The first time I ever entered the gates of Tiger Stadium was in the summer of 1968 - yes, I got to see the fabled '68 Tigers: Willie Horton, Al Kaline, Denny McClain, Bill Freehan, Gates Brown...all of my childhood sports heroes.
Between 1968 and 1994, I traveled to the park to watch my hometown team a number of different times with the Cub Scouts, my girlfriend (who eventually became my wife), and a few other folks whose names I no longer recall.
And now, typical of Detroit, this classic stadium - one of only a few classics left (Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium are the others) - just like so much of Detroit's past, has met the wrecking ball.
(Here's a link to an excellent site about Tiger Stadium, as well as the other classics http://www.baseball-statistics.com/Ballparks/Det/Tiger.htm).
I have always said that Detroit loves to tear down its past because, it seems, many (but, not all) blacks in the area feel these classic old buildings - anything built before (Detroit's first black mayor) Coleman Young's reign is not worth saving.
Yes, I have read this but finding the actual quotes about the razing of the J.L. Hudson building (among others) have become nearly impossible.
Fortunately, I do still have very recent quotes about the demise of Tiger Stadium, from a Detroit Councilwoman nonetheless!
From the Detroit Free Press July 16, 2008:
A number of people who have posted comments today on the story about the deadline for preservationists to save a portion of Tiger Stadium are attacking Detroit City Councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins. Some of the comments are vicious and personal.
These readers are angry because Collins, who supports razing the entire ballpark, was quoted as saying she recalls when the Tigers were one of only two teams that refused to sign a black player. She said this: "I know there's a lot of nostalgia for it, and people are crying. I don't have any fond memories of it."
In other words - she doesn't like it so she voted to get rid of it. She's offended by it so voted to get rid of it. Screw those folks that it meant so much to and supported it (and, thus, supported the city). Let's forget that the ball club more than made up for not hiring black players initially since the era in which she speaks - the 1950's! - which, ahem, was 50 years ago. This is so very typical of society of all races in general today, and that's sad.
Here's another comment: I once had fond memories of Tiger stadium and even saw Fidrych get his Bird act on as a kid in early 78, but the hidden past of racism and the ghosts of those of color turned away at the gate has changed my feelings completely. Tear it all down and good riddance to the old rat infested hate house that cracker Cobb and other mean spirited haters built and ran under the auspices of a "glorious" past. Long live Commercialca Park???
Um...calling Ty Cob a cracker? Isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black (so to speak)? So you got your wish - Detroit has torn down or destroyed nearly everything built before Coleman Young. And what've you got left? A high crime wasteland of a city with the biggest racist ever to grace the mayor's office - Coleman Young - and the biggest crook to ever grace the same chair - the hip hop mayor himself, Kwame Kilpatrick (who is also a racist) - at the helm to tear down the past and rebuild it with poorly made modern, classless buildings built by people who call white folks cracker.
How far we've come, eh? At least the mayor in between Young and Kwame, Dennis Archer, was for all people.
Well, folks got what they deserved when they voted for the cool "hip hop" mayor.
I will sit here and wait for people to write me to tell me how racist I am for writing something negative (but truthful) about an outspoken group of black people in Detroit, and how, because of my comments, I committed a hate crime. But that's for a future blog.