1981 Detroit Tigers season

1981 Detroit Tigers
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) John Fetzer
General manager(s) Jim Campbell
Manager(s) Sparky Anderson
Local television WDIV-TV
(George Kell, Al Kaline)
(Larry Adderley, Hank Aguirre, Norm Cash)
Local radio WJR
(Ernie Harwell, Paul Carey)
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The 1981 Detroit Tigers finished in fourth place in the American League East with a record of 31-26 (.544) in the first half of the season, and in third place with a record of 29-23 (.558) in the second half, for an overall record of 60-49. They outscored their opponents 427 to 404. The Tigers drew 1,149,144 fans to Tiger Stadium in 1981, ranking 5th of the 14 teams in the American League.


Regular season

Season standings

AL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Milwaukee Brewers 6247 0.569 28–21 34–26
Baltimore Orioles 5946 0.562 1 33–22 26–24
New York Yankees 5948 0.551 2 32–19 27–29
Detroit Tigers 6049 0.550 2 32–23 28–26
Boston Red Sox 5949 0.546 30–23 29–26
Cleveland Indians 5251 0.505 7 25–29 27–22
Toronto Blue Jays 3769 0.349 23½ 17–36 20–33
AL East
First Half Standings
W L Pct.
New York Yankees3422.607
Baltimore Orioles3123.574
Milwaukee Brewers3125.554
Detroit Tigers3126.544
Boston Red Sox3026.536
Cleveland Indians2624.520
Toronto Blue Jays1642.276
AL East
Second Half Standings
W L Pct.
Milwaukee Brewers3122.585
Boston Red Sox2923.558
Detroit Tigers2923.558
Baltimore Orioles2823.549
Cleveland Indians2627.491
New York Yankees2526.490
Toronto Blue Jays2127.438

Record vs. opponents

1981 American League Records

Baltimore 2–26–63–64–26–75–32–46–07–67–54–22–15–2
Boston 2–22–45–47–66–13–36–72–53–37–59–33–64–0
California 6–64–26–77–53–30–64–33–32–22–86–42–46–6
Chicago 6–34–57–62–53–32–04–12–45–77–63–32–47–5
Cleveland 2–46–75–75–21–54–43–62–17–53–28–42–24–2
Detroit 7–61–63–33–35–13–25–89–33–71–25–19–36–4
Kansas City 3–53–36–00–24–42–34–59–42–103–36–73–45–3
Milwaukee 4–27–63–41–46–38–55–49–33–34–22–24–56–4
Minnesota 0–65–23–34–21–23–94–93–93–32–83–6–15–85–1
New York 6–73–32–27–55–77–310–23–33–34–32–35–42–3
Oakland 5–75–78–26–72–32–13–32–48–23–46–14–210–2
Seattle 2–43–94–63–34–81–57–62–26–3–13–21–65–83–3
Texas 1–26–34–24–22–23–94–35–48–54–52–48–56–2
Toronto 2–50–46–65–72–44–63–54–61–53–22–103–32–6

Notable transactions


1981 Detroit Tigers roster
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters



Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CLance Parrish9634885.2441046
1BRichie Hebner7822651.226528
2BLou Whitaker10933588.263536
3BTom Brookens7123958.243425
SSAlan Trammell105392101.258231
LFSteve Kemp105372103.277949
CFAl Cowens8525366.261118
RFKirk Gibson8329095.328940
DHJohn Wockenfuss7017237.215925

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Rick Peters6320753.256015
Lynn Jones7117445.259219
Champ Summers6416542.255321
Ron Jackson319527.284112
Stan Papi409319.204312
Rick Leach548316.193111
Mick Kelleher617717.22106
Darrell Brown1641.25000
Duffy Dyer200----00

Note: pitchers' batting statistics not included


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Jack Morris251981473.0597
Milt Wilcox24166.11293.0379
Dan Petry231411093.0079
Dan Schatzeder1771.1686.0620
Jerry Ujdur414006.435

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Dave Rozema28104553.6346
Howard Bailey936.2147.3617
George Cappuzzello1833.2113.4819

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W= Wins; L= Losses; SV = Saves; GF = Games finished; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Kevin Saucier384213231.6523
Dave Tobik2722192.6932
Aurelio López29523193.6453
Dennis Kinney600009.823

Awards and honors

1981 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

League top ten finishers

Kirk Gibson

  • #3 in AL in batting average (.328)
  • #4 in AL in Power/Speed Number (11.8)

Steve Kemp

  • #4 in AL in on-base percentage (.389)
  • #3 in AL in bases on balls (70)
  • #3 in AL in times on base (174)

Jack Morris

  • MLB leader in wins (14) (tied with four others)
  • MLB leader in bases on balls allowed (78)
  • #2 in MLB in innings pitched (198)
  • #2 in MLB in games started (25)
  • #3 in AL in hits allowed per 9 innings pitched (6.95)
  • #3 in MLB in complete games (15)
  • #3 in MLB in batters faced (798)
  • #6 in AL in home runs allowed (14)
  • #9 in AL in earned runs allowed (67)

Lance Parrish

  • #3 in AL in times grounded into double plays (16)

Kevin Saucier

  • #5 in AL in saves (13)

Alan Trammell

  • AL leader in sacrifice hits (16)

Lou Whitaker

  • AL leader in games played (109)
  • AL leader in games at second base (108)
  • AL leader in innings at second base (918-1/3)
  • AL leader in assists by a second baseman (354)

Milt Wilcox

  • #5 in AL in games started (24)
  • #5 in AL in hit batsmen (6)

Players ranking among top 100 all time at position

The following members of the 1981 Detroit Tigers are among the Top 100 of all time at their position, as ranked by The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract:

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Evansville Triplets American Association Jim Leyland
AA Birmingham Barons Southern League Roy Majtyka
A Lakeland Tigers Florida State League Ted Brazell
A Macon Peaches South Atlantic League Tom Kotchman
Rookie Bristol Tigers Appalachian League Joe Lewis


  1. Dennis Kinney at Baseball Reference
  2. Mike Sharperson at Baseball Reference
  3. Jim Lentine at Baseball Reference
  4. Chris Codiroli at Baseball Reference
  5. Chuck Hensley at Baseball Reference
  6. Ron Jackson at Baseball Reference


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