The team got swept in the World Series, then in the off-season signed a veteran free-agent rightfielder known for his ability and his quotability.

And in that rightfielder's first year with the team, it made a repeat visit to the World Series and this time won it.

Prophecy for this year's Tigers? Perhaps.

Story of the 1976-77 Yankees? Indeed.

Torii Hunter, meet Reggie Jackson.

In his first New York season in '77, Jackson hit 32 regular-season home runs. He clinched the World Series in Game 6 against the Dodgers when he became the first player besides Babe Ruth to hit three homers in a World Series game.

The Tigers don't need Hunter, 37, to suddenly become a power hitter. They signed him to command the No. 2 spot (where hit .343 last year) and to scour rightfield with the élan that brought him nine Gold Gloves in center.