It’s time for Detroit to learn from Cleveland and preserve Tiger Stadium diamond field

The field at Michigan and Trumbull is kept up by a group of volunteers, but the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan has neglected it and blocked any plans to preserve it.

The field at Michigan and Trumbull is kept up by a group of volunteers, but the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan has neglected it and blocked any plans to preserve it.

If Cleveland can do it, why can’t Detroit?

Have you ever heard that one before?

Well Cleveland has done it again.

In February the New York Times announced to the world in an article tagged, “Bringing Back History and a Neighborhood”, that the City of Cleveland was renovating the grounds where League Park once stood.

Located at Lexington and 66th Street in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood, League Park was home to the Cleveland Indians from 1901 until 1946. Beginning in the mid-1930s the team also played at Municipal Stadium which became the ballclub’s permanent home after the 1946 season.

Cy Young threw the first pitch there in 1891 when it first opened as a wooden structure, Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run, and Joe DiMaggio hit two singles and a double in the 56th and final game of his record hitting streak in 1941 at League Park.

Since it was torn down in 1951, all that has stood on the site has been the original ticket office building and part of the wall as the diamond was obliterated by weeds and neglect. For several decades Cleveland leaders and residents have advocated restoring League Park.

Finally, this year it was announced that the $6.3 million project, financed primarily through park bond funds and a $150,000 cultural preservation grant from the state will feature the construction of a baseball diamond aligned as it was during its major league heyday, and renovation of the ticket office that will serve as a baseball museum. The field will also be used for soccer and football games as well as concerts and other events. A second base diamond and children’s park surrounded by a winding walking track are also to be built on the property. The project also includes nearby residential and commercial renovation.

The New York Times reported, “City officials and community leaders believe that the baseball grounds renovation will accelerate the neighborhood’s resurgence after decades of decline.”

So when will we as a community finally get its act together and preserve the diamond at Michigan and Trumbull that hosted nine World Series, three Major League All-Star games, two NFL Title games, and where 204 Baseball Hall of Famers once played?

Here in Detroit we have the opportunity to once and for all preserve our historic diamond at Michigan and Trumbull that for the last couple of years has been maintained by a loyal force of volunteers lead by Tom Derry of the Navin Field Grounds Crew.

Senator Carl Levin still holds earmarked funds of more than $3 million dollars that can be used in a renovation project, and the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy apparently stands ready to help implement a plan that could make this site a true asset to Corktown and the greater community.

It’s time for those who stand in the way to step aside, lend a hand, and do the right thing.

Once again, if we have to look across Lake Erie and have that city inspire us, well, so be it.


View another video on League Park and renovation plans for the League Park field.

9 replies on “It’s time for Detroit to learn from Cleveland and preserve Tiger Stadium diamond field

  • Mary

    Great article, Bill! What a treasure it would be for generations to come, if we could keep the Corner alive! We KNOW it can be done. It is such a joy to spend time there – thanks to the Navin Field Grounds Crew, it remains the Field of Dreams!

  • Hank

    It’ll never happen. Tiger Stadium was a Detroit institution which came to symbolize the conflict between the interests of the suburbanites and the interests of city residents, and for decades, Detroit city administrators have never passed up the opportunity to say “F*** you” to the suburbanites. Michigan and Trumbull is just one well-placed kickback away from being the site of a 24-hour Amscot.

  • Leo McNeil

    It won’t happen because black city leaders view Tiger Stadium as something whites loved and the Tigers as a white team. They won’t do anything if they think it benefits whites. That’s the sad, racist state of the City of Detroit these days.

  • Eddie Gleeson

    Thanks Bill! We are attempting to do the same thing here in Duluth with our historic Wade Stadium. Finished in 1940, the Wade (as we call it) is one of the last remaining WPA ballparks still standing. Last winter a large section on our first baseline came tumbling down, finally prompting action by a few politicians (after years of complaints and lobbying by individual citizens). A bond initiative will be floated again before the Minnesota legislature to rebuild and mildly modify the Wade. My fondest memories of baseball occurred at the Wade and Tiger Stadium growing up. Every summer we travelled to our cottage in Leamington and stopped in Detroit for shopping and at least two or three Tiger games. How I long for the smells of historic Tiger Stadium and the sight of its bright green grass with the sounds of vendors and the crack of bat on ball! God bless you and the likes of Tom Derry for keeping Detroit’s heritage alive!

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