Frank Daryl Tanana

Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 2022
Connection to Michigan: Detroit Catholic Central, Detroit Tigers
Primary position: Pitcher


Frank Tanana could have become a basketball star. He was so highly regarded on the hardwood at Detroit Catholic Central that Duke University offered a full scholarship. Drafted 13th overall by the California Angels in 1971, Tanana opted to pursue a professional baseball career instead. The results were outstanding.

Tanana formed a star tandem with Nolan Ryan at the front of the Angels’ rotation, earning selections to the 1976, 1977 and 1978 American League All-Star Teams. In 1975, at just 21 years old, he led the Major Leagues with 269 strikeouts. In 1976, he led the Majors with a 0.988 WHIP. And in 1977, at the ripe old age of 23, he led the Majors with seven shutouts and led the American League with a 2.54 ERA.

In 1981, Tanana was traded in a massive deal with Joe Rudi and Jim Dorsey to the Red Sox for Fred Lynn and Steve Renko. He pitched one season in Boston, then signed as a free agent with Texas, with whom he pitched in 1982, 1983, 1984 and the start of the 1985 season.

In June 1985, the Rangers swapped Frank Tanana to his hometown Detroit Tigers for a minor leaguer named Duane James. James never did make the Majors. Tanana, meanwhile, pitched in an even 250 games for the Tigers over the next eight years, winning double-digit games in seven of those seasons. His crowning moment came on the final day of the 1987 season, twirling a masterful six-hit 1-0 shutout against Toronto to clinch the American League East title.

In all, the man nicknamed “Tanana Daiquiri” pitched 21 seasons in the Major Leagues, winning 240 games and striking out 2,773 batters, one of the greatest left-handed strikeout artists of all time.

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