’84 Tigers remember Tiger Stadium

DETROIT — The mammoth, green courtyard of a ballpark at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull was home to the 1984 Detroit Tigers. They won a franchise-record 104 games there. They clinched a division, a pennant and a World Series there. And most of that group grew up there as major leaguers.

However, it is now — in the vernacular of their late, great announcer, Ernie Harwell — long gone.  But there’s still a baseball field there where pickup games are played. Enthusiasts for the spirit of the hallowed grounds still cut the grass, rake the infield and have gone so far as to put up a backstop.

The flagpole in center field is all that remains. It was originally planned to be moved to Comerica Park, but stayed behind and was all that avoided the wrecking ball. A U.S. flag and Tigers flag still wave from it daily.

Wouldn’t it be something if the ’84 Tigers made a side trip to the Tiger Stadium site before or after their 30th reunion prior to Monday night’s game at Comerica? I asked several of them about a possible excursion to "The Corner."

Second baseman Lou Whitaker: "They should take all of the players over to Tiger Stadium and take a picture. I’d like that."

Starting pitcher Dan Petry: "Imagine us out there. Wouldn’t it be special to take us back?"

Starting pitcher Jack Morris:  "I think it would be nice to remember it by showing a lot of video highlights on the scoreboard. This (Comerica) park is so much better than it was. But that was the place where Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer and Al Kaline played. It was a special place."

Shortstop Alan Trammell: "If it happened, it would be great. But it’s not there anymore. So, there would be a lot of visualization. I can close my eyes, open them, and remember those experiences. They’re still mowing the lawn, and the flag pole’s still there. But the most important thing is that the memories are still there, and they will be there forever."

The side trip isn’t likely to be scheduled at the last minute because of the tight schedule already set for the players. But Trammell and Whitaker are looking forward to spending time with their old teammates wherever they congregate.

"The stories never get old," said Trammell, who was the World Series MVP. "And when we get together, it’s like we never missed a beat. We’re older and grayer, but our hearts are still young. It’s going to be special."

Imagine us out there. Wouldn’t it be special to take us back?

Dan Petry

Whitaker added: "We had too much fun when we played, and still do when we get together. We laughed, joked and had great camaraderie. Unfortunately, we never put it together to be world champions again. But we did have that one year when we won it all, and that will always be special."

NOTEBOOK: Monday night’s game with the Oakland A’s begins on FOX Sports Detroit at 7, with Tigers Live at 6. The ceremony honoring the ’84 team starts at 6:30, and the first 20,000 fans will receive ’84 road jersey replicas. There will be a Q&A for fans at Comerica’s Big Cat Court with the ’84 players from 5-6 p.m. Players scheduled to attend are Rod Allen, Doug Bair, Doug Baker, Juan Berenguer, Dave Bergman, Tom Brookens, Darrell Evans, Barbaro Garbey, John Grubb, Petry, Dave Rozema, Trammell and Whitaker. Coaches Dick Tracewski and Alex Grammas also are expected.