Happy Birthday, Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium Deconstruction by Paul Hitz

Tiger Stadium Deconstruction by Paul Hitz

Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull in Detroit opened 109 years ago on April 20, 1912. As good of a field as Comerica Park is (and it’s pretty darned good), I’m never not going to miss Tiger Stadium. If you’d like to read a wonderful account of the history of the stadium and The Corner, head over to Historic Detroit. It begins:

Whether as a 103-year-old site for pro baseball or as an 87-year-old stadium, the corner of Michigan and Trumbull is the home of memories for millions of fans. The park sat vacant since hosting its final game on Sept. 27, 1999, until June 30, 2008, when demolition began.

Professional baseball was first played on the site, at a 5,000-seat ballpark known as Bennett Park, on April 28, 1896 — three years before Detroit even had an auto plant. The field, named after fan favorite Charlie Bennett, was built on the former site of a municipal hay market. The park was razed after the 1911 season and replaced with 23,000-seat Navin Field. The ballpark as we know it today opened April 20, 1912, the same day as Fenway Park in Boston — and five days after the RMS Titanic sank.

Paul took this photo back in 2008 when they were demolishing the ballpark. It’s long been one of my favorites. See more from Paul in his Detroit gallery on Flickr & at United Photo Works.

PS: The Corner Ballpark sits where Tiger Stadium. It is the home of the Detroit Police Athletic League program and features a great ballpark with the Willie Horton Field of Dreams.

PPS: Tons more Tiger Stadium photos on Michigan in Pictures!

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May the 4th be with you!

Jedis From Tiger Stadium, photo by Sean Doerr

Happy May the 4th aka Star Wars Day everyone!

View the photo from the 2007 Detroit St Patrick’s Day parade background big and see more in Sean’s St Patrick’s Day ’07 slideshow.

Happy 101st Birthday, Tiger Stadium

Tigers at night

Tigers at night, photo by baklein62

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)

Check Barney’s photo out on black and see a whole lot more in his great Baseball as Art slideshow.

Lots more Detroit Tigers pictures on Michigan in Pictures!

At the Corner: 100 Years at Tiger Stadium

at the corner

at the corner, photo by 1ManWithACamera

“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.

Check this out bigger and in Larry’s great Detroit Tigers and their ballparks slideshow.

Much more on Tiger Stadium and the Detroit Tigers at Michigan in Pictures.

R.I.P. Tiger Stadium

R.I.P.

R.I.P., photo by Ralph Krawczyk Jr.

Ralph writes:

Supporters of renovating what remained of Tiger Stadium surrendered Monday in a failed court effort to postpone the final demolition, sparking the end of a legacy that began in 1896…

You can read about the demolition in the Freep, watch it on YouTube, check out other Tiger Stadium pictures on Michigan in in Pictures and read Tiger Stadium stories on Absolute Michigan). You can also see more photos of this iconic park in Raph’s Tiger Stadium set (slideshow).

I’m not sure, however, that you can explain to me why Detroit seems hell-bent on demolishing its most prominent pieces of heritage.

Tiger Stadium demolition: When the walls come tumblin’ down

Tiger Stadium Demolition

tiger stadium, photo by Rhonda_Marie

View bigger in Rhonda’s Tiger Stadium slideshow (view set). Demolition has begun on Tiger Stadium. You can follow the bouncing wrecking ball using any or all of the ways below:

The Last Days of Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium Usher 2, circa 1999

Tiger Stadium Usher 2, circa 1999, photo by LAWRENCEcreative.

Greenberg, Kailine, Manush, Heilmann, Kell, Newhouser, Jennings, Harwell – the stadium may be gone, but the names live on. Brett writes:

These are pictures taken from the last season of Tiger Stadium. Rather than watching all of the the games, I would find myself wandering the hallways and aisleways trying to capture moments significant to this iconic place…

I hope these pics bring back some great memories as we all wait for the final brick to fall on this historic landmark.

View his Tiger Stadium, circa 1999 slideshow (photo set). Do it, for real. The scenes he captured of the daily life of this grand old ballpark are priceless.

