Tiger Stadium was the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League. The 1960's and 1970's brought the demise of most of the original classic major league ballparks; Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, Forbes Field, Crosley Field, Sportsman's Park, Yankee Stadium and so on. A few survived the carnage, but the 90's have picked them off one by one. Comiskey Park fell in 1990 and Cleveland Stadium was sunk into Lake Erie in 1996. Only three remained... and then there were two.
1999 was the final season of baseball at Tiger Stadium, which has stood in some form or another under one name or another at the corner of Trumbull and Michigan since 1912. The new Comerica Park began hosting the Tigers in 2000 while the old home was left to slowly fade away and finally meet the wrecking ball.
Review by Mike
Tiger Stadium was a classic double-decked urban ballpark. Squeezed into a city block, the second deck sat right on top of the lower deck. The seats down below were claustrophobic and really not very good, to be honest. The upper deck and the pillars obscured much of the view. The best seats were upstairs where the structure looms over the field giving a great overall view while maintaining an intimacy so essential to great baseball viewing.
The great roof was supported by a complex lattice of girders and I-beams, as was the upper deck, access to which was achieved by crossing bridges through the web of steel while looking down at the people sitting below.
The sight of these two levels wrapped so closely around the field on all four sides was awesome and so intimate as to be utterly unique and nearly extinct. Wrigley is wonderful, but it is open in the outfield, so that it's close seating doesn't generate the wonderful claustrophobia of Tiger Stadium, where the whole world is shut out and all you see is baseball with a ballpark pressing down on the field, straining to give every fan the closest possible view.
Sadly, Tigers management let the park go to seed somewhat at the end. The steelwork was rusting and unpainted and a sense of decay pervaded the place. Parking did not exist, concessions were badly run, and vendors didn't seem to care whether they sold their merchandise or not.
Regardless, I am grateful for having seen this gem of a ballpark before it met it's sad and unworthy end. The ballpark seemed capable of supporting a full renovation. Wider aisles, modern amenities, new seats, and so forth. This park did not need to die, but I am confident that the legend and memories of this grand baseball palace on Trumbull never will.