In this edition of from the vault, go back to the early 2000s and take a look at third baseman Brandon Inge and his twelve years with the Detroit Tigers.
Way back in 1998, the Detroit Tigers selected Brandon Inge in the second round from Virginia Commonwealth University. Inge was no Hall of Famer or even a perennial all-star, but he played a specific role with the Tigers over the course of his tenure. He would play thirteen years in the big leagues from 2001-2013, twelve of which he spent with the Tigers.
On his career, Inge hit .233/.301/.384 with 152 home runs and 648 RBI with the Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, and Pittsburgh Pirates. Mainly, Inge was a fifteen-twenty home run and around seventy RBI hitter on average, with his defense being the focal point of his game. Inge earned an all-star nomination in 2009 after his offense saw quite the boost, tying a career-high twenty-seven home runs.
In terms of his defense, Inge was a swift third baseman with a clean glove. However, he did play a multitude of positions during his career, including catcher, outfield, second base, and third base. Inge carried a .962 fielding percentage at third base during the course of his career, with a total of seventy-seven total fielding runs saved. Fans who remember Inge will remember his fearlessness to jump into the crowd after foul balls, going all out to try and get the out.
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It may not be one of the fondest memories that Inge has from his career, but in 2009 he was involved in the Home Run Derby in St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Inge would record ten straight outs and not register a home run after he started the season on an absolute tear compared to his prior years.
At the time, Inge had the fourth-most home runs in the American League, but he was unable to put a ball out in Busch Stadium during the Home Run Derby. He was not the first player to not put a ball out with Jason Bay failing to do so in 2005, and he will most certainly not be the last.
The Tigers would lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2006 World Series as fans know, but Inge hit .353/.389/.471 in the series. He would only make the postseason one more time in 2011 with the Tigers who would ultimately fall to the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship.
Inge hit .429/.500/.571 in the divisional series against the New York Yankees. He would hit .267/.389/..467 in the championship series before the Rangers ended the Tigers season. He would be released by the Tigers during April of 2012 and be signed by the Athletics soon after where he finished out the 2012 season.
Inge was no Miguel Cabrera over at third base, but his defense was highlight-reel worthy, and the occasional pop helped him play a role with the Tigers. Looking back into the vault, Inge was one of the Tigers who was fun to watch in the early 2000s, who did not love the knee-high sock look?