April 20, 2013
101 years ago today on April 20, 1912, Tiger Stadium opened at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull in Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood. Last year Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports observed that this milestone passed largely unmarked:
It was 100 years ago this weekend. Ty Cobb scored the first run by stealing home. From that day until 1999, this very spot rumbled with din and greatness. Pretty much every legend that played in Fenway in the 20th century also played here. Lou Gehrig sat himself down for the first time in 2,130 games here, ending his incredible ironman streak. Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run here. Reggie Jackson hit one into the right field light tower here during the ’71 All-Star game. The Tigers won World Series titles here in 1968 and again in 1984, with Kirk Gibson launching a late-inning home run off Goose Gossage that no Tigers fan alive to see it will ever forget. Fair to say this was the most exciting place in the history of Michigan.
And now there’s hardly a trace. Fans committed to honoring the old stadium in some form maintain a home plate, a pitcher’s mound, two chalk lines for base paths and two benches where the dugouts used to be. The 125-foot flagpole from the old center field is still standing.
While the old ballpark’s birthday is definitely passing unmarked again this year, mLive hadan article about the uncertain future of the site a couple of weeks ago. If you’d like to do a little remembering, head over to 100 years at Tiger Stadium on Absolute Michigan for a whole lot more about this beloved ballpark and links to videos including the intro to the DVD Michigan & Trumbull featuring Ernie Harwell. (a 2 1/2 minute stroll through Tiger Stadium)
Lots more Detroit Tigers pictures on Michigan in Pictures!
October 19, 2012
Last night the Detroit Tigers completed a 4-0 shellacking of the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Watch the final out of last night’s 8-1 victory from the Tigers and many more video highlights from the celebration.
Wikipedia’s Detroit Tigers entry notes that the Tigers have won the American League pennant 11 times, winning the World Series four of those times in 1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984.
With a lineup that featured four future Hall of Famers (Hank Greenberg, Mickey Cochrane, Goose Goslin and Charlie Gehringer), the Tigers won the World Series in 1935, defeating the Cubs, 4 games to 2. Game 6 concluded with Goslin’s dramatic game-ending single, scoring Cochrane to seal a 4–3 victory.
With the end of World War II and the timely return of Hank Greenberg and others from the military, the Tigers took the 1945 American League pennant. With Virgil Trucks, Hal Newhouser and Dizzy Trout on the mound and Greenberg leading the Tiger bats, Detroit responded in a Game 7 for the first time, staking Newhouser to a 5–0 lead before he threw a pitch en route to a 9–3 victory over the Cubs.
In the 1968 World Series, the Tigers met the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, led by starter Bob Gibson (who had posted a record 1.12 ERA during the regular season) and speedy outfielder Lou Brock. In Game 7 at Busch Memorial Stadium, Lolich, also pitching on two days’ rest, faced Gibson. Both men pitched brilliantly, putting zeros up on the scoreboard for much of the game. For his three victories that propelled the Tigers to the World championship, Lolich was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.
The Tigers led their division wire-to-wire in 1984, from opening day and every day thereafter, culminating in the World Series championship over the against the San Diego Padres. This had not been done in the major leagues since the 1927 New York Yankees. With the win Sparky Anderson became the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues.
More Detroit Tigers photos & history from Michigan in Pictures!
October 2, 2012
The Detroit Tigers rode a 4 hit performance by Miguel Cabrera that included his MLB leading 44th homer run and 200th hit of the season to a 6-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals last night and the American League Central Pennant! Cabrera made a huge statement in the AL MVP race and also pushed closer to the capturing first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski won it in 1967.
The 2012 Tigers team is the first with back-to-back postseason berths since Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer led Detroit to a pair of World Series in 1934-35. While the Tigers don’t know who they’ll face, they do know that the AL Division Series will start at Comerica Park on Saturday and Sunday.
More Detroit Tigers on Michigan in Pictures!
August 8, 2012
It may come as a surprise to regular readers that despite all the posts about the Detroit Tigers here and at Absolute Michigan, I’ve never been to Comerica Park. Today I not only get to go – I get to sit on the 3rd base line (2nd row!!)as the red-hot Detroit Tigers face the New York Yankees tonight!
Wikipedia’s entry for Comerica Park (edited a bit by me) explains that:
Groundbreaking for a new ballpark to replace Tiger Stadium for the Tigers was held on October 29, 1997 and the new stadium was opened to the public in 2000. In December 1998, Comerica Bank agreed to pay $66 million over 30 years for the naming rights for the new ballpark. Comerica Park sits on the original site of the Detroit College of Law.
In contrast to Tiger Stadium, which had long been considered one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball, Comerica Park is considered to be extremely friendly to pitchers. Except for dead center – 420 feet versus Tiger Stadium’s 440 feet – the outfield dimensions were more expansive than those at Tiger Stadium. This led to complaints from players and fans alike, and engendered the sarcastic nickname Comerica National Park.
Although a few public figures—notably radio announcer Ernie Harwell—supported the dimensions, most agreed that the left-field wall, in particular, needed to be brought closer to home plate. Before the 2003 MLB season the club did so, moving the distance from left-center field from 395 to 370 feet. In place of the old bullpens in right field, 950 seats were added for a new capacity of 41,070.
At the time of construction, the scoreboard in left field was the largest in Major League Baseball. The first playoff game at Comerica was played on October 6, 2006 against the New York Yankees. It hosted its first World Series later that month. The stadium also includes many baseball-themed features, including a “Monument Park” in the deep center field stands, complete with statues of former Tigers Ty Cobb, Hal Newhouser, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, and Willie Horton.
