Magglio Ordonez’s re-emergence as a player coincided with the re-emergence of the 2006 Detroit Tigers, a club that struggled mightily for years before notching their first World Series appearance in over two decades.
Ordonez was a fine addition to the 2006 Tigers, especially for a player the Chicago White Sox basically gave up on after the 2004 season. In his final season with Chicago, Ordonez played only 52 games due to two knee operations, but there was more to the story besides his injuries.
He clashed with manager Ozzie Guillen, a former teammate and fellow Venezuelan, as well as the team for allowing White Sox medical personnel to examine his left knee. In December, the White Sox declined to offer arbitration to Ordonez, who was only 30 at the time and also a career .307 hitter with 187 homers.
The Tigers signed him as a free agent in 2005, but the bickering didn’t immediately stop between him and his former manager. The two sniped at each other early in the season, with Ordonez calling Guillen his “enemy“ and the manager telling his former player, “he better shut up and play”.
Only, Ordonez couldn’t play.
In late April, he underwent an operation to repair a sports hernia and didn’t come off the disabled list until July 1. He put up decent numbers the rest of the season, however, finishing with a .302 batting average, eight homers and 46 RBI in 82 games. Regardless of his finish, the Tigers still finished 20 games under .500.
In 2006 he played in his first full season in nearly three years and hit .298 with 24 homers and 104 RBI. He made the American League All-Star team for the fifth time and the Tigers qualified for the postseason for the first time in 19 years. In Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Oakland A’s, Ordonez blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Tigers a berth in the World Series.
Even though Detroit went on to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic, Ordonez used his postseason success as a springboard into an outstanding 2007 season.
Ordonez on the web
Detroit Tigers: Official page
Detroit Tigers page; contains short bio, career stats, and links to recent video highlights.
Roto world Ordonez player page
Roto world page; contains short bio, career stats, and updates on impact as a fantasy player.
YouTube: Ordonez videos
Link to amateur videos of Ordonez’s walk-off homer in 2006 ALCS posted on YouTube.
Flickr: Ordonez gallery
Still photos of Ordonez from just about every angle with an option for slide show.
Latest on Ordonez
In 2007, Ordonez was having an MVP calibre season, contending for the American League batting title with a chance to lead the league in RBI.
News and Commentary
Clinching HR was 'dream come true' for Ordonez
In a Q&A with the Detroit News, Ordonez says he promised his son he would hit a home run on his birthday. He did and it clinched the American League Championship Series against Oakland.
Fully healed, Ordonez flourishing for Tigers
Ordonez credits experimental knee surgery with his re-emergence as a star in an ESPN The Magazine profile.
On his lack of media attention compared with teammate Gary Sheffield
"They don't mess with me. They don't care. I'm not controversial enough."
On White Sox slugger Paul Konerko calling Ordonez the best player he ever played with
“It's an honor that one of the best players in the league says that kind of stuff about you. It's really nice of him, and I feel really proud.”
On hitting a walk-off home run in Game 4 of the ALCS
“Every kid dreams about that. Every kid dreams about hitting a home run to go to the World Series. It was a dream come true, and it was really nice.”