Tiger Stadium in Detroit

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


We continue our tour of iconic major league baseball stadiums that while not standing any longer, still occupy a sentimental place in our hearts and lend a storied air to the sport of baseball.


One such palace of the stitched leather sphere is none other than Tiger Stadium, once located at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues near downtown Detroit, Michigan. Previously known as Navin Field from its inception in 1912 through 1937, then Brigg’s Stadium from 1938 through the 1960 season, Tiger Stadium played host to both baseball and football games for most of its eighty-eight year season. The stadium was nicknamed “The Corner” given its location at Michigan and Turnbull in the city’s Corktown neighborhood.


In 1921, George Herman “Babe” Ruth hit what is thought to be the longest home run ball in Major League history, smacking the ball a verified 575 feet, straight over the center field fence and into the street.


On May 2, 1939, in what ended up being the final game in his career, The New York Yankees First Baseman Lou Gehrig benched himself, thus ending a played game streak of 2,130 consecutive games.


The image shown on the publicity postcard published by the Penrod-Hiawatha Company of Berrien Center, Michigan shows a game between the Detroit Tigers and none other than the Kansas City Royals. The photo was taken by the Michigan Travel Bureau. After some exhaustive research and assistance from Penrod Hiawatha General Manager Guy Thompson, we’ve determined that the game shown is the first game of a double-header that was played on a 75 degree, Sunday, July 31, 1983, two seasons before the Royals first World Series win.


The game shown is during the 7th inning of game 1 with the Royals trailing 8-5. Center Fielder Willie Wilson (6) is at bat with a 1-0 count. He is followed in the on-deck circle by Left Fielder Pat Sheridan (15) The Royals went on to lose the first game 8-6 but won the second game 7-5, splitting the series.


On September 27, 1999, the final game was played at Tiger Stadium. It was an 8–2 victory over, again, the Kansas City Royals. The final hit, a grand slam over the right field roof was hit by Tigers Utility player Robert Fick. It was to be the last hit, RBI and Home Run hit at Tiger Stadium. Interestingly, this was Tiger Stadium’s 11,111th Home Run.


The stadium portion of the field was demolished in 2009 but the playing field was left intact. Ultimately, after a number of failed proposals, it was redeveloped into a youth and vintage baseball complex that opened in 2018, aptly named The Corner Ballpark.


We’d like to thank Penrod-Hiawatha General Manager Guy Thompson and the statisticians at Baseball-Almanac.com for their assistance and guidance in this week’s Historic Postcard piece. The Northeast News truly appreciates your assistance.

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