I was downloading some old photos from my Flickr website, and I came across this picture of the former Tiger Stadium on Michigan Avenue in Corktown, Detroit bordering between Downtown and Southwest Detroit, and the memories are still vivid in my mind today even though the actual park remains today with plans still in the air as to what to do with the field, but everything you see in the picture is no more with the exception of the fence on Michigan and Trumbull. Other than that, my stories to tell are minimal, at best, in comparison to the memories of my contemporaries, family, friends, coworkers, etc. I can count on one hand in my lifetime how many times I’ve been to Tiger Stadium. Though the occasions were few, I cherished each one whether the Tigers won or lost. I wasn’t a big baseball buff until after the fact. I began to appreciate it more when I was working for the School Board, and I’d watch games while I was working (I was supporting the team of the school I was working for at the time, that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it, jack!).
But one of the biggest memories that I had of “The Corner” as it has been eloquently known for decades, was that I’d go sightseeing after school, and ride the bus downtown as well as the People Mover. One afternoon, I was on the #34 Gratiot-Michigan bus, and Michigan Ave was crowded at Trumbull (it was a game that day). Rush hour had just ended, and another traffic jam ensued. So I utilized any opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere seeing that I was gonna be there awhile. The vendors were selling roasted peanuts for $.50, I saw the vendor, opened the window, and told him I’d like a bag. Long story short, that fifty cent bag was the best $.50 I’ve ever spent! Those peanuts were downright delicious. Eventually the traffic had cleared up and I was able to make it home. I knew then why little boys were so amped about “Peanuts and Cracker Jack”.
Can’t say I blame ‘em, especially me being a bigger kid myself. 15 at the time.
The late 1980s and early 1990s has seen some bleak times for the Tiger since winning their last World Series in 1984. That said, it had faced threats of the wrecking ball for many years, and with the building nearing its Centennial prior to being razed in 2008, it also required more maintenance than what it was worth. On September 27, 1999, The Detroit Tigers has played their final game at “The Corner” defeating the Kansas City Royals 8-2. A very bittersweet victory for the big cats. Two years prior to that time, the City of Detroit had already broken ground for Comerica Park in Detroit’s Necklace District one block east of Woodward, one block south of Fisher Freeway (formerly the central portion of Vernor Highway). On April 11, 2000, Comerica Park(COPA)-namesake of Comerica Bank-had opened to the public with the Tigers defeating the Seattle Mariners 5-2 that snowy afternoon. I have yet to see a game there, I will eventually. I have, however, frequented a pool hall/nightclub called “5th Avenue Billiards”. It was doing very well for a few years, but it was shut down. Rumor has it that the Illitch family wanted more money a month for it, they have plenty of it (but that’s just a rumor, that’s all)!
Tiger Stadium has had some uses during it nine-year dormant period. In 2006, it was announced that “The Corner” was facing the wrecking ball. On September 21, 2009, the very last of “The Corner” was knocked down, with the exception of some of the gates that I mentioned earlier. The baseball park still remains on “The Corner” of Michigan and Trumbull for well over 100 years now.
Click on any of the links below to read further into the past, present, and future of this iconic team. Obviously (due to a lack of time), I have left out-if not entirely omitted altogether many embellishments in this entry. More than likely they will do a much better job than I have.
Till next time,