My Memories Of Tiger Stadium
I'm 47 years old now. And thankfully, I am old enough to have attended Detroit Tigers games at "The Corner" of Michigan & Trumball in Detroit. That would be Tiger Stadium (seen above on its final game in 1999).
I know Mad Dog wrote about his memories about the old ballpark some time ago. But as I was watching the Tigers play the New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Comerica Park, I couldn't help but think of my memories of the great, historic stadium. And my favorite things about it.
MY FIRST GAME AT TIGER STADIUM
I was seven years old and my Dad and I (plus a family friend, Jake Spray and his son, J.J.) made the four hour trip from Gaylord, MI down to Detroit to watch the Tigers play the Texas Rangers. I had to look up the exact date of the game, but it occurred on July 24th, 1982. Our seats were in the right field stands right behind the fair pole. I remember a guy named Jerry Turner hit a big home off of Rangers pitcher Doc Medich, and the crowd, which seemed larger than life to me because it was so big, just erupted!! I had never heard a crowd like that erupt before. It was something to behold.
I also remember Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg (who was a very good catcher in the 80's) go to the visitors bullpen late in the game to warm up a relief pitcher (they didn't have bullpen catchers back in those days). Remember those cages that the relievers had to sit in??!! Oh yeah, BTW, the Tigers won that day 3-1 on the strength of that Jerry Turner dinger.
But two other things stick out to me about the game. The smell and taste of the Ball Park franks (which was the best thing ever to me as a seven year old). And hearing an older gentleman go up and down the aisle screaming "Jumbo Pretzels!!! Get your Jumbo Pretzels, right here!!!!" We call those people "Hawkers" at Jackson Field for the Lugnuts.
MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE BALLPARK
You knew you were getting close when you could smell the Ball Park franks a block away. And unless you had an obstructed seat, there wasn't a bad seat in the place.
I sat behind third base and in the left field stands at other games. But in 1994, me and about 6-7 friends of mine watched the Tigers play the Texas Rangers from the center field bleachers. That was something to see. You could see the whole field except for deep center field (right below you). And there were very "interesting" people sitting way out there. One person sticks out more than any other. Three rows behind us, there was a guy who looked like a cross between Charles Manson and Jesus Christ himself!! I'm not kidding!!!
I know Comerica Park has all the modern amenities you have to have in a modern ballpark. But I miss Tiger Stadium. The atmosphere, the Wave (which started in Detroit in 1984), the smell of it, even the obstructed views had a charm to it. It's not as glamourous as the old Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, or even Dodger Stadium. But it was OURS!! It really belonged to the people of Michigan and Tiger fans everywhere. I loved it.
Tell us about your memories of Tiger Stadium!!!