Sunday, October 08, 2006

Good Bye Tiger Stadium

Courtesy of
September 27, 1999 -- A sad and momentous day for all Tiger fans, saw the last Detroit Tiger baseball game played at "The Corner" after 87 years and 6,783 games.

The late 1970s featured the first of an American League record 1,918 appearances together by Tiger middle infielders Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.

The 1979 season saw another significant change in leadership when on June 14, Sparky Anderson took over the club's managerial reigns. For the next 16 seasons, Anderson would lead the Tigers from the dugout, claiming two division titles and a World Championship along the way.

After a second-place finish in 1983, success was expected for a talented Tiger club the following season. With Jack Morris tossing his first no-hitter on April 7 of 1984, the club vaulted into the division lead by winning its first nine games and going 35-5 through May 24, the best 40-game start in major league history. The Tigers went on to a 104-58 mark, 15 games in front of the pack, and continued by sweeping the Royals in the Championship Series. After defeating the Padres, four-games-to-one, in the World Series, the Tigers became the first major league team since the 1955 Dodgers to hold first place wire-to-wire and finish by winning the championship. In addition, a club-record 2,704,794 fans passed through the turnstiles.

The Tigers returned to glory in 1987 in dramatic fashion. The club struggled to an 11-19 start but closed strong and looked ready to make a move after first-place Toronto lost four straight entering the final weekend of play. Trailing the Blue Jays by just one game with a three-game set in Motown against Toronto to close the regular season, the Tigers took the first two. With a one-game lead, Detroit's Frank Tanana out-dueled the Jays' Jimmy Key on Sunday as Larry Herndon's solo homer proved the only scoring in a 1-0 triumph. After the dramatic ending to the regular season, Detroit bowed out of the playoffs to Minnesota, losing a best-of-seven series in five contests.

The 1992 season included the most recent change in ownership for the team as Mike Ilitch purchased sole interest in the team from Tom Monoghan, and other structural changes were not far down the road.

In 1995, Tiger President and CEO John McHale was hired, and the following off-season, Vice President/General Manager Randy Smith was brought on board. The organization began a process of rebuilding the franchise through scouting and player development, and the past four campaigns have seen the emergence of talented homegrown players such as Tony Clark, Brian Moehler and Juan Encarnacion.

September 27, 1999, saw the last Detroit Tiger baseball game played at Tiger Stadium. After an 87 year run, the Corner saw it's 6,783rd-and final-game with a sold-out crowd of 43,356 fans, many standing at their seats and dabbing tears from their eyes as 63 Tiger greats took the field one last time during the closing ceremonies of the park. The Tigers took that historic game, beating the Royals 8-2.

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