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View of a baseball park from a seat in the upper stands. Many of the seats are filled with fans, though there are no players on the field. It’s nearing sunset in the city.
Comerica Park.
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A tour of Detroit's baseball stadiums past and present

Taking a look back at over 130 years of baseball history

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Comerica Park.
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It’s that time of year again. The weather is warming, leaves will soon sprout, and opening day of Tiger’s baseball is right around the corner! Except that coronavirus has caused the suspension of all sports, including the MLB.

So instead of getting excited about the upcoming season, let’s take a look back at over 130 years of Detroit baseball park history. Of the eight diamonds featured, five no longer exist, three were the home of our Negro League team the Detroit Stars, and one was built outside the city limits to dodge stodgy blue laws.

If baseball does restart at Comerica Park this year, this handy guide will give you tips on how to get there, what to see, and where to eat. As always, feel free to share memories of your favorites in the comments.

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1. Recreation Park

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Mack Ave & Beaubien St
Detroit, MI 48201

The first baseball diamond to host professional baseball in Detroit, Recreation Park was built behind Harper Hospital (which still exists, though in a different form). It was home Detroit Wolverines of the National League from 1881 to 1888, where they won the NL Pennant in 1887. High fives for anyone who can find the historical marker recognizing Left Field, nestled in between the buildings of the Detroit Medical Center.

2. League Park

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E Lafayette St & Helen St
Detroit, MI 48207

AKA Boulevard Park, this small park near the Belle Isle Bridge was built in 1895 and the first home of the Detroit Tigers. The club only played here one year and it no longer exists.

Detroit Tigers team picture from the late 1800s.
Courtesy Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

3. Burns Park

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W Vernor Hwy & Waterman St
Detroit, MI 48209

This park was the Sunday home of the Detroit Tigers from 1901-1902, then the team’s first season in Major League Baseball. Owner James Burns built the park in Springwells Township, then outside of Detroit city limits, to avoid city blue laws prohibiting the playing of baseball on Sundays. It no longer exists.

Portrait of the Detroit Tigers with James Burns in the center.
Courtesy Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

4. Tiger Stadium

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(313) 833-1600
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This field has gone by many names: Bennett Park (1896), Navin Field (1912), Briggs Stadium (1935), Tiger Stadium (1961-1999), and now the Corner Ballpark and Willie Horton Field of Dreams.

Home of the Detroit Tigers for decades, and the most holiest of baseball sites in Detroit, the large lot at Michigan and Trumbull avenues was a haymarket before it became home to the Tigers. Originally paved with cobblestones, the Tigers spread a couple inches of loam on it and called it good, causing all sorts of wild bounces and caroms.

The Tigers played here until 1999, and the stadium sat empty until 2008, when it was finally demolished. The Navin Field Grounds Crew maintained the baseball field from 2010-16. The Detroit Police Athletic League opened the their headquarters and new ballpark at the site. There’s also new apartments and condos surrounding the field.

Aerial view of Tiger Stadium.
Courtesy Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

5. Mack Park

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Mack Ave & Fairview St
Detroit, MI 48214

Detroit's Negro League team played at Mack Park from 1920 until it burned down in 1929 when the owner thought it would be a good idea to cover the playing field in gasoline to get the grass in playing shape after a heavy rain. A flicked cigarette drew the fire to the stands. Somehow no one was killed. The Detroit Stars (pictured) played here.

The 1920 Detroit Stars.
Wikimedia Commons

6. Hamtramck Stadium

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3201 Dan St
Hamtramck, MI 48212

From 1930-36, this field was home to the Detroit Stars. Today, it’s the only Stars' home field that still exists and one of only 12 Negro League stadiums remaining. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Hamtramck Stadium received a Civil Rights grant in early 2017. Pre-development assessment and planning has started, and the renovated ballpark could host soccer, cricket, baseball, and more for the community in the near future. Jack White and other baseball enthusiasts held a charity game to raise funds for the effort.

7. Dequindre Park

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Dequindre St & Modern St
Detroit, MI 48212

Home of the Detroit Stars in 1937. The last site for Detroit Negro League baseball. No longer exists.

Following his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Jackie Robinson played an exhibition game at Detroit's...