Although a series of bids to save all or part of the ballpark over the last several years, the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy has until August 1st to prove it can raise $12-15 million to preserve the diamond, dugouts, 3,000 seats and an area that would house Hall of Fame Tiger’s broadcaster Ernie Harwell’s collection of sports memorabilia. Detroit News story.

Here’s some more Tiger Stadium Stuff:

Last look at Tiger Stadium?

Tiger Stadium, Detroit MI, photo by jnhkrawczyk
Tiger Stadium, Detroit MI, photo by jnhkrawczyk

Jill was one of 18 members of the Exposure.Detroit photo group that got a chance to tour the soon to be demolished Tiger Stadium last Friday.

They brought back an amazingly collection of images. Some, with trees growing in the aisles and demolished seats are almost painful, but from other angles it looked almost as if you could play tomorrow (if you cut the grass).

I could go on and on highlighting pictures, but it’s probably best if you check out the photos of Tiger Stadium from September 28, 2007 (slideshow). More about the Detroit Tigers and Tiger Stadium on Michigan in Pictures.

Tiger Stadium: At the corner of Michigan & Trumbull

At the corner of Michigan & Trumbull

Michigan and Trumbull was the address for professional baseball in Detroit for 104 seasons. From 1896 when Bennett Park opened, until the last game at Tiger Stadium in 1999, Michigan and Trumbull was the most famous street corner in Michigan. Tiger Stadium by Irwin J. Cohen takes you on a visual tour of baseball in the Motor City from the beginning of the Tigers franchise to the historic final game played at Tiger Stadium. The pages are filled with photos (some never before published) of the stadium and Tiger legends from Cobb, Gehringer and Greenberg right up to Kaline, Lolich, Trammell, Gibson and others.

1968 Detroit Tigers / St. Louis Cardinals World Series program cover
The World Series went a full seven games and games three, four, and five were played in Detroit. Each game attracted the same 53,634 attendance numbers. (Author’s collection.)Click above photos for a larger view!
Willie Horton of the Detroit Tigers
Affable slugger left fielder Willie Horton hit 36 home runs in 1968. In game five with St. Louis ahead three games to one, Horton made the most memorable defensive play in the history of the ballpark when he threw out speedster Lou Brock trying to score from second on a single. (Courtesy B&W Photos.)

Tiger Stadium by Irwin J. Cohen is available from the publisher online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling 888-313-2665.

View other excerpts from Arcadia Publishing’s Michigan books at Michigan in Pictures!

On a more editorial note, I had originally thought when I requested these photos that this would be part of a requiem for this grand old ballpark. It still may, but with Tiger icon Ernie Harwell pushing a plan to redevelop Tiger Stadium as a smaller ballpark and museum complex, maybe not!

You can follow Tiger Stadium news at Absolute Michigan.

Tiger Stadium, in pictures

Aerial View of Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium #1, found by m7k7k7

Many folks in Michigan have a piece of their heart stored at the Corner of Michigan & Trumbull. Wikipedia’s Tiger Stadium entry says the ballpark located in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit hosted the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball team from April 20, 1912 when it opened as Navin Field, through its expansion in 1938 when it was renamed Briggs Stadium (and began hosting the Detroit Lions as well) through 1961 when John Fetzer took control and renamed it Tiger Stadium. It saw two World Series championships, 1968 and 1984 and was the home of the Tigers until Comerica Park opened in 2000. It was declared a State of Michigan Historic Site in 1975 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989.

And it’s scheduled for demolition in October of 2007.

From honorary bat boys spending a few moments with a player to huge and cheering crowds, this ballpark has made millions of memories.

Now it waits for the wrecking ball, slowly falling to pieces. I don’t think that too many want to remove the Tigers from their palatial new home, but it would (in my opinion at least) be a wonderful thing if Ernie Harwell and his group could succeed in preserving a scaled-down park at the Corner so none of us have to say goodbye to an old friend (and maybe The Last Strike at Tiger Stadium wouldn’t actually be the last).

Here’s a whole lot more photos in the Tiger Stadium group on Flickr. If you have any photos (or memories) to add, post a comment below!

Read Ernie Harwell’s plan for Tiger Stadium on Absolute Michigan.