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 TIGERS BALLPARKS

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PostSubject: TIGERS BALLPARKS   Fri May 01, 2009 5:10 pm

Ballparks: 1901 - Present

As the last lights faded into darkness above Tiger Stadium on September 27, 1999, a long, storied era in baseball history came to an end at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. For over a century, the cross streets at The Corner marked one of the most famous and best-loved addresses in baseball as generations of fans cheered for their favorite Tigers and relived the memories of their youth at the old ballpark.

But when the gates swung open at the Tigers' new home, Comerica Park, on April 11, 2000, the baseball memories and fan devotion that made Tiger Stadium a haven for fans young and wasn't diminished. Fans can walk down memory lane each time they visit Comerica Park's "Walking Hall of Fame," stretching around the park's lower concourse with a larger-than-life collection of memorabilia, photos, and great Tiger baseball moments.

Tiger Stadium was synonymous with "The Corner" for years, yet its humble beginnings weren't so easily defined by major streets and landmarks. The geography of The Corner dates back to 1895, when Tigers owner George Vanderbeck arranged for a new ballpark to be built on the Western Market haymarket and dogpound site at the northwest corner of Michigan and Trumbull avenues. The land was covered with elm and oak trees, many of which predated the American Revolution. Nonetheless, Vanderbeck ordered the trees to be removed, sparing eight - three near the left-field foul line and five in the deepest part of left-center field. The trees remained as part of the park until 1900.

.............

1901-1911



Bennett Park occupied "The Corner" (AP)

Bennett Park


The park featured an "L" shaped wooden grandstand with a peaked wooden roof. The position of the diamond was less than desirable for left handed batters, who had to directly face the afternoon sun as the plate occupied what is today the right field corner. Overflow fans from the bleacher-style seats around the infield were permitted to stand behind roped-off areas in the outfield, which caused understandable difficulties for outfielders attempting to spear fly balls. Bennett Park's total area sat on roughly half the acreage of Tiger Stadium. The left field fence bordered the alley along National (now Cochrane) Drive, and a large lumber mill occupied the property that is today Kaline Drive.

Much to the dismay of the Tigers' management, many fans watched the early Bennett Park games from "wildcat" bleachers, towering, teetering structures that were erected on the surrounding private property and operated by profit-minded locals. The concept started in the 1880s, and the rogue seating structures were actually defended in court by the city. The seats cost five or ten cents, depending on the relative "quality" of location and were often over 50 feet above ground.

Because of the city's strict "blue laws," baseball in Detroit and many other cities was forbidden on Sundays as ministers expected their congregations to spend Sundays in quiet reflection instead of at rambunctious baseball contests. James D. Burns, the owner that purchased the team from Vanderbeck in 1900, sidestepped the issue by hosting Sunday games on his own property in Springwells Township, just outside Detroit's city limits on Dix between Livernois and Waterman. Rowdy crowds packed the stands at Burns Park's makeshift field, with the first official Sunday game at Bennett Field not to come until 1907.

Legendary names like Ty Cobb, outfielder "Wahoo Sam" Crawford, Herman "Germany" Schaefer and manager Hughie Jennings piloted the Tigers of the early 20th century to several postseason appearances. Yet while the fervor for Tigers baseball continued to grow, the large, often rowdy crowds found themselves packed into a small stadium that could no longer sustain the wear and tear.

.............

1912-1937

Navin Field


After three heartbreaking World Series losses, two in a row to Chicago in 1907-08 and to the Pirates in 1909, owner Frank Navin knew it was time for a change. He had seen the fans packed into Pittsburgh's new Forbes Field, and resolved to bring the same first-class stadium to Detroit. Over the winter of 1911, Osborn Engineering Company of Cleveland designed a concrete-and-steel structure that seated 23,000, nearly five times the capacity of Bennett Park. The $300,000 project would have cost about $50 million by today's standards, featuring a giant scoreboard in left field, a relocated home plate that kept batters eyes out of the afternoon sun, and a 125-foot flagpole in center field that would be the tallest obstacle ever built in fair territory in a major league park.

On April 12, 1912, 26,000 fans crammed into the park for Navin Field's opening day , postponed two days from its planned inaugural date because of rain. On the same day in Boston, brand-new Fenway Park hosted its first contest, as well. Much attention, however, was diverted in newspapers the next morning by news of the sinking of the Titanic.

The opening of Navin Field in 1912 was widely recognized as the beginning of Tiger Stadium. The changes in 1912, however, were short-lived.

Over the next 26 years, three more major expansions and renovations changed the look and name of the facility. While the additions were necessary, the original 1912 plans did not anticipate such change, and the facility was challenged to accommodate the dramatic updates to the structure.