Posted by Historic Hamtramck Stadium on Thursday, January 31, 2019

8. Comerica Park

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2100 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

The current home of the Detroit Tigers. Over the decades, multiple owners threatened to move out of Tiger Stadium, but it was Mike Illitch who finally made that a reality, building the city-assisted Comerica Park in his "Foxtown District" downtown. In the year 2000, the Tigers opened their season away from Michigan and Trumbull for the first time in 100 years.

View of Comerica Park during a tribute to former owner Mike Ilitch.
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

1. Recreation Park

Mack Ave & Beaubien St, Detroit, MI 48201

The first baseball diamond to host professional baseball in Detroit, Recreation Park was built behind Harper Hospital (which still exists, though in a different form). It was home Detroit Wolverines of the National League from 1881 to 1888, where they won the NL Pennant in 1887. High fives for anyone who can find the historical marker recognizing Left Field, nestled in between the buildings of the Detroit Medical Center.

Mack Ave & Beaubien St
Detroit, MI 48201

2. League Park

E Lafayette St & Helen St, Detroit, MI 48207
Detroit Tigers team picture from the late 1800s.
Courtesy Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

AKA Boulevard Park, this small park near the Belle Isle Bridge was built in 1895 and the first home of the Detroit Tigers. The club only played here one year and it no longer exists.

E Lafayette St & Helen St
Detroit, MI 48207

3. Burns Park

W Vernor Hwy & Waterman St, Detroit, MI 48209
Portrait of the Detroit Tigers with James Burns in the center.
Courtesy Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

This park was the Sunday home of the Detroit Tigers from 1901-1902, then the team’s first season in Major League Baseball. Owner James Burns built the park in Springwells Township, then outside of Detroit city limits, to avoid city blue laws prohibiting the playing of baseball on Sundays. It no longer exists.

W Vernor Hwy & Waterman St
Detroit, MI 48209

4. Tiger Stadium

Detroit, MI 48216
Aerial view of Tiger Stadium.
Courtesy Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

This field has gone by many names: Bennett Park (1896), Navin Field (1912), Briggs Stadium (1935), Tiger Stadium (1961-1999), and now the Corner Ballpark and Willie Horton Field of Dreams.

Home of the Detroit Tigers for decades, and the most holiest of baseball sites in Detroit, the large lot at Michigan and Trumbull avenues was a haymarket before it became home to the Tigers. Originally paved with cobblestones, the Tigers spread a couple inches of loam on it and called it good, causing all sorts of wild bounces and caroms.

The Tigers played here until 1999, and the stadium sat empty until 2008, when it was finally demolished. The Navin Field Grounds Crew maintained the baseball field from 2010-16. The Detroit Police Athletic League opened the their headquarters and new ballpark at the site. There’s also new apartments and condos surrounding the field.

5. Mack Park

Mack Ave & Fairview St, Detroit, MI 48214
The 1920 Detroit Stars.
Wikimedia Commons

Detroit's Negro League team played at Mack Park from 1920 until it burned down in 1929 when the owner thought it would be a good idea to cover the playing field in gasoline to get the grass in playing shape after a heavy rain. A flicked cigarette drew the fire to the stands. Somehow no one was killed. The Detroit Stars (pictured) played here.

Mack Ave & Fairview St
Detroit, MI 48214

6. Hamtramck Stadium

3201 Dan St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

From 1930-36, this field was home to the Detroit Stars. Today, it’s the only Stars' home field that still exists and one of only 12 Negro League stadiums remaining. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Hamtramck Stadium received a Civil Rights grant in early 2017. Pre-development assessment and planning has started, and the renovated ballpark could host soccer, cricket, baseball, and more for the community in the near future. Jack White and other baseball enthusiasts held a charity game to raise funds for the effort.

3201 Dan St
Hamtramck, MI 48212

7. Dequindre Park

Dequindre St & Modern St, Detroit, MI 48212

Home of the Detroit Stars in 1937. The last site for Detroit Negro League baseball. No longer exists.

Dequindre St & Modern St
Detroit, MI 48212

8. Comerica Park

2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
View of Comerica Park during a tribute to former owner Mike Ilitch.
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The current home of the Detroit Tigers. Over the decades, multiple owners threatened to move out of Tiger Stadium, but it was Mike Illitch who finally made that a reality, building the city-assisted Comerica Park in his "Foxtown District" downtown. In the year 2000, the Tigers opened their season away from Michigan and Trumbull for the first time in 100 years.

2100 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226