Monday, April 20, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Navin Field

103 years ago Detroit Tigers owner Frank Navin reconfigured the teams home, Bennett Park, rotating right field into home plate, and Navin Field was born.

For the next 89 year's "The Corner" of Michigan and Trumbull would become a destination for young, and old, Tigers fans , and baseball fans like myself.

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! is Navin Field, the ballpark that saw Ty Cobb, Wahoo Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer, and Hank Greenberg showcase their Hall of Fame baseball skills for the Tigers.

The Tigers played in five World Series at Navin Field, 1907-08-09, 34-35, winning the franchise's first championship in 1935.

It was also the ballpark that opponents like Honus Wagner, Napoleon Lajoie, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmy Foxx played at for visiting teams in the days of train travel  and day ball games.

In 1937 Tigers owner Walter Briggs renamed Navin Field Briggs Stadium, and in 1961 new Tigers owner John Fetzer renamed the old ballpark Tiger Stadium, the name it held for its remaining 38 years, until the final pitch on September 27, 1999.

Although the old ballpark at The Corner has been torn down, the field still remains.

A group of volunteers that call themselves the Navin Field Grounds Crew have been maintaing the site, all at their own costs and from donations.

A documentary,  Stealing Home, is the story about the NFGC and their love of a treasured Historic Michigan Landmark abandoned by the City of Detroit, and their passionate labor to preserve the greatest ballpark in Michigan history.

Please visit both their web sites and support both the ballpark efforts and the movie any way you can.

One of my goals is to one day go back to Michigan and Trumbull on a Sunday afternoon to stand behind home plate where my heto, Bill Freehan, played catcher...

...and re-create the greatest defensive play in Tigers history.

Happy Baseball Birthday Navin Field!!


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