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100 (plus) Years at Tiger Stadium

Reaching back four years to update this…

Tiger Stadium’s 100th birthday was last Friday. In a fairly heartbreaking story, Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports observed that this milestone passed largely unmarked:

Tiger Stadium opened on the same day as Fenway Park – April 20, 1912. 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.

The story goes on to note that there were no planned observances of this occasion at Comerica Park. We at Absolute Michigan feel especially sad that we missed this important anniversary. By small way of penance, here’s some of Tiger Stadium’s rich history via Michigan in Pictures.

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.

From honorary bat boys spending a few moments with a player to huge and cheering crowds, this ballpark has made millions of memories. Here are a few more of our favorite articles:

If you have any photos (or memories) to add, post a comment below.

Here’s a fantastic video on Tiger Stadium from The Story of America’s Classic Ballparks narrated by Jeff Daniels that includes some great old footage and interviews with Al Kaline, George Kell and Ernie Harwell.