one," Trammell said. "And you can be assured that for me, wearing this Old English 'D', which I wear with great pride, that we're trying to build a championship team here. We're making some strides. We have a little ways to go, but I think it's night and day from last year that we're on the right track to bringing another championship here to Detroit."
Kyle Jepson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.