Alternate History: The 1985 Detroit Tigers by ChatGPT

My dabbling with ChatGPT so far has been centered on topics I know well enough to fact check or at least well enough to know something might be amiss — or amusingly wrong.

Let me present to you today’s installment of Adventures in ChatGPT, Detroit Tigers Edition.

My prompt was “Write a blog post about the Detroit Tigers from this date in 1985.” (I ran it through Baseball Reference’s life-saving player-linking tool for the first AI response.)

Settle in.

As we look back on this date in 1985, one of the hottest topics in the world of sports was the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers had just come off a strong season in 1984, winning the American League East with a record of 104-58, and advancing to the World Series. Although they lost the series to the San Diego Padres, the Tigers were poised to make another run at the title in 1985.

Led by manager Sparky Anderson, the Tigers boasted a lineup that included some of the game’s biggest stars. Outfielder Kirk Gibson was the reigning American League MVP, and was joined in the outfield by Chet Lemon and Larry Herndon. At first base was Darrell Evans, a veteran slugger who had hit 40 home runs the previous year. The infield was anchored by shortstop Alan Trammell and second baseman Lou Whitaker, who had formed a double-play combination since their rookie year in 1978. Lance Parrish, a six-time All-Star, was the starting catcher.

The Tigers’ pitching staff was equally impressive. Jack Morris, who had won 19 games in 1984, was the ace of the staff. Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox were also solid starters, and Willie Hernandez was a dominant closer who had won both the Cy Young and MVP awards in 1984.

As the 1985 season got underway, the Tigers looked like they were primed for another successful campaign. They got off to a strong start, winning their first five games and 12 of their first 15. They continued to play well throughout the first half of the season, and by the All-Star break, they had a record of 55-29 and held a commanding lead in the AL East.

The second half of the season was a bit more challenging for the Tigers. They suffered a few key injuries, including one to Gibson, and had to navigate through a tough stretch of games against some of the league’s top teams. Despite these challenges, the Tigers managed to hold on to their lead in the division, and clinched the AL East title on September 17th, with a record of 98-59.

The Tigers would go on to face the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series. The series went the distance, with the Tigers winning in seven games to advance to the World Series for the second consecutive year. In the World Series, they faced the St. Louis Cardinals, but were unable to repeat their success from the previous year, losing in seven games.

Despite falling short in the World Series, the 1985 Detroit Tigers were a dominant team that will be remembered as one of the best in franchise history. With a lineup full of All-Stars and a pitching staff that was equally impressive, the Tigers were a force to be reckoned with in the American League throughout the 1985 season. Even though they came up short in the end, the memories of that season still live on in the hearts of Tigers fans today.

My reply: “Ok, but that information is mostly about the 1984 season, not the 1985 season”

I apologize for the error in my previous response. As we look back on this date in 1985, the Detroit Tigers were in the midst of another strong season. Led by manager Sparky Anderson, the Tigers had a solid lineup that included outfielders Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, and Larry Herndon, first baseman Darrell Evans, and a double-play combination of shortstop Alan Trammell and second baseman Lou Whitaker.

The Tigers’ pitching staff was anchored by ace Jack Morris, who had already won 12 games by this point in the season. Dan Petry and Frank Tanana were also solid starters, and Willie Hernandez was still a dominant closer.

At the time of this writing in late March, the Tigers had a record of 2-1, having won their opening series against the Boston Red Sox. They were scheduled to play the Baltimore Orioles next, followed by a series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tigers would continue to play well throughout the season, finishing with a record of 84-77 and a second-place finish in the AL East. Although they missed the playoffs, the Tigers still had several standout performances during the season. Kirk Gibson had another strong year, hitting 29 home runs and stealing 29 bases, and Jack Morris finished the season with a record of 16-11 and an ERA of 3.33.

Despite not making the playoffs in 1985, the Tigers remained a competitive team throughout the rest of the 1980s, winning the AL East in 1987 and 1988 and making it to the World Series in 1984 and 1987. They would continue to be a prominent team in the American League for years to come.

Nope. The Tigers opened the season April 8 against Cleveland and ran their record to 6-0, and didn’t play Boston until June 17. But it was close in some areas: Gibson did have 29 homers in ’85, but stole 30 bases, not 29.

My next prompt: “Ok, but they did not make it to the World Series in 1987.”

I apologize for the error in my previous response. The Detroit Tigers did not make it to the World Series in 1987. They did, however, win the American League East that year with a record of 98-64, before losing in the ALCS to the Minnesota Twins in five games. The Tigers would go on to have several more successful seasons in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but did not make it back to the World Series until 2006.

Meh. The late ’80s were not great for the Tigers, especially 1989, and to say they had success in the early ’90s isn’t true either.

But what the hay, it’s still fun to futz with these AI tools and appreciate when they do get it right.