For Tettleton, family takes priority over Fall Classic
Former Tiger has attention on Ohio, not Michigan, for son's college football game
Mickey Tettleton had mixed emotions going into the playoffs this year. And not just because each of the teams he played for during his 14-year career -- Athletics, Orioles, Tigers, Rangers -- made it to the postseason.
Of those clubs, Tettleton played the most games (570) for the Tigers and also had his highest average (.249), most homers (112) and best OPS (.867) in a Detroit uniform in his stint from 1991-94.
Tettleton won't be at Comerica Park for Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night, though. He'll be home in Norman, Okla. And his heart will be with the nationally ranked, 7-0 Ohio University Bobcats as they travel to play Miami (Ohio).
That's because his son, Tyler, is the quarterback for the defending Mid-American Conference champions.
"It would just be a madhouse to get to the World Series. So I'd prefer to watch it on TV," Tettleton said. "Plus I do private hitting lessons and I have two kids who are still here at the house. So with their activities and then obviously keeping up with Tyler and what he does, it keeps us pretty busy."
Truth be told, the 52-year-old Tettleton doesn't hang on every pitch these days. His only remaining connection with the Tigers is longtime clubhouse manager Jim Schmakel. Tettleton hadn't even been inside Comerica Park before last year, when he was in town for the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field across the street and Schmakel gave him a tour.
"Obviously I know Jim Leyland, but I really haven't been around the organization for awhile," Tettleton said. "[Schmakel] is really the guy that I stay in touch with. We talk a couple times a year probably. I do some stuff with the Rangers, so I probably follow them more closely than other teams. As far as sitting down and watching the games, I don't do that anymore. But I still have a lot of contacts with the Rangers."
Tettleton said he isn't surprised that Tyler gravitated toward football instead of baseball.
"He played baseball growing up, but he was always more of an action sport guy, sports like football and basketball," he said.
Tyler originally committed to Northern Iowa. But Ohio's offensive coordinator, Tim Albin, is friends with former Norman North High School coach Lance Manning. Manning touted him to Albin. A visit was arranged. A scholarship was offered.
"One thing led to another," Tettleton said. "He ended up in Athens, Ohio, and the rest is history."
Tettleton takes an active interest in his son's career.
"We have two or three conversations a week on the phone," he said. "I usually talk to him on Friday night, when they get back to their rooms. See what's kind of going on. And we always talk Saturday after the game. We talk quite a bit, and if we're not talking, we're texting one another."
Which helps explain why Tettleton won't be at Comerica Park on Saturday night, pulling for the Tigers to win the World Series for the first time since 1984.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.