A large square with rounded corners, Tiger Stadium is one of baseball's two second-oldest
stadiums, having opened April 20, 1912, the same day as Boston's Fenway Park. Built
on the same site as Bennett Park by Tiger president Frank Navin, the park was called
Navin Field until 1938 and Briggs Stadium (for new owner Walter Briggs) until 1961
before receiving its present name. 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.
In the outfield, Tiger Stadium
has unusual field-level seats, behind the screens that serve as the outfield fences.
These fences do not curve at all, but extend in straight lines from the corners to
near centerfield, where they cut directly across. Center is 440' from home plate,
the deepest in any ML park today, but the power alleys are relatively close (365'
left, 375' in right, but closer because of the overhang), making Tiger stadium
a favorable home run ballpark. On October 9, 1934 it was the scene of one of baseball's
uglier incidents when, in the sixth inning of Game Seven of the WS, 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. And on July
13, 1971 Reggie Jackson hit the stadium's most famous home run, a mammoth shot off
a light tower atop the right-field roof during the All-Star Game.