It’s hard to imagine any other building in Detroit stirring up such strong emotional reactions for so many people as Tiger Stadium. And everyone’s reasons are unique and special.
For some, Tiger Stadium is the first place they remember visiting with their father or grandfather. Back when, there weren’t a whole lot of things that kids were able to do at an adult level — but attending a Major League baseball game was one of them. Spending quality time with a parent who worked full-time in a factory was a rare and special thing. A visit to The Corner was an escape from the harsh realities that most Detroiters faced in their lives.
For others, their memories of Tiger Stadium revolve around special events that took place on the field: Seeing Al Kaline in person for the first time; Attending an All-Star Game or World Series; Watching Mark Fidrych work his magic from the mound; Skipping work or school to attend Opening Day; knowing you’re in a place where every baseball great from Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth to Willie Mays and Hank Aaron practiced their craft.
For all Detroiters, the confines of Tiger Stadium provided a refuge from every day life. It was a place of happiness, a place of hope, a place of dreams and memories. It was a remnant of more joyful times in The Motor City. A time when Detroit was on the cutting-edge of industry and culture.
It’s sad to see it in its current state: a mass of twisted steel and crumbled concrete awaiting its journey to the local garbage dump. In the end, the politics — the corrupt politics — of Detroit proved to be too much for Tiger Stadium to overcome.
On September 21, 2009 at 9:24am, the last remaining piece of Tiger Stadium fell to the ground. The Detroit Free Press video below captures the sad event and includes commentary from some nearby observers.
Rest in peace, old friend. You served us well. You may be gone, but you’ll never be forgotten.