Baseball is just around the corner. Here in Michigan, we may be in the middle of a deep freeze, but we can warm our hearts with thoughts of peanuts, Cracker Jack, and 3-hour 1-0 games. Without further ado, here’s a look at some facts that you may not have known about your 2015 Detroit Tigers:
Al Alburquerque: Not only is he the first player in major league history to have two Qs in his last name, he is the first to have two Qs anywhere in his name.
Alex Avila: A practicing Catholic, his godfather is former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda.
Wynton Bernard: He and his family appeared on the TV game show, Family Feud in 2011.
Miguel Cabrera: His favorite restaurant in his native Venezuela is Weekend Burger. As a little kid, his favorite stuffed animal was Winnie the Pooh.
Nick Castellanos: Hit .542 in his senior season at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, winning Gatorade Player of the Year honors.
Yoenis Cespedes: Both parents were fine athletes. His mother was a pitcher on the 2000 Cuban Olympic softball team, and his father was a catcher in the Cuban League.
Tyler Collins: A Dallas Cowboy fan (ughh…)
Rajai Davis: A 38th-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001 (he was the 1,134th player selected). If he could play with anybody in baseball history, who would it be? “Babe Ruth. I have to go with the Babe.”
Buck Farmer: Has a dog named Slider — a Cocker Spaniel and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix.
Daniel Fields: Attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School.
Tom Gorzelanny: Made headlines with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008 when his bobblehead appeared to show him flipping the bird.
Anthony Gose: Twice stole over 70 bases in the minor leagues. How does he explain his success on the basepaths? “The secret is to run fast,” he says.
Shane Greene: As a member of the Yankees, he lived in a hotel in New York City and took the subway daily to Yankee Stadium. His favorite food is his mom’s Mexican meat loaf. “It’s like a meat loaf with a bunch of peppers and cheese and like salsa and all kinds of stuff baked in it and on top of it.” Mmmm. Sounds yummy, Shane.
Blaine Hardy: Growing up in Washington, he often went to the Seattle Kingdome to see his favorite player, Ken Griffey, Jr.
Bryan Holaday: Majored in Marketing at Texas Christian University. He won the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top collegiate catcher in 2010.
Jose Iglesias: Began his professional career as a 16-year-old in the Cuban League. He defected two years later with his father’s blessing. As the story goes, while a member of a travelling Cuban team, he walked away from a team hotel during a tournament in Edmonton, found a police officer, and asked for asylum.
Ian Kinsler: His favorite baseball movie is Field of Dreams.
Ian Krol: Rooted for the Cubs while growing up in suburban Chicago. One of his biggest moments was finally pitching in Wrigley Field.
Kyle Lobstein: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays out of high school in 2008, but never played for them.
J.D. Martinez: His idol growing up was Miguel Cabrera.
Victor Martinez: His favorite movie is Stephen Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can.
James McCann: He played for the United States national baseball team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games, winning the silver medal.
Steven Moya: Was first scouted at age 14 by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Joe Nathan: Played shortstop in high school and college, but switched to pitching after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants.
Hernan Perez: Got his first major league hit off of former Reds’ pitcher Alfredo Simon, who is now a Tiger.
David Price: He and former teammate James Shields once had a contest to see who could fit the most pieces of gum in their mouths. They agreed to quit at 25. “I almost choked,” Price remembered. “It was terrible.”
Andrew Romine: His father Kevin played for the Boston Red Sox from 1985-91, and his brother Austin is a catcher with the Yankees. Through the 2014 season, the three have a combined major league batting average of .239.
Bruce Rondon: His dad was a huge Bruce Lee fan, and wanted to name his son Bruce Lee Rondon. “My mom didn’t want the ‘Lee,’ but she was fine with Bruce.”
Anibal Sanchez: Only the second Venezuelan in history to toss a no-hitter.
Alfredo Simon: What’s in a name? From 2001 through part of the 2004 season he pitched under the name Carlos Cabrera. He is also known as “Big Pasta.”
Chad Smith: Pitched for the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League in 2009-10.
Joakim Soria: If he wasn’t a professional baseball player, he says he probably would have been either a dentist or a math teacher.
Justin Verlander: He and Virgil Trucks are the only Tiger pitchers with multiple no-hitters.
Alex Wilson: He is only the second major leaguer born in Saudi Arabia (the first was the Padres’ Craig Stansberry).
Josh Zeid: Majored in English at Tulane University, with a minor in Political Science.