The Dawn and Dusk of the Old Tiger Stadium
If you live in Detroit or support the Detroit Tigers baseball team, then the Older Tiger Stadium is something more than another pitch with strange architecture that spoils the downtown scene. It is one of the most popular fields in not only Detroit but also nationwide baseball history. For almost 100 years, it was the home for legendary players and their devoted fans. The arena witnessed some of the most memorable moments and wins that will never be forgotten.
If we went back in time and told some of the Tiger fans about the stadium to be closed within the next decade, they would never believe it, especially considering the grand finale back in 1999. Despite the fact that the field is closed, there are still many disputes about what to do with the stadium.
The History of the Stadium
The construction process started in 1895. That was the time when the first grandstand was built. It accepted first baseball fans who could not even imagine that the fled would still be the home for their team even after almost a century. The first grandstand was different from the one we can see at modern stadiums. A simple wooden ballpark was able to host not more than 5,000 spectators.
The stadium was located and still “remains at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull” (Rebeca M. Long et al., 2012, p. 5). Not only because of the location but also because of the team’s results, the field has quickly turned into the mecca for both locals and Detroit guests who simply could not miss Tiger playing live.
It was decided to name the pitch after Charlie Bennett. He was one of the most popular catchers of those times. The construction of the stadium was completed in 1896. However, the Tigers joined the national baseball league only 5 years later. The initial capacity was not enough, as more and more people were eager to see their favs playing against some of the biggest names in the American League.
Constructors increased the capacity of the existing ballpark to let it host 8,500 fans. In order to keep enough space, the shape of the ballpark looked like a letter L to keep the area with trees where the team’s clubhouse was located along with the groundskeeper’s shed.
The Old Tiger stadium was changed and modified over the years. For example, they decided to make the main grandstand bigger and the only possible way for that was to decrease the playing pitch. The arena got a new bleacher section that made it possible to increase the overall seat capacity by 10,000. Despite all rearrangements and modifications, the Tigers played their last game here in 1999. Since that time, the stadium has been abandoned.
Efforts to Save the Stadium
Although the stadium has been empty for more than 10 years, state authorities attempted to renovate some of the facilities and turn them into tourist attractions. Unfortunately, the Detroit government was against such ideas, as it did not need the stadium anymore. The fans were sorry to hear about the government plans to demolish “The Corner”.
In 2008, the field suffered from partial demolition. Despite the fact, the local team got a new stadium, fans were not happy about closing down and running the first Tiger’s home. Several attempts to save the remaining parts of the arena were made. However, they had no success. Today, the site belongs to the Detroit Police Athletic League where they currently practice and play against other teams.
Long, Rebecca M., “Detroit’s Field of Dreams: The Grassroots Preservation of Tiger Stadium” (2012). All Theses. 1371.