In 1924, the original stands from first-to-third base were double-decked (increasing capacity to 30,000) and a press box was built on the roof. After Navin passed away in 1935, new owner Walter Briggs carried out Navin's wish for further improvements, and an enlarged facility with room for 36,000 was unveiled to the public on Opening Day in 1936.

.............

1938-1960



Aerial view of Briggs Stadium in 1951. (AP)

Briggs Stadium


In 1938, Cherry Street, the northern boundary of the park, was closed, enabling the completion of larger, double-decked stands in left and centerfield that essentially enclosed the park. Renamed Briggs Stadium, seating was enlarged by nearly half to 53,000, giving the facility the basic structure that remained for the next 60 years.

Also in 1938, the Detroit Lions began a relationship with the stadium, playing their home games at the facility. From 1934 (the beginning of the Lions) through 1937, the football team's home was at the University of Detroit Stadium, a facility that they returned to for one season in 1940. Other than that, each Lions home contest from 1938 through 1974 was played at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.

In 1948, a field lighting system was installed, making the stadium the last in the American League to install lights. Then in 1961, when John Fetzer assumed club ownership, the name of the facility was officially changed to Tiger Stadium.

.............

1961-1999



Aerial view of Tiger Stadium in 1968 (AP)

Tiger Stadium


In its last 32 seasons, Tiger Stadium was home to a pair of additional World Series champions in 1968 and 1984. The 1968 club was the first in Tigers history to achieve the two million mark in attendance, and the 1984 club used a 35-5 start out of the gate to attract a club-record 2,704,794 fans. From 1912 to 1999, more than 102 million fans passed through Tiger Stadium's turnstiles.

A Final Farewell


The city, the fans and former Tigers from the last 70 years gathered to give the stadium a grand sendoff on September 27. One mile away at Comerica Park, there was little to disturb the peace as work ceased and many of the workers were in attendance at The Corner's Final Game. The day belonged to Tiger Stadium and its rich tradition.

Todd Jones' final strike-three pitch settled into catcher Brad Ausmus' glove at 7:07 p.m. as flashbulbs popped, and a roar shook the ballpark as the Tigers wrapped up an 8-2 win in the stadium's finale. A poignant banner hung from the upper deck expressed the sentiments of most of the sell-out crowd, reading, "Today, there is crying in baseball. Goodbye old friend."

Post-game ceremonies aimed to capture many of the memories created at Tiger Stadium, with nearly 70 former and current Tigers taking the field one final time. Fans cheered as each of their favorites ran out onto the field, with such notables as Al Kaline, Kirk Gibson, Willie Horton, Gates Brown, Mark Fidrych, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker on hand for a final appearance on Tiger Stadium's hallowed field. A flag bearing the commemorative logo for the stadium's final year was lowered and passed down a line or dignitaries including Michigan Governor John Engler and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, all 70 players, and relatives of 1800s Detroit baseball legend Charlie Bennett and team owners Frank Navin and Walter Briggs.

The ceremony also included the relocation of Tiger Stadium's home plate to Comerica Park with the assistance of a police motorcade and Tigers players Matt Anderson, Jeff Weaver and Francisco Cordero along with Comerica Bank Chairman Gene Miller and local Detroit little leaguers. Elden Auker, Tigers pitcher from 1933-38, tossed a final ceremonial pitch to Ausmus to end the memorable evening. As each light standard went dark, longtime Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell delivered a moving final farewell, forever etching the memory of this special night into the hearts and minds of Tigers fans.

.............

2000-Present



Comerica Park Opening Day 2004 (AP)

Comerica Park

In April of 2000, The Detroit News produced a commemorative section on the Detroit Tigers' first game at their new home, Comerica Park. A quote from the headlining story read as follows:

"Comerica Park is expected to make the Detroit Tigers part of baseball's nouveau riche..."

Those who have visited the ballpark agree with the expectations. A carousel. A ferris wheel. A mammoth water feature in center field that can be choreographed to any music. a decade-by-decade pedestrian museum enveloping the main concourse. But wait, there is also a field with a game being played as well. These are but a few examples of what Comerica Park introduced to fans visiting downtown Detroit in the summer of 2000.

Groundbreaking for the $300 million project took place on October 29, 1997. More than 60 percent of the financing is private, with the rest contributed from public sources. In the time since groundbreaking, the design has continued to evolve. The resulting goal realized is a combination of a classic design for the seating area with amusement and entertainment features that are unique to Comerica Park.


