11. Tiger Stadium
- Year Opened: 1912
- Year Demolished: 2009
- Capacity: 52,416
- Defining Features: in-play flagpole, right field bleachers overhanging field
The Tigers played in the same stadium for nearly 90 years under three different names, and actually began playing at the corner of Trumbull and Michigan Avenues as far back as 1895. The park that would become known as Tiger Stadium was opened as Navin Field in 1912, became Briggs Stadium in 1938, and was finally christened Tiger Stadium in 1960. The intimate stadium was always a favorite among MLB players, and its tiny dimensions led to many high-scoring games.
The defining feature of this old stadium was the 125-foot flagpole in center field. The pole was actually in the field of play, but was 440 feet away from home plate, so never much of a nuisance or danger. The Houston Astros played with a similar flag pole in their center field for several years, but removed it over safety concerns. When the Tigers moved to a new stadium, their new home included a flag pole in left field, but it slid behind the wall when the fences were brought in.
Tiger Stadium’s upper deck extended into right field by about 10 feet. This was done in an effort to squeeze in as many seats as possible. With the fence positioned under the upper deck, batters were able to hook soft fly balls into the seats for a home run. There were lights attached to the bottom of the seating bowl to illuminate the warning track below.
After the Tigers moved to Comerica Park, the park lay dormant and crumbling for 10 years while the city tried to figure out how best to redevelop the parcel of land. The stadium was eventually demolished, but the playing field was maintained and used for youth and vintage baseball events. A $33-million development project is currently in the works, and will bring retail and residential units to the former site of Tiger Stadium.