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1984 MVP Guillermo 'Willie' Hernandez to throw out first pitch at Tigers' home opener

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Tigers are wasting little time in celebrating the 1984 champions.

Guillermo "Willie" Hernandez, the left-handed closer who won the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards in that World Series-championship season in 1984, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Tigers' home opener Thursday.

Catcher Lance Parrish (left) and reliever Willie Hernandez leap for joy after Hernandez recorded the final out in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series, which the Tigers won   
Oct.14, 1984. Hernandez’ recorded 32 saves, had a 1.92 ERA and was rewarded by being named both the American League’s MVP and Cy Young Award winner.

The appearance by Hernandez, 64, kicks off a year-long celebration of the 35th anniversary of Detroit's last championship baseball team.

Hernandez was acquired just before the start of the 1984 season, then took the city by storm, going 9-3 with a 1.92 ERA and 32 saves spanning 80 appearances.

He went on to pitch five more seasons with the Tigers, before retiring after 1989.

Also part of the Opening Day hoopla will be Motown recording legend Mary Wilson of the Supremes, who will sing the national anthem.

More: 'It was a blast': Matt Shepard talks Tigers' TV debut, perfect game 'jinx'

Gates at Comerica Park will open at 10 a.m., more than three hours before first pitch between the Tigers and Kansas City Royals. Tickets remain available for Opening Day at tigers.com, though the game is expected to be a sellout by the time Thursday rolls around. Opening Day has been Detroit's lone sellout the last two seasons.

The Tigers on Thursday will debut their "Homerun Happy Hour," which will be available up to an hour before first pitch. Fans in the Pepsi Porch can purchase $3 sodas and waters, $5 nachos, hot-dog and burger baskets, and alcohol beverages.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984