Tiger Stadium opened it's doors to the fans on April 20, 1912. Located at 2121 Trumbull Avenue in Detroit, it originally cost $300,000 to construct.
Detroit Tiger owner George Vanderbeck built a new ball park for his baseball club. Bennett Park was constructed of wooden grandstands, wooden bleachers and a peaked, wooden roof. Part of the outfield was only designated with rope.
By 1911, new Tiger owner Frank Navin wanted a new baseball stadium. He ordered Bennett Park torn down and a new ball park built on the same site. Tiger Stadium was the result. This time the stadium would be built from concrete and steel, and would seat 23,000 fans. "Navin Field" opened the same day as the Red Sox Fenway Park.
Frank Navin died in 1935 and new owner Walter Briggs decided it was time to expand. The seating capacity grew to 36,000 by extending the upper deck to the foul poles and across right field. The street behind the baseball stadium was moved in 1938. This allowed left field to become double decked. The newly named Briggs Stadium now held 53,000 fans.
Things remained pretty much the same until 1961. John Fetzer became the newest Detroit Tiger owner and gave the ball park it's permanent name, Tiger Stadium. It was here that the Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 World Series, with such stars as Mickey Lolich and Al Kaline.
Another rennovation took place in 1977. The Detroit Tiger baseball club turned over the ownership of Tiger Stadium to the city of Detroit. The first thing changed was the wooden seats. They were replaced with blue and orange plastic seats and the interior of the satdium was painted blue to match.
By 1992, the Tigers had yet another owner. Mike Ilitch who was the founder of Little Caesar's Pizza, added the Tiger Den and Tiger Plaza. The Tiger Den was an area in the lower deck between first and third base that had padded seats and section waiters. The Tiger Plaza was constructed in the old players parking lot and consisted of many concessionaires and a gift shop.
After the 1994 season, it was apparent that the old faithful ball park was in much need of repair. Plans were being drawn for a brand new baseball stadium. A huge ground swell of support was in place to save Tiger Stadium but to no avail. New baseball stadiums were popping up through out the league and the Detroit Tigers would have one too.
The Detroit Tigers played their last game at Tiger Stadium on September 27, 1999. Tigers from the past were on hand for the emotional, post game ceremony. The next season, 2000, the Tigers moved into brand new Comerica Park.
Since it's closing, Tiger Stadium has sat quietly, mostly unused. In the summer of 2000, the movie "61" was filmed at Detroit's old ball park. It was painted to resemble Yankee Stadium and an artificial "back drop" was added to make it look like the New York skyline. During the closing credits, it read that Yankee Stadium was played by Tiger Stadium.
By 2006, Tiger Stadium had been neglected to the point that there were trees and other vegetation growing in the stands. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick issued an announcement on June 15, that demolision would begin in the fall of 2006. Parts of the grand old baseball stadium would be preserved. The development will include a ring of shops and condominiums around the baseball field, which will be converted into a public park.
Tiger Stadium Dimensions:
Left Field at Tiger Stadium was at 340 feet. The right field foul pole was at 325 feet. The left center power alley was a rather short 365 and the right center alley was 370. Center Field was a long 440 feet and the backstop was 66 feet behind home plate.
Three major league Baseball All Star Games were held here. 1941, 1951 and 1971.
Tiger Stadium hosted six World Series. 1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968 and 1984.
The Yankee's Lou Gehrig ended his streak of 2,130 consecutive games.
Reggie Jackson homers off the light transformer on the right field roof during the 1971 All Star Game.