The big story of the September 4, 1978 game between the Yankees and the Tigers was all about the Yankees and their attempt to chase down the Red Sox in the AL East. They had shaved nine games off their 14 game deficit from mid-July, but they were still five back with 27 games to go.
Meanwhile, the Tigers were still mathematically in it, but considering that they went into the day 11 games back and behind four teams, it would’ve taken a miracle for them. The biggest story of the day from their standpoint probably would’ve been the major league debut of Dave Stegman.
Two years earlier, Stegman was selected second overall by the Tigers in the 1976 MLB Draft. The University of Arizona product was put right in Double-A after signing. He didn’t light the league up in that first season in the Detroit system, but in 1977, he started to put up numbers worthy of his high selection. An 1.108 OPS saw him get moved up to Triple-A, where he would start the next year. After a solid season there, the Tigers made him a September call up when the rosters expanded in 1978.
Stegman was placed in the seventh spot in the lineup and got the start at right field on September 4th. The Tigers…