Saturday, July 12, 2008
Goodbye, Old Friend
They are demolishing another landmark in Detroit. Tiger Stadium. Oh, the memories of that wonderful, magical ballpark.
I remember my first game in Tiger Stadium when I was six years old. We sat in the upper deck in right field. I remember the taste of the red hots in steamed buns and the taste of flat Pepsi, diluted from the ice that had melted.
In 1968, the Tigers were in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. They brought in T.V.'s in our class room so we could to watch the games. They played the series games during the day back then. Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich, Denny McLain, Stormin' Norman Cash, Bill Freeman. Go get 'em, Tigers!
My family took me to a game for my 16th birthday in 1976. We had a wonderful dinner at Carl's Chop House and then went to the game. That night, a quirky new pitcher was in the game that night - Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. Remember him? He used to talk to the ball. He won 19 games and the AL Rookie of The Year award. He was quite the sensation, even had an oldies song dusted off for him..."The Bird, Bird, Bird, Bird is the word". It was a glorious summer.
I went to a lot of games through the years until I moved to Chicago. Opening Day in 1984 - it was so darn cold but we stayed the whole game. That year, the Tigers went all the way and eventually won the World Series. My older brother and I went to every home playoff and final series games. Back then, you could mail-in for playoff tickets. We sent in SASE (self addressed stamped envelopes) along with a money order for however many tickets we wanted for each game. We even had addressed some of the SASE's to my dog - she even got them!
The characters at Tiger Stadium were quite entertaining. I remember a guy selling pretzels. He would shout, "Hot Pretzels....HOOOOOT PREZELLLLS" One guy would juggle hot dogs. When you got one with mustard, they would slop on the mustard with a wooden thing that looked like a giant tongue depressor.
I don't get back to Detroit very often but hope to this Fall. It will be hard to drive by the corner of Michigan and Trumbull and see the remains of the grand old stadium.