Monday, February 16, 2009

Instant Club Hit (You'll Dance to Anything)

Someone was talking about the Dead Milkmen today, which always leads us to ex-Tiger Jim Walewander. The quirky Walewander might have been forgotten if not for his professed love of the Dead Milkmen, which was even listed on his baseball card. Walewander's career amounted to 242 at-bats over parts of four seasons (he was primarily used as a pinch-runner or late-inning defensive sub). He batted .215 with 1 HR and 14 RBI in his career.

Here is part of the beauty of the Walewander story, though. As a rookie in 1987, he got the Dead Milkmen to visit Tiger Stadium and even meet Sparky Anderson in the dugout (photo). Then, Walewander went out and hit the only HR of his big league career. It came off Willie Fraser of the Angels on July 26. As they say, you can look it up.

Blue Jays' fans might remember Walewander for a different reason. Twice down the stretch in 1987, Walewander scored the winning run as a pinch-runner in extra innings against Toronto. The first time came on Sept. 27 when Walewander ran through a stop sign to score on Kirk Gibson's single and reduce Detroit's deficit to 2.5 games. It started a season-ending 7-game skid for the Jays and the Tigers won the division on the final day.

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