Inge appreciates his return to Comerica Park

Tigers celebrate 10-year anniversary of AL pennant-winning club

Inge appreciates his return to Comerica Park

DETROIT -- Brandon Inge is the first to admit that he does not stack up among the Tigers' greats. He posted a .234 batting average over 12 seasons with Detroit from 2001-12.

But that doesn't bother Inge. Because he knows that he, along with his former teammates, worked hard and tried their best, and that's what Tigers fans will remember them for.

Tigers fans showed their appreciation for the work he put in, as hundreds of fans showed up on the Comerica Park concourse for a Q&A session with Inge before Saturday's game against the Royals as the Tigers celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2006 American League championship team.

Inge said he wasn't sure what to expect before the Q&A session, but he was humbled by the large, supportive crowd.

"First of all, I'm a nobody when it comes to big names," said Inge, who also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game. "I played as hard as I possibly could, and maybe that resonated with some people. I'll tell you right now, it's flattering."

The one-time All-Star now lives on a 400-acre farm in his hometown of Lynchburg, Va., with his wife, Shani, and two sons, Tyler, 11, and Chase, 8. Inge helps with his sons' Little League team, the Hill City Sliders.

The Inge family, along with more than 50 Little League teammates and their families, took a bus trip from Lynchburg to be in Michigan for his big weekend. The Sliders played a doubleheader against the Saline Hornets, Tyler's former team, at the University of Michigan softball field on Friday, before attending the Tigers' game Saturday.

Inge threw pitches as the kids had a home run derby after the games. He joked with some of the players that "they tied him" in his infamous homerless-derby in 2009.

Inge has been able to come to terms that he may not have been the greatest player during his time in Detroit, and is just grateful he has the moments to look back on.

"If you play hard for this city, people are going to love you, they're going to follow you," Inge said. "And for people to show this support, it makes me feel that I did my job the way that I was supposed to do it while I was here."

While Inge says he does not have a favorite memory with the Tigers, the team's champagne celebration on the field after beating the Yankees in the 2006 AL Division Series will always stand out.

And of course, he will never forget former manager Jim Leyland. Inge said the moment that he truly believed the '06 team could make a run at a title was when Leyland exploded on the team after losing three of four in a series against the Indians.

"Leyland, he pushed us to the top," Inge said. "He made us go where we did that year. We owe a lot to him."

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.