Saturday, January 30, 2016

Remembering Tiger Stadium

My Twitter baseball friend Displaced Tiger Fan was talking about old Tiger Stadium in Detroit, and asking his followers to post comments about a certain game or remembrances about the grand old ballpark.

He also wrote a terrific post about Tiger Stadium on his it here.

My Uncle Bob started taking me to games at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull in 1967, and, although I don't remember the first couple of games, I do remember the 1969 game, on August 1, when Tigers Cy Young Award Winner Denny McLain shutout the Chicago White Sox, 8-0.

That game has always stood out to me because we got the '69 Tigers Yearbook, and instead of paying attention to the entire game, I couldn't stop reading about the 1968 World Series Champions, and that's what I did, cover to cover, over, and over, and over, again.

The other thing about that game, and the reason I kept going over that yearbook was the fact that my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, didn't play...something that crushed me as a 9 year old Tigers favorite player wasn't going to play  in the one and only game I'd be at for another year.

The Tigers beat the ChiSox that night, 8-0, a complete game shutout for Cy Young Award Winner Denny McLain, who won his 16th game of the '69 season.

Bill Freehan's backup, Jim Price, was 0-2, with two walks, and a run scored.

As I said, my Uncle Bob to us to Tiger Stadium every year between 1967-74, until he married my Aunt Karen in '74 (?), and started his own family.

As an adult I managed to get back to the grand old ballpark a few times, including the last weekend of the 1999 season, and I was in attendance at the next to last game, a win over the Kansas City Royals.

The next day, as ai sat in my hotel room right fown the street, the Tigers beat the Royals again, and that was it, the last game to ever be played by my team at the greatest ballpark I've ever seen a baseball game at.

From the Original, Bennett Park, to Navin Field, then Briggs Stadium, and finally Tiger Stadium, over 100 years of big league baseball was played at The Corner. 

For those of you who never got to watch a ballgame at Tiger Stadium, I'm sincerely sorry for you.

I think sometimes about how great it would've been to go to old Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, a place that was gone before I was born, so I could see the great Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella play at one of the great ballparks ever built.

Those old parks, Ebbetts Field, Tiger Stadium, the original Yankee Stadium, Crosley Field, The Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, thry all had a certain ambiance about them...something that Fenway Park and Wrigley Field still have...a link to the glorious past of our National Pastime.

While Comerica Park is a terrific ballpark, it simply cannot, and shouldn't, replace Tiger Stadium...Comerica will, in time, will carve out its own heritage to new generations of Tigers fans.

If you're inclined to, please leave a comment about TigerStadium in the comments section, or hit me up on Twitter... @freehan11 ...I love talking baseball, especially Tigers baseball, with other fans.

Go Tigers!


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