A few years ago the Detroit Tigers pushed a catchy slogan of “Who’s your Tiger?”
In other words who do you pay close attention to? Who do you root for? Who do you admire?
Put me down for left fielder Akil Baddoo, who should be taking the town by storm during this brief baseball season. Yes, the sample size is small but this former Rule 5 draft pick from the Minnesota Twins organization is making history in a Tigers uniform during his 15 minutes of fame.
Baddoo became just the ninth Tiger to hit a home run in his first Major League bat. And he did it on the first pitch to boot. He hit a grand slam the next day against Cleveland, although it was meaningless and simply tightened up a 15-1 drubbing at the time.
But it was cute seeing him do it before his loving parents at Comerica Park who cheered his every at bat.
Yeah, that is cute but what is he like in the clutch? Baddoo answered that question with a walk off single against Twins closer Hansel Gobles earlier this week.
This came from a guy that the Twins planned to stock pile in their farm system. But the rule 5 draft prevents teams from doing that when they can play in the Majors with another team.
He’s played for such power houses as the Cedar Rapids Kernals and the Fort Myers Miracles. You remember World Series runs by those two clubs, don’t you?
He only played 29 games for the Miracles in 2019 before his season ended because of Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. The Twins exposed Baddoo in the Rule 5 draft and the Tigers snapped him up with the third pick.
What the Tigers saw in him, I don’t know. He did hit .290 with the Miracles with four home runs and nine RBIs. But the scouts did their job and now he is a Tiger.
Yes, the sample size is small. Now you must hope Baddoo is not the next Chris Shelton. In 2006 “Red Pop” smashed nine home runs in his first 13 games. Shelton was a Rule 5 pick up who was drafted in the 33rd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Many of us thought another Al Kaline was in the making. However, he fizzled and the Tigers traded him to the Texas Rangers after one season in part because Shelton lost a battle with Marcus Thames for the final roster spot during spring training in 2007.
Hopefully this run continues and the spattering of Tigers fans allowed in Comerica Park can begin screaming in Fred Flintstone manner “Yabba Dabba Baddoo!”
We shall see.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: