of fair territory: 113,000 sq. ft.
of foul territory: Small
6.5 ft, except CF (5.5 ft)
attendance: 402,870 (1912).
Worst-season attendance: 320,972 (1933).
Best-season attendance: 2,704,794 (1984).
Who Played Here: Detroit
First Opened: April 20, 1912
First night game: June 15,1948
Last Tigers game: September 27, 1999
Architect: Osborn Engineering
Owner: City of Detroit
Tiger Stadium was a large square with rounded corners, a nice old park
that has a lot of charm and character but that has been rendered by the
passage of time into a relic. It grew up with modern Detroit.
Here, Detroiters witnessed triumphs athleticism and the ending of
the disgrace of racially segregated sports. The old ballpark saw
highlights - the Tigers 1984 miracle season, and the stadium's most famous
home run: a mammoth home run by Reggie Jackson off a light tower atop the
right-field roof during the 1971 All-Star Game - and lowlights, such as
October 9, 1934, when in the sixth inning of Game Seven of the World
Series, with the Tigers trailing St. Louis 9-0, Tiger fans pelted the
Cardinals' Joe Medwick with so much garbage and debris he was forced to
leave the field for his own safety.
Tiger Stadium opened on the same date as Boston's Fenway
Park and was built on the same site as Bennett Park, where the Tigers
began playing professional baseball. Originally called Navin Field
(after team owner Frank Navin), the ballpark changed its name to Briggs
Stadium in 1938 and finally to Tiger Stadium in 1961; through the name
changes, and the nearly three decades (1938-1974) that it was home to
football's Detroit Lions, the intersection of Michigan and Trumbull was
always a field of play for the Detroit Tigers. (The Lions now play
at the nearby Pontiac Silverdome).
Architecturally, Tiger Stadium is a hodge podge of additions and mistakes
that led to an accidentally wonderful aesthetic. Spiritually, it
provided an island of consistency in a sea of change in 20th Century
metropolitan Detroit tying together generations, suburbs and cities in
It was originally a single-decked grandstand, and the second deck was
added in the infield for the 1924 season and today extends all the way
around the park, giving Tiger Stadium the only double-decked bleachers in
the ML. In addition, the right field roof hangs approximately 10' over the
warning track, catching home runs that might have been outs, and
necessitating a small string of floodlights to light the otherwise dark
warning track at night. Tiger Stadium was the last AL park to install
lights, in 1948.
Tiger Stadiumís best seats put fans as close to the action as any
ballpark in the league. However, some of the lower-deck seats behind third
base had their views of both the mound and home plate blocked by
posts. In some of the seats, the upper deck blocked your view of any
ball hit in the air. Over the years, there had been a few
modifications, including various replacements of the center-field
scoreboard and a large food court called Tiger Plaza (1993).
But a few things remained constant - the flagpole
in play (in center field), standing 125 feet high; the bullpens down each
line, dugout style; the distinctive right field upper deck hanging out
over the front row of the lower deck, copied in style at The
Ballpark in Arlington, where plenty of home runs ended up over the
Since the upper deck was extended to
left and right field in 1938, 18 players have cleared the roof a total of
27 times. It takes a tremendous shot to clear the third deckís
94-foot-high roof, especially in left, where only Harmon Killebrew in
1962, Frank Howard in 1968, and Cecil Fielder in 1990 have managed the
The outfield wall was unusual in that the fences did not curve at all -
they extended in straight lines from the corners to near centerfield,
where they cut directly across. The wall in center was a whopping
440 feet away from home plate, the deepest in any ML park, but the power
alleys were relatively close - 365 feet in left, 375 feet in right.
The second deck overhangs the field, cutting the distance to the right
field foul pole, right-center alley and center field wall by about 10
That meant that home runs were easy to come by here, especially by pull
hitters with alley power. Although a center fielder with range, who
could pedal backwards, was a must, corner outfielders were relatively
protected by the smallish outfield and the straight walls.
The infield at Tiger Stadium was
well-known for its long grass that ate up ground balls and forced
infielders to charge frequently.
Center field was very large, so a flychaser up the middle here had to have
great range; playing shallow entails a big risk. It also helped to
have infielders who could relay long throws from the outfield.
benefits: Left-handed pull
hitters thrived here, especially those who hit towering fly balls, with
the short porch in right and the overhand providing a tempting, 315-foot
target. Power hitters who hit line drives don't benefit as much from
the overhang in right - the design of he park is such that a high fly ball
could travel 315 feet down the line and go out, while a ball hit on the
ground could go 325 feet down the same line.
But right-handed power hitters also
thrived - if Mark McGwire had played here, he might have hit 80 HR in
1998, when Tiger Stadium boosted RHR by 62%. Sinkerball pitchers who
get a lot of groundballs do well with the thick infield grass.
gets hurt: Pitchers who
give up a lot of fly balls. Finesse pitchers who allow hitters to
pull them are particularly vulnerable.
Michigan: 2121 Trumbull Avenue, in the Corktown neighborhood of
downtown Detroit. Left field (NW), Cherry Street, later Kaline Drive, and
Interstate 75; third base (SW), National Avenue, later Cochrane Avenue;
first base (SE), Michigan Avenue; right field (NE), Trumbull Avenue.
field: 345 (1921), 340.58 (1926), 339 (1930), 367 (1931), 339 (1934)
340 (1938), 342 (1939), 340 (1942)
field: 467 (1927), 455 (1930), 464 (1931), 459 (1936), 450 (1937), 440
(1938), 450 (1939), 420 (1942), 440 (1944)
370 (1942), 375 (1982), 370 (current)
field: 370 (1921), 370.91 (1926), 372 (1930), 367 (1931), 325 (1936),
315 (1939), 325 (1942), 302 (1954), 325 (1955)
54.35 (1954), 66 (1955)
Fences: 5 ft - concrete topped by
field: 20 ft (1935), 30 ft (1937), 10 ft (1938), 12 ft (1940), 15 ft
(1946), 12 ft (1953), 14 ft (1954), 12 ft (1955), 11 ft (1958), 9 ft
field: 9 ft (1940), 15 ft (1946), 11 ft (1950), 9 ft (1953), 14 ft
(1954), 9 ft (1955)
of flag pole: 7 ft (1946)
field: 8 ft (1940), 30 ft (1944), 10 ft (1945), 20 ft (1950), 8 ft
(1953), 9 ft (1958), 30 ft (1961), 9 ft (1962)
pole: 125 in play (5 feet in front of fence in center field, just left
of dead center).
home run factor in AL in 1998 and in 1999
RHR factor in AL in 1998 and in 1999
double factor in AL in 1998
error factor in AL in 1998
125-foot flagpole in deep center, just to the left of the 440 mark,
was in play; it was the highest outfield obstacle ever in play in
Originally called Navin Field
(after team owner Frank Navin), the ballpark changed its name to Briggs
Stadium in 1938 and finally to Tiger Stadium in 1961.
was the only double-decked bleachers in the majors; upper deck from
left-center to center, lower deck from center to right-center.