Between 1920 and 1950, the Detroit Tigers had a slew of successes: They claimed four pennants, won their first World Series in 1935, came back 10 year later to do it again and had a roster filled with some some of the greatest players, nearly all of the team's Hall-of-Famers. And that's why, William Anderson argues, those three decades were the glory years of the Detroit Tigers.

While some younger fans might scoff at the slight to the '60s or the '84 World Series win, the author of "The Glory Years of the Detroit Tigers 1920 - 1950," a massive trove of photographs and primary documents released in June from Wayne State University Press, has some history to back him up. Not only his professional background -- Anderson has written several books about the Tigers and was the founding director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries -- but his personal one: he just barely missed out on seeing the "glory years" in person, and he's been a fan for the last seven decades.

"I saw my first game at old Briggs stadium in the 1950s," Anderson said. "My passion for the Tigers just grew and grew and grew. My life has been filled with connection to baseball and the team."

Anderson combed through thousands of 4 x 5 inch negatives from the Detroit News archives.

"When I finished examining those negatives over and over, the chapters were already in my head," he said.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS)

Once a writer for Ludington's daily newspaper who often accompanied sports writers to Tigers games, Anderson was struck by the relationship between the players and the sports photographers. Without zoom lenses, the photographers got dangerously close to the action. Some shots show photogs interacting with players who willingly indulged their whims, like one where a group of players leap in unison over a pole.

"If you asked a player to do that today, they would think you were goofy, they'd think you were smoking something," Anderson said. "They'd say, 'you need to see my agent.' They won't jump over some stick."

Anderson also delved into the many, many newspapers clippings of the time, sketching out the team's characters through stories and images from the past. One of the things he was most happy to share was images that capture old Tiger Stadium (or Briggs, as it was called at the time).

"I'm able to take the reader on a vicarious trip through an old ballpark that is no more," he said.

While he remembers a "magic" to the old stadium, Anderson says he's still a passionate Tigers fan.

"The thread for all of us, even though baseball has changed dramatically, is the memories we have," he explained. His own remembrances span decades include everything from watching Justin Verlander's first no-hitter at Comerica Park sitting next to the grandson of the team's past owner, interviewing some of the players he saw in his first baseball game years later and hearing the "shot heard round the world" in 1951 on his bus driver's portable radio.

"I was so excited, I jumped all the way home," he said. "That memory is still as vivid as if I listened to it 15 minutes ago."

While "The Glory of the Detroit Tigers 1920-1950" is very much a historical account, it's colored by Anderson's longtime personal connection to the boys in blue and orange.

"In my case, I sometimes tend to live in the past because my education and background is history," Anderson said. "I'll be 74 in July, so I've had a life with baseball."

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  • Kirk Gibson's Walk-Off Home Run

    A dramatic home run by Detroit Tigers' Kirk Gibson against San Diego Padres' pitcher Goose Gossage in the 1984 World Series. Tiger's manager Sparky Anderson can be overheard yelling and laughing, "You don't want to walk him!" (YouTube: CourtsideTweets)

  • Ty Cobb's Detroit

    When Ty Cobb retired following the 1928 season and after 24 years of major league baseball experience, he left holding more records than anyone in baseball history then and since. A number of his personal records have since been surpassed, but his lifetime batting average of .366 is locked down forever. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Reindeer Games

    Bobby Veach is sitting on a reindeer in a lighter moment during spring training in Macon, Georgia, Detroit's second spring training site during this era. Veach could hit, compiling a .311 batting average over his 12 seasons with Detroit. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • That Moon Up There

    Teams started playing night games in 1935, but not the TIgers. "When I played ball I played in the sunshine and I can't reconcile that moon up there with a game of baseball," said owner Walter O. Briggs. "Night ball seems to me like another game." But they finally followed suit with the first late home game on June 15, 1948. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press. <em>CORRECTION: A previous version of the above text stated major league baseball teams started playing night games in 1939, when it is in fact 1935. The Tigers played their first night game, an away game, in 1939.</em>

