muckraker report

Fans reclaim Tiger Stadium, open imaginations with 1860s baseball, peanuts & Faygo

1860s baseball

Forget the mitts. This is old-time baseball, via the 1860s.

Wearing vintage uniforms, players from the Rochester Grangers and the Walker Tavern Wheels played nine innings of tough “base ball” Sunday at the site of Tiger Stadium, where the diamond and outfield remain intact.

On the same field where Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run, where Kirk Gibson’s home run capped the 1984 World Series and where Denny McLain won his 30th game in 1968, a few dozen fans watched the two vintage teams slug it out. A vendor sold peanuts, hot dogs and Faygo red pop. Children marveled at the field.

The event was made possible by determined volunteers – the Navin Field Grounds Crew – who restored the field in 2010 and has maintained it since.

Despite city efforts to keep people off the field, persistent fans have revