Detroit Tigers Spring Training in Lakeland, Historical Photos

Hank Greenberg and unidentified teammate, spring training 1936

Hank Greenberg and unidentified teammate, spring training 1936*

The above photo is one of many in Play Ball: The Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, an online exhibit of photos from the Dan Sanborn Photo Collection at the City of Lakeland Public Library (they say “be sure to stop by if you’re in Lakeland!”)

The Tigers score!The Detroit Tigers and Lakeland, Florida have had a longer continuous relationship than any other major league baseball team and its spring training home … As the Tigers were moving their spring training headquarters to Lakeland, Dan Sanborn was beginning his career with The Ledger

Over the next seven years, Sanborn brought his camera to Henley Field every spring and captured on film the Tiger teams of Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Tommy Bridges, Barney McCosky, and Schoolboy Rowe as they got in to shape for the American League season. (he returned in the 50s to shoot Harvey Kuenn, Hal Newhouser and others)

Sanborn’s photos of the Tigers evoke memories of a simpler time for baseball before television and big contracts, a time when fans really believed every team had an equal chance to get to the World Series and the cry of “Play Ball!” was still louder than that of “Wait ’till next year.”

Turn on to a tremendous ton of Tiger training tales at Absolute Michigan.

* The Library would love it if some Tiger scholar could identify the ball player with Greenberg.

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