  • Boys Of Summer

    Film of the 1968 Tigers winning the American League pennant, paving their way for a victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. (YouTube: sharkstv)

  • Wave The White Flag

    Bobo Newsom signals that the Tigers surrender. In the second game of a doubleheader on August, 19, 1941, the Yankees shelled the home team 8-3. Newsom, known for his sense of humor and lack of restraint, show the white flag to the enemy. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Bless You Boys

    A hilarious promo video from 1984, the last time the Tiger's won the World Series. "Bless You Boys" was a popular slogan and song during that year. The clip features some fun 80's cameos by Boy George and Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. fame. (Youtube: ps2dude13)

  • The American Way

    An Independence Day doubleheader attracted a full house of 57,633 on July 4, 1940, with many standing throughout both games. Detroit beat the Indians in the first game and lost in the second. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • What's The Frequency, Tyson?

    Ty Tyson made Detroit Tiger History on April 19, 1927 when he broadcast the first Tiger game over radio station WWJ. His broadcast introduction became household words as remote fans heard him say: "Hello boys and girls, this is Ty Tyson coming to you from Navin Field," over and over again. Tyson is shown at the microphone for a game on August 26, 1935. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World

    Mostly men and some women buying tickets, which cost $1.50, on Sept. 20, 1944. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Soul Decision

    Marvin Gaye opens up game four of of the 1968 World Series with his rendition of the national anthem. (Youtube: ricksuchow)

  • The In-Crowd

    A crowd gathers for a 1945 World Series game at Briggs Stadium along Trumbull Avenue. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Last Salute

    Hank Greenberg is congratulated after hitting a home run in his last game before joining the army, May 6, 1941. Greeting Greenberg, left to right: Schoolboy Rowe, Hal Newhouser, Al Benton, Bing Miller and Dick Bartell. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Way Up High

    Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Run This Town

    Ticket office staff on Sept. 24, 1940. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • This Magic Moment

    Winning pitcher Tommy Bridges hugs catcher Birdie Tebbetts after striking out Frank McCormick for the final out in game 3 of the 1940 World Series, October 4. Buck Newsom told Bridges: "You took care of 'em today: the rest of us will take care of 'em from now on." Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Smile!

    Starting pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series, Bobo Newsom, greets Spike Briggs and his wife, Laura, while Schoolboy Rowe takes a picture, October 8, 1940. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Celebration

    A classic film clip of the 1935 Tigers' World Series win. That year Detroit's team was victorious against the Chicago Cubs. (Youtube: adguy6)

  • Bruising Play

    In a costly out, Hank Greenberg, the slider, tried to score from first on Pet Fox's single to right but was tagged out by Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett in the seventh inning of game 2, October 3, 1935. X-rays later showed that the American League's Most Valuable Player had broken a bone in his wrist. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Most Valuable Player

    Goose Goslin had a wonderful relationship with fans and he accommodated their desire for his attention. Two young sisters wrote a letter to <em>Detroit Times</em> baseball writer Bud Shaver sending money for a present for Goslin after it was learned he would be leaving the Tigers after the 1937 season. Shaver replied with a quote from Goslin: "When kids cheer for you they mean it and you know it. They don't change. They aren't like some grown-ups who pat you on the back and book you the same day. That's why I love kids and not many grown-ups." Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • GO GET 'UM

    This clip features a Detroit Tigers theme song from 1968, when the Tigers' beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. The video also features images of old TIgers' logos, playing fields and championship teams. (Youtube: kvnvan)

  • King Of The Open Road

    Charlie Gehringer is presented with the keys to a new automobile, a gift from a cereal company for winning a popularity contest as the best second baseman in the major leagues, August 17, 1938. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Everything about Charlie Gehringer was smooth, and because his fielding seemed so automatic they called him the "Mechanical Man," a moniker Gehringer didn't like because it implied that fielding for him was effortless; he knew different. Photos from the <em>Detroit News</em> archives, use and captions courtesy of Wayne State University Press.

  • Glory Days

    Some classic film from the 1945 World Series featuring the Detroit Tigers vs. the Chicago Cubs.

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