Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan would be a century old if it still stood on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull. Tiger Stadium is gone. Most of us who grew up in the Detroit area still miss the old place at the corner. It opened April 20, 1912 and was torn down on September 21, 2009. The Detroit Tigers played there until 1999, and then moved to their new home, Comerica Park, where they play today. I can only imagine what it was like 100 years ago when they opened the gates for the first time. I only know what it was like on the last game played there. (see videos below in the previous post. You’ll also see the obstructed views in the videos.)
My first trip was in sixth grade with our Safety Patrol group. I begged and begged my parents to let me go, and they finally gave in to my rants. Since I lived in the suburbs, we took a bus downtown. Our excitement probably rattled the bus windows all the way to Detroit. At the stadium we were seated in center field and screamed and hollered at the Tiger players the whole time they were on the field, and bantered the opposing team. The player who played center that year, waved to us a few times, and I knew in my adolescent, girly mind that each wave was meant for me.
Let’s jump ahead quite a few years. It’s 1984. Tigers had one of their best years. That year the church I belonged to all went to the Tiger game that early autumn in 1984. Little did I know when we boarded the bus as a group, the Tigers could clench the title on this very night. My two sons were with me, and I hope it’s something they remember all their life. We sat between home plate and 3rd base. Tiger Stadium had some seats with obstructed views. Wouldn’t you know my seat was one of them? But it didn’t matter, for the excitement was so crazy in the whole stadium that night no one stayed where they were supposed to be seated, if anyone sat at all. If I remember correctly, it was a close game, and in the last inning the police came out and circled the infield. The crowd jumped to their feet, and everyone clapped and yelled. Then, the last inning finally came, and I for one held my breath along with everyone else who prayed for a win.
YAY, the Tigers won! They won the Pennant. The Detroit Tigers won the American League East Pennant. Yay! Yay!
It only took minutes before it actually sank in that the Tigers won the division. My boys jumped up and down and were excited along with everyone else. No one could sit still. We stuck around and waited for the stadium to calm down before leaving, but we stood there, mouths agape because within a short time crowds of people ran on the field. There would be no stopping them, and first one then many started tearing up clumps of grass for souvenirs. It played over like a movie before us. It caught on fast because others started getting their own clumps, then sand, and then started taking bases, benches, pieces of anything not tied down, but still some tried tearing chairs out of the stands behind home plate, and succeeded. Others ran around like crazy, trying to pick up anything they could grab.
Tigers won the pennant!
Eventually we realized we needed to find our bus which meant we had to go through the chaos which spilled out to the streets by then. I must admit it got a little scary, but it wasn’t a problem because every single person on the streets that night beamed with happiness– their Detroit Tigers won the Pennant, and they knew the chance of winning the Championship loomed ahead. Baseball wasn’t over yet.
Tomorrow I’ll continue this topic with Special Events I experienced at Tiger Stadium and after the Tigers began playing at Comerica Park.
The photos I used have been released for use to the Public Domain