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What Will Happen to Tiger Stadium?

What Will Happen to Tiger Stadium?

Old Photos of Tiger Stadium from the Library of Congress

UPDATED: April 3, 2006: In Talking Baseball, Jack Lessenberry talks about shiny new Comerica Park, the old stadium, great players and the possiblilities of a new season. (Tigers did win the opener, 4-3!)

UPDATED March 29, 2006: Jack Lessenberry interviews Harry Glanz, who hopes to scale the old ballpark back to the way it was when it first opened in 1912. Let kids play baseball – and turn the rest of it into a place with conference rooms, shops and a museum … if he can ever get the city to call him back. While you’re there, be sure to read Jack’s essay Play Ball.

More on Glanz’s plans can be found in Neil Rubin’s column in the Detroit News about the difficulties Capital Mortgage Funding’s Harry Glanz seems to be having getting a hearing for his idea of paring Tiger Stadium back to 15,000 or so seats and used for ballgames, meetings, conventions and shopping. Rubin also reports some reader suggestions including hosting soccer, football, concerts and relocating the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame there from its current accommodations in a nearly forgotten hallway at Cobo.

The Detroit News reports that seven years after a century of baseball ended at Tiger Stadium, money for its upkeep and hopes it can ever be saved are running dry. Since the Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 2000, the city has paid the team’s owner, Mike Ilitch, an estimated $2.5 million for maintenance and security at the old park. The city received ideas for use including plan by a St. Louis developer to retool the stadium into lofts and rentals, and a separate proposal to use the space for a sports, residential and office complex featuring condos, stores, a scaled-down baseball diamond and volleyball courts were the best received, but both failed in negotiation with the city. Now it looks as if the park that opened in 1912 and has been known as Navin Field & Briggs Stadium has reached the end of the line.

Tiger Stadium’s age and unique shape, crooks and crannies make it impractical to renovate. Peter Comstock Riley, a partner in preservationist group Michigan & Trumbull LLC, alleges that city officials long ago made up their minds to raze the park.

Photos courtesy Library of Congress: Briggs Stadium, Kids at a ball game at Briggs Stadium and Raising the flag at the start of the ball game at Briggs Stadium by John Vachon (1942?, LC-USW3-007071-D, LC-USW3-007089-D , LC-USW3-007093-D)