Former Detroit Tiger Second Baseman, Dick McAuliffe

A hard-nosed mainstay in the Tigers’ middle infield throughout the 1960s, the three-time All-Star was nicknamed “Mad Dog” after charging the mound in 1968 to fight White Sox left-hander Tommy John. In that 1968 championship season, the Tigers’ leadoff hitter led the league in runs (95) and tied a major league record by going the entire year without hitting into a double play. His wide-open batting stance was unorthodox — leaning back in the box with the front foot “in the bucket” and the bat cocked at his head. McAuliffe also had unusual power and finished among Detroit’s all-time top 10 in five offensive categories.

After playing 14 years with the Tigers (1960-73), McAuliffe was traded to Boston, where he finished his career over two seasons. He then ran baseball schools in his native Connecticut before operating a coin-operated laundry machine business. He retired at age 45. Today: At 67, he likes to golf and participates in pro-ams and charities.

On his skirmish with Tommy John in 1968: “Tommy John was a sinker-slider, low-ball pitcher... he threw two right at my head. On 3-and-2, I was looking for a good pitch to hit, but he threw a ball over my head to the backstop. I wasn’t going to charge the mound, but I dusted myself off and glanced at him when I was trotting to first. When he took two steps in to get a new ball, he said, ‘What are you looking at?’ with a four-letter word. All I saw were stars, and I ran out to the mound. As I charged, he lowered himself into me and broke his collarbone.”

On winning the 1968 World Series: “We knew we should have won in ‘67. We lost the pennant on the
last day, but we were determined to win it all the next year. ... I loved (Tigers manager) Mayo Smith. He
had a great personality and guys liked him, but he wasn’t the best manager in the world. I had the most
fun in baseball in ‘68 because the guys all clicked on and off the field. Everybody played as a team. It
was wonderful.” 

On his trade to Boston after the 1973 season: “Towards the end of the season I had it out with Jim Campbell and told him, ‘You guys never treated me fair financially.’ I was halfway down the payroll, and there were guys making more money who hadn’t been there as long as I had. I knew I didn’t have too much left, but I wanted to get a little bit of a reward. He said, ‘No, that’s not our policy.’ I told Campbell I wouldn’t be back next year. I wanted to finish my career in Detroit and would have if Campbell had come through. He later called me and asked if I wanted to go to Boston, which was closer to my home, and I said fine. I just wish I had finished my career with the Tigers.”

On baseball today: “I think there are too many teams with watered-down talent, some of whom should be playing in Double-A or Triple-A. The infield play is fine, but the outfield stinks. They don’t even know how to catch the ball and get rid of it to make a play at the plate. 

I follow the game a little more now that the Tigers are successful again. I think they’re going to be a contender for several years.” -Bill Dow

Dick McAuliffe Trivia

Nicknamed Dirty Socks by Bob McCarty after constantly seeing McAuliffe with a dirty uniform before the first inning was over.

He finished in the American League Top 10 eight times for triples. 


Metro Time Line

» September 19, 1960: Chicago's pennant hopes are damaged with a nitecap 7–6 loss to the Tigers, after they win the opener, 8–4. Pinch hitter Norm Cash scores the decisive run in game 2. Cash thus ends his year by grounding into no double plays, the 1st ALer since league records on this were started in 1940. Teammate Dick McAuliffe and Roger Repoz will duplicate this in 1968. 

» May 24, 1962: The Tigers score their first four runs on homers, then score the winner on a passed ball in the 11th to beat the Orioles, 5–4. Charlie Lau misses a Hoyt Wilhelm knuckler to allow Dick McAuliffe to score. Jim Bunning pitches the first nine innings for Detroit and is accused by O's manager Billy Hitchcock of notching the ball with his belt buckle. 

» August 20, 1965: Detroit All-Star SS Dick McAuliffe is lost for the season with a broken bone in his left hand suffered diving into 1B, as the 3rd-place Tigers sweep a doubleheader at Boston. The Tigers win, 2–0 and 3–2. 

» March 13, 1969: In addition to this year's lower mound and tightened strike zone, the majors try an experiment ball with 10% more resiliency for a spring training game between the Mets and Tigers in Lakeland. It has an all-rubber center instead of a cork and rubber core, and the seams are higher than the regular ball. The Mets' Don Cardwell surrenders three homers in the 4th to Dick McAuliffe, Norm Cash, and Gates Brown in the Tigers' 7-4 win. Tomorrow, in Phoenix, the same ball is used in the Giants 13–1 win over the Angels, with Bobby Bonds hitting the only two homers (off George Brunet). The players agree the ball is definitely livelier and sounded louder coming off the bat. 

» September 16, 1972: Joe Coleman wins his 17th game and Dick McAuliffe clouts two home runs and drives in four to lead Detroit to a 6–2 win in Milwaukee. This is Detroit's 5th win in a row and keeps them a percentage point behind Boston. 

» October 23, 1973: The Tigers trade 2B Dick McAuliffe to the Red Sox for OF Ben Oglivie. 

» September 29, 1997: The Pirates trip the playoff-bound Astros, 5–4 in 11 innings. Jose Guillen is the star, hitting a home run, driving in three and scoring the winning run. Craig Biggio, playing in his National League-best 381st straight game, is lifted for a pinch runner in the 4th. He ends the season of 162 games without grounding into a DP, tying Dick McAuliffe's major-league record set in 1968. 


I Remember  When....
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