I have apparently been hanging with Rip van Winkle, and so missed the news that Ernie Harwell has come forward with an 11th hour plan to save Tiger Stadium from demolition. Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry spoke with Ernie Harwell about his plans and just hearing Ernie talk about the stadium is a treat. In his accompanying essay titled Play Ball, Lessenberry notes that all the other people talking about turning the ballpark into luxury condos or boutiques had everything they needed except financing – and that the City of Detroit acted quite expectedly by not trying to compete with Mike Ilitch when the Tigers were a terrible team. Jack notes:
Now, however, things have changed. The Tigers are American League champions, and virtually every game at Comerica is sold out.
If there is anything Detroit doesn’t need, it is another vacant lot. Baseball is about history, and the place where Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle once played doesn’t deserve to disappear.
After listening to Ernie and reading about his plan for reducing the size of the ballpark to 10,000 seats or so and surrounding it with lofts, offices, and Detroit sports and music museums, I have to agree that Harwell’s plan is credible and do-able … and if they’re selling bricks, I’m buying one. I bet there’s a lot of folks who would do the same.
There’s a ton of pictures of Tiger Stadium over on Michigan in Pictures and you can get a ton more about the ballpark at Absolute Michigan keyword Tiger Stadium.