The address for baseball in Detroit for over 100 years was Michigan and
Trumbell. This is where Bennett
Park was built in 1895 - a full five seasons before the Tigers or even
the American League even existed!
City of Detroit (1977-present)
Briggs Stadium (1938-1960)
Tigers (MLB, 1912-1999)
Detroit Lions (NFL, 1938-1974)
Field - 340 ft
Left-Center - 365 ft
Center Field - 440 ft (actual 425)
Right-Center - 370 ft
Right Field - 325 ft
Backstop - 66 ft
Navin Field, named after Tigers owner Frank Navin, was built in
1911-12 on the same site to replace Bennett Park. The field opened on
April 20, 1912, the same date as Fenway Park
opened. Navin Field was renamed Briggs Stadium in 1938 after Walter
Briggs bought the team.
Briggs Stadium was also the second-to-last of the classic parks to
install lights. That was in 1948. It would be 40 years before Wrigley
Field followed. The stadium was finally called Tiger Stadium starting
Any stadium that was home to Hank Greenberg, Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, and
Mickey Cochrane - and the Detroit Lions until 1975 - would be home to
countless memories. Among the 11,111 home runs hit here was Babe Ruth's
700th home run on July 13, 1934 and Lou Gehrig voluntarily ended his
consecutive game playing streak at 2,130 here on May 2, 1939.
to Tiger Stadium!
If you have Google
Earth installed, click here
to be "flown" to the site of Tiger Stadium. (If you do not
have it installed, get
it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on
Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)
Memories from the Super70s include the mammoth shot by Reggie Jackson in
the 1971 All-Star Game. The Awesome80s brought the 24-4 and 35-5 starts
(including a Jack Morris no-hitter in which he loaded the bases twice) and
Kirk Gibson hitting a homer in the first inning and then another off San
Diego's Goose Gossage late to win the deciding game 5 of the 1984 World
Tiger Stadium has been listed on the National Register of Historic
Places since 1989 and was declared a State of Michigan Historic Site in
Billy Crystal to the Rescue!
Tiger Stadium might already have been demolished but for the efforts of
local citizens and it's resemblance to Yankee
Stadium. The latter proved useful to the HBO film crew (led by
director Billy Crystal) looking for a Yankee Stadium look-alike to film 61*.
A little green paint for the seats and some digital post production and
Tiger Stadium was transformed into the House That Ruth Built.
A book was written about the final season at Tiger Stadium in 1999. It
was called The Final Season and was written by Tom Stanton. Tigers
fans should check
With the short shelf life of modern stadiums (the Kingdome
lasted just 25 years), it is just possible that Tiger Stadium could be
transformed back into a major league venue again once the owners of the
Tigers grow unsatisfied with Comerica.
Top: Briggs Stadium
Bottom:Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.
Picture taken January 21, 2005.
research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet.
My Own Tiger Stadium Experience
I've only made one trip to Detroit and it was a business trip to Ford
in Dearborn shortly before the 1996 Olympics. Living my entire life on the
west coast, where Candlestick
is considered historic, I made it a point to make it to a Tigers game
during my stay. Three impressions have stayed with me from that daytime
Red Sox/Tigers matchup:
This is a very old stadium with hardly any modern conveniences -
like stepping back in a time machine.
The Tigers sure have fallen a long way since the glory days of
Morris, Parrish, Gibson, Trammell and Whitaker.
What an intimate and grand place to watch a baseball game! I hope
they never tear it down.
I was about twenty rows back behind first base on the lower deck, but I
could see that even from first row of the upper deck, you'd still only be
about 30 feet from first base (or so I remember). The upper deck was
directly above the lower all the way around the park and there wasn't much
foul territory. Even from my position, I was close enough to the players
to hear what they were saying, though perhaps that had more to do with the
sparse crowd. (In case you are wondering, Jamie Moyer beat Felipe Lira and
the Tigers 6-4 with Heathcliff Slocumb picking up the save.)
As I say, I was just a visitor and have no idea how the average Detroit
fan feels about old Tiger Stadium (share your thoughts below), but for me
the simple pleasure of just watching the timeless game itself without
exploding DiamondVision scoreboards and blaring speakers ended when the
Tigers left following the 1999 season.
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