In 1982, two years before the magic, the Tigers went north from spring training with two new outfielders. Neither of the outfielders was a product of the farm system, they were both outsiders. They each had something to prove with their new team.
Fans didn’t know what to expect when they saw the names of Larry Herndon and Chet Lemon in a Tiger lineup for the first time in ’82. Initially, Sparky Anderson used Lemon as a leadoff hitter and played him in right field. Center field belonged to young Kirk Gibson, the muscle-bound thoroughbred from Michigan State. Herndon hit fifth and played left field.
Sparky got that figured out, he realized Chester Earl Lemon was perfectly equipped to run down fly balls in the wide expanse of center field at Tiger Stadium. Herndon’s bat earned him the #3 spot in the Detroit lineup, and in his first two seasons as a member of the team, quiet Larry was arguably the best offensive player on the club.