On This 110th Birthday of Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, How Does ‘White Christmas’ Tie In To This?
Detroit's Grand 'Ol Lady of a ballpark would've been 110 years old. Alas, Tiger Stadium at Michigan and Trumbull is but a memory, but "The Corner" generated memories for generations of Tigers fans.
Here's something you'll hear from the preservationists, who worked very hard to find a way to salvage the old ballpark, but ultimately it succumbed to the wrecking ball: Just this morning, a tweet reminding us that Navin Field, as it was then known, and Fenway Park in Boston opened in the same date, and it suggests that what was done to Fenway (and Wrigley Field in Chicago, too) in the past decade should have been done to Tiger Stadium.
Something like that could be debated over a beer at the Lindell AC, the original sports bar, though it's gone too, now.
The ball yard started life as Navin Field, named after the Tigers owner at the time, Frank Navin. It was built on the same site as its predecessor, Bennett Park. When Walter Briggs bought the team, he named it after himself. After Kalamazoo's John Fetzer bought out his partners, he renamed it Tiger Stadium in 1961.
So how does White Christmas play into all this? The syndicate, led by Fred Knorr and Fetzer, that bought the team in 1956 had eleven partners. One of the investors was Hollywood star and singer Bing Crosby. Until Mariah Carey came along, Crosby's White Christmas was the biggest holiday song of all time. Crosby owned a small piece of the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Crosby's acting partner, Bob Hope was an investor in the Cleveland Indians.) But Crosby also put in about $1,000 into the Detroit group. It became a kerfuffle about him having a piece of two teams, but baseball commissioner Ford Frick ruled since it was only a small investment (5%), he could keep it.