The Original Tiger Stadium – The “Most Famous Corner” in Detroit
What's the most famous corner in Detroit? It just happens to be Michigan @ Trumbull, the home of one of the most famous baseball stadiums in the history of baseball: Tiger Stadium. The stadium is sadly (and unnecessarily) no longer there. From 1912 to 1999 – 87 years – Detroiters, Michiganders, and people from all over the country came here to enjoy baseball.
Although Michigan baseball fans will always refer to that corner as the “home of Tiger Stadium”, it didn't start out that way after it was first constructed. It went through a handful of names before it acquired its iconic moniker.
In the 1880s, Charlie Bennett was a catcher for the Detroit Wolverines baseball club and was one of the team's best players. In 1894, he had been with the Boston Beaneaters for five years when his career came to a halt. A train accident caused such severe damage to Charlie, that he lost both his legs. Not forgetting about their old friend, when the Detroit Tigers unveiled their brand new ballpark in 1896 at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street, they named it Bennett Park in Charlie's honor.
The 'Bennett Park' moniker lasted for a full 16 years, when the stadium underwent another change.....actually, it was torn down. The Bennett Park stadium had been made of wood, which, after 16 years, was deteriorating badly. The bleachers were wood, the grandstand was wood, the roof was wood, and the outfield had ropes that marked homers and foul balls. So in 1911, Tiger owner Frank Navin had Bennett Park demolished and a new concrete & steel stadium erected. The new stadium opened on April 20, 1912, just five days after the sinking of the Titanic. The name 'Bennett Park' was gone. Should they name it 'Tiger Stadium'? Of course not. They named it after the man who had it built...so 'Navin Field' it was. One of the coolest things about the history of Tiger Stadium is that legendary Cleveland Naps (later 'Indians') ball player “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was the first player to score a run in the park. 'Navin Field' continued until 1935 when yet another name change was deemed necessary.
Navin passed away in 1935 and Walter Briggs took over. He expanded the crowd capacity to a whoppin' 53,000, so therefore, the ball park now had a new name: Briggs Stadium.
Another 26 years go by – 1961 - and now the Tigers are handled by new owner John Fetzer. Fetzer took the initiative and finally did it right: the stadium was now and forever (wishful thinking) called TIGER STADIUM.
30+ years go by and now the city is seriously wanting a brand new stadium. Even though the Detroit fans campaigned fiercely to keep the current location, their petitions, meetings, pleadings, and desires were dashed when ground was broken in October 1997 for a new Tiger Stadium. But now, the Tigers once again had their team handle erased from the name, making way for the labeling of 'Comerica Park'.
Comerica Park is located at 2100 Woodward Avenue.....but if you really wanna get a feel of Detroit Tigers legends, history, and memories – basically what Detroit Tiger baseball was truly all about - go to the corner of Michigan & Trumbull. Better yet, walk around that entire block to get better views.
Take a look at the gallery below, showing photos when Tiger Stadium was known as Bennett Park, Navin Park, and Briggs Park.