The passing of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Willie Hernández at the age of 69 has left the team and the baseball community in mourning. In his standout 1984 season, Hernández won both the American League MVP and Cy Young Awards, marking the beginning of a run of three consecutive All-Star appearances. Serving as the Tigers’ closer that season, he appeared in 80 games, notching 32 saves and a career-high 112 strikeouts in 140.1 innings. Hernández also achieved a career-best 1.92 earned-run average and finished 68 games.
Hernández played a key role in helping the Tigers win their first World Series title in 1984, earning him recognition with MVP and Cy Young honors. The Tigers expressed their deep sadness over Hernández’s passing in a statement, highlighting his integral role in their championship victory and his many accolades throughout his career. Alan Trammell, Hernandez’s former teammate, remembered him fondly as a great teammate and expressed his sorrow over the news of his passing.
Hernandez began his Major League Baseball (MLB) career with six seasons on the Chicago Cubs before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He joined the Tigers in 1984 and finished his career with them in 1989 at age 34. Throughout his MLB career, Hernandez was known for his impressive pitching skills and ability to close out games effectively. He is one of just three relievers in MLB history to win both the MVP and Cy Young Awards in the same season, earning him a place among baseball’s greatest players of all time.
As this story continues to develop, updates will be provided as they become available to pay tribute to Willie Hernandez’s legacy on and off the field as well as reflect on how much he meant to those around him during his time with Detroit Tigers organization and beyond..