But Saturday afternoon we stood on the field where Ty Cobb and Al Kaline played, and Trammell and Whitaker turned double plays. Gone were the fans and the stands, the bustle and noise. All that remained was the flagpole in centerfield, the infield with a somewhat tamped down mound and a grassy field slowly losing a battle to weeds.
Exiting I-75 to get a closer view, we noticed that the large gate in the chain-link fence surrounding most of the site was wide open.
We moved to the spot where home plate was removed in a ceremony after that final game, and the mound seemed closer than I would have imagined. I can see how intimidating it must have been for a Tiger batter to stand there and see Randy Johnson scowling and dealing.
I’m glad the city left something standing, but the pole will need some work if its going to function ever again. Some of the wires that held the flags were twisted in a pile of knots at the base. Someone scrawled a tribute to Ernie Harwell.
We explored a little more, picking up some rubble with flecks of blue paint for souvenirs, before taking a last look and heading back through the gate.
I just recently returned from a fact-finding mission for Ballpark E-Guides, and Detroit was one of the stops. Of course I stopped by Michigan and Trumbull, and it's really hard to believe that a great stadium once stood there.
I really hope they do something with the space that pays tribute to the memories of Tiger Stadium. I think it would be great as a Little League or instructional field.
Wow, this is heartbreaking. I was last in Detroit in 2002, and the whole stadium was still standing then. Quite a shock to see these pictures, even though I shouldn't really be surprised.
Someday I'm going to take a trip to the site where Memorial once stood in Baltimore. Love Camden Yards, but I STILL miss that old girl.
Great post Dave.
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