A few neat things I found are Comerica Park from Ballparks.com, baseball writer Geoff Baker touring Comerica, Calvin Johnson hitting a HR in BP, Comerica on Michigan in Pictures, a time-lapse of the installation of the new high-def scoreboard, the slightly bizarre Comerica UFO footage and a very cool RC plane fly-over of Comerica.
May 4, 2012
“Ernie (Harwell) is probably the most beloved person who has ever been in Detroit with the Detroit Tigers. He is loved by everybody and rightfully so. He’s a great broadcaster but even a better person. That comes across on his broadcasts.”
~ Detroit Tiger Hall of Famer Al Kaline
Two years ago today, one of the greatest members of the Detroit Tigers organization passed away. It’s no coincidence that Ernie Harwell received a baseball announcer’s highest honor by winning the Ford Frick Award from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Here’s his Hall of Fame induction speech, set to a scrapbook of photos. There’s much more about Ernie Harwell on Michigan in Pictures.
We’ll close with words from Harwell’s farewell address that you can read in full at the Baseball Almanac. Click head over to “Ernie” on Absolute Michigan to read about the play about him by Mitch Albom and to see Ernie with thousands of the fans he talks about here…
“Thank you for letting me be part of your family. Thank you for taking me with you to that cottage up north, to the beach, the picnic, your work place and your backyard.
Thank you for sneaking your transistor under the pillow as you grew up loving the Tigers.
Now I might have been a small part of your life. But you have been a very large part of mine. And it’s my privilege and honor to share with you the greatest game of all.”
April 24, 2012
“It was the most famous address in Michigan. Not the number, but everyone knows the location. The corner of Michigan and Trumbull was a connection for everyone all over Michigan to the city of Detroit”
~Charley Marcuse, former hot dog vendor at Tiger Stadium
The above is a quotation from a heartbreaking feature on the 100th anniversary of Tiger Stadium that we are linking to today from 100 years at Tiger Stadium on Absolute Michigan. It’s chock full of great links, photos and a video narrated by Jeff Daniels and featuring Tiger greats Al Kaline, George Kell and Ernie Harwell.
The feature was especially heartbreaking for me as I was as guilty as most of the rest of the media that let this historic milestone pass unmarked. Don’t get me wrong – I think Comerica Park is a fantastic place to play baseball and a fitting home for the Tigers. To me, the shame lies in the manner in which one of the finest ballparks in all of baseball was cast aside by a city that seemed more interested in squeezing one last dime from the stadium at Michigan & Trumbull than celebrating and honoring her rich legacy.
Much more on Tiger Stadium and the Detroit Tigers at Michigan in Pictures.
Opening Day will dawn Thursday afternoon. And in Detroit, it dawns in a big way.
You’ve got reigning AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander facing MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning. You’ve got Prince Fielder’s Detroit debut and Bobby Valentine’s first game at the steering wheel for Boston. You’ve got Miguel Cabrera manning the hot corner for the first time in four years.
…Regarding that aforementioned Verlander-Ellsbury matchup, it’s pretty rare stuff. The last time a reigning MVP pitcher faced the man who finished second to him in the balloting in his first start of the season? You have to go all the way back to 1932, when Lefty Grove faced Lou Gehrig.
Head over to Absolute Michigan for our Detroit Tigers 2012 season preview that includes all kinds of links and a look back at the very first Detroit Tigers Opening Day!
Much more about the Detroit Tigers on Michigan in Pictures!
November 22, 2011
“Obviously pitchers are not just written off all of a sudden because they’re pitchers.”
~Tiger Pitcher Justin Verlander
Our feature on Absolute Michigan on Verlander’s MVP victory explains that Verlander is only the second player in baseball history to capture a Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player award over his career and finished this season with pitching’s Triple Crown.
Check it out background big!
October 8, 2011
Detroit Tiger Hank Greenberg, source unknown
“When I was playing, I used to resent being singled out as a Jewish ballplayer. I wanted to be known as a great ballplayer, period. I’m not sure why or when I changed, because I’m still not a particularly religious person. Lately, though, I find myself wanting to be remembered not only as a great ballplayer, but even more as a great Jewish ballplayer.”
~Hank Greenberg, after his career
Tonight the Tigers continue their drive toward the World Series. Wikipedia’s entry for Hank Greenberg begins:
Henry Benjamin “Hank” Greenberg (January 1, 1911 – September 4, 1986), nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank” or “The Hebrew Hammer,” was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation. He hit 58 home runs in 1938, equaling Jimmie Foxx’s 1932 mark for the most home runs in one season by any player between 1927 (when Babe Ruth set a record of 60) and 1961 (when Roger Maris surpassed it).
The Jewish holiday Yom Kipper started last night, and this article on Greenberg’s career from the Baseball Almanac tells how rabbis got involved in the decision as to whether or not he would play on Rosh Hashanah in 1934, explaining that:
Rosh Hashanah was not the only major religious holiday that momentarily got in the way of the Tigers’ march to the 1934 World Series while simultaneously adding to the legend of Hank Greenberg. Nine days after the win over Boston, Detroit played the second place New York Yankees. Despite the fact that the pennant was not officially decided, Greenberg was not in the lineup. He was not injured, or suspended, or being benched for poor play. He had simply come up against Yom Kippur, the one day he could never hope to overcome.
Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the calendar, when all the sins of the past year are “wiped away” through fasting and prayer. Devout Jews would never think of working on such a day. The 1934 Greenberg was not particularly devout; for his entire life, in fact, he would harbor deep doubts and questions about all organized religion. He was, however, still influenced by his father, who “put his foot down” (Greenberg 57). So he sat.