Last edited by TigersForever on Fri May 01, 2009 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: TIGERS BALLPARKS   Fri May 01, 2009 5:17 pm



Raising the Expectations

In April of 2000, The Detroit News produced a commemorative section on the Detroit Tigers' first game at their new home, Comerica Park. A quote from the headlining story read as follows:

"Comerica Park is expected to make the Detroit Tigers part of baseball's nouveau riche..."

Those who have visited the ballpark agree with the expectations. A carousel. A ferris wheel. A mammoth water feature in center field that can be choreographed to any music. a decade-by-decade pedestrian museum enveloping the main concourse. But wait, there is also a field with a game being played as well. These are but a few examples of what Comerica Park introduced to fans visiting downtown Detroit in the summer of 2000.

Groundbreaking for the $300 million project took place on October 29, 1997. More than 60 percent of the financing is private, with the rest contributed from public sources. In the time since groundbreaking, the design has continued to evolve. The resulting goal realized is a combination of a classic design for the seating area with amusement and entertainment features that are unique to Comerica Park.

Tigers owner Mike Ilitch played a direct role in designing the facility and brought years of family entertainment experience to the process.

"If the fans feel the pride that this is their park, and a pride of ownership, then we've accomplished what we set out to do," said Ilitch.

An Urban Village
Comerica Park itself is built around the configuration of the playing field. All planning efforts established fan sight lines as the highest priority. The surrounding "outbuildings," however, conform to the property boundaries of Montcalm, Witherell, Adams, and Brush Streets.

As one enters these boundaries, Comerica Park appears rooted at the center of an urban village, a village that includes shops, restaurants, offices, and other attractions. Eight, two- and three-story buildings of varying sizes and heights make up this village of outbuildings which houses many of the service facilities surrounding the park. Roughly 70,000 square feet of retail space is included and another 36,000 square feet is dedicated to Tigers offices. The result is a landscape that blends into the surrounding street life of Foxtown.

And with no upper deck outfield seats, no ballpark offers a better view of a downtown skyline than Comerica Park.

The Concourses
The concourses are among the most generous of any facility. The minimum width of the main concourse is 40 feet, with wider concourses in many areas. The upper concourse is approximately 34 feet wide. The general standard for concourses in existing ballparks is 32 feet in width. Concourses at old Tiger Stadium were between 17 and 27 feet on the lower level and measured 11 feet behind the last row of the lower deck and 11 feet in the upper level.

The Walk of Fame
Touring the main concourse, fans are taken through time on a tour of baseball and lifestyle history. The concourse is divided into different eras from the 20th century, and as the fan progresses on his or her walk, they move into a different time frame of history. Decade Monuments covering two decades each are placed throughout the concourse, towering from floor to ceiling and featuring artifacts from the appropriate eras. Heading into the next century, plans call for "The Walking Museum" to be incorporated into the upper concourse as well.

The Scoreboard
Comerica Park features a main scoreboard that is one of the largest in baseball. The face of the structure, in fact, is equivalent to the size of the face of the Fox Theatre Office Building facing Woodward Avenue (180' wide). The structure includes one video screen (42'x24'), one large black and white matrix board with the line score (64'x34'), and a color matrix board (42'x24').

Concessions Facilities and Food Court
Typical ballparks have a point of sale (register) for every 200 fans; Comerica Park abbreviates the wait with one point of sale for every 125 fans. Among the features are the "Brushfire Grill" barbecue area behind third base and the Big Cat Court food area behind first base, with a wide range of snacks, sandwiches, frozen treats, and other great munchies.

Carousel, Ferris Wheel, and Water Feature

In the middle of the food court, a merry-go-round is available for the young and young-at-heart, with patrons riding atop tigers instead of horses. Behind the Brushfire Grill stands a baseball-themed ferris wheel. Center field features a giant water feature, "Liquid Fireworks"," that synchronizes music to spraying fountains of water.

Seating Levels and Capacities

There are approximately 23,000 seats in the lower bowl of Comerica Park and 2,000 in the two suite levels. There are roughly 11,000 in the main upper deck. From just past first base to the right-field foul line there is a section with 4,000 seats that does not have a suite level. Therefore, the upper deck in this level is approximately 15 feet lower and closer to the field than the main upper deck.

Premium Seating Areas
Comerica Park features five premium seating areas. The Tiger Den was the first of its kind in baseball. Located at the upper rows of the lower bowl, it resembles the fashionable boxes at old-time sporting venues with moveable chairs. A private Tiger Den lounge is available for patrons. The first five rows of the upper bowl have been designated as Club Seats. Another premium seating area is located in the lowest rows of the lower bowl, called On-Deck Circle seats. Additionally, there are two levels of suites, which includes several party suites that are available for individual game rental. The Champions Club is a premium seating area that combines the space of nine suites into a private club. Members enjoy a free buffet meal, private bar, plasma-screen TV's and the memorabilia case which holds the Tigers 1968 & 1984 World Series trophies.

The Tiger Club
The Tiger Club, open on a membership basis, features approximately 20,000 square feet of entertaining space. There is seating for 300 overlooking the playing field in right field, a bar for 200, a cigar bar, and banquet facility.

Special Needs Access
Comerica Park complies with all guidelines of the ADA. In completing the facility, the Tigers worked extensively with organizations including The Paralyzed Veterans of America's Michigan Chapter and the Michigan Commission for the Blind to ensure accessibility for all fans and a great baseball experience for every guest who enters Comerica Park.

Gated Entrances
There are three main gated entrances to Comerica Park, each featuring attractions on a grand scale. Among the features are immense 80-foot high baseball bats framing the gates, tiger sculptures, and Pewabic tile accents.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: TIGERS BALLPARKS   Fri May 01, 2009 6:30 pm

Historic Pictures

1901-1911 - Bennett Park



Opening Day



Bennett Park


Home of Detroit Tigers, 1901 to 1911

BUILT: 1896

CAPACITY: 5,000 (1896); 8,500 (1901); 14,000 (1910)

FIRST GAME: April 25, 1901, vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Tigers 14, Brewers 13)

LAST GAME: September 10, 1911, vs. Cleveland Naps (Tigers 2, Indians 1, 13 innings)

HIGH SEASON ATTENDANCE: 490,490 (1909)

LOW SEASON ATTENDANCE: 174,043 (1906)



Constructed in 1896, Bennett Park was located at Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit's predominantly Irish Sixth Ward, an area known as "Corkstown". Built where Tiger Stadium stands today, the park was named after catcher Charlie Bennett of the National League's Detroit Wolverines, who lost both legs after being run over by a train in 1894, and who threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the season for the Tigers every year through 1926. The park was located on the site of Woodbridge Grove, the farm of Michigan Governor and United States Senator William Woodbridge, and Detroit's old Haymarket, where farmers weighed and sold their hay. The field was quite hastily constructed by covering cobblestones of the market with topsoil. Thus, the infield was very rocky, and the outfield also turned marshy with any rain. In addition, the sun shone directly into the eyes of the batter in late afternoons. The park was built of wood and was surrounded by "wildcat bleachers", seats on rooftops just outside the park.

Charlie Bennett

Shallow bleachers were constructed for the 1901 season, but overflow crowds were often forced to sit in the deep outfield. In their first game here, on April 25, 1901, the Detroit Tigers pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history. They were down thirteen to four to Milwaukee going into the bottom of the ninth inning but rallied to score ten runs in the inning and beat the Brewers 14 to 13. Sunday games were not permitted here during the Tigers' first two seasons in the park, so they had to play in Burns Park on Sundays. By the mid-1900s, the Tigers had become a very competitive team, led by Ty Cobb, and the World Series was played in Bennett Park for three straight seasons, 1907 through 1909. During this time, the area around home plate, nicknamed "Cobb's Lake", was kept soaked by groundskeepers to help keep Ty Cobb's bunts fair. By 1911, Bennett Park was the smallest ballpark in the majors, and after the season the park was demolished to make way for Tiger Stadium, which still stands on the same spot.


1912-1937 - Navin Field









Tigers owner Frank Navin decided that he needed a new steel-and-concrete ballpark to handle the growing popularity of his beloved Detroit Tigers. In the winter of 1911, he had Bennett Park demolished and the Tigers acquired the property from National (now Cochrane) St and Cherry (now Kaline) St. Home plate was moved to the corner of National and Michigan, which consequently moved right field to the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. Navin Field opened on April 20, 1912 with a capacity of 23,000. Due to factors such as the game's rising popularity and the bustling population of Detroit, Navin decided to increase capacity for the 1923 season. During the winter of 1922-23, the grandstands from first to third base were double-decked, increasing capacity to 30,000. The park would remain in this configuration for the next 11 seasons.


1938-1960 - Briggs Stadium



1948

In 1938 the stadium was renamed after Walter Briggs, the new owner of the Tigers.


1961-1999 - Tiger Stadium
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PostSubject: Re: TIGERS BALLPARKS   Mon May 18, 2009 9:34 pm

Tiger Stadium half torn down now
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PostSubject: Re: TIGERS BALLPARKS   Mon May 18, 2009 9:34 pm

Sad!
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PostSubject: Re: TIGERS BALLPARKS   Mon May 18, 2009 9:43 pm

very sad


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: TIGERS BALLPARKS   Wed May 20, 2009 4:19 pm

Hard to even drive by it when I go to Comerica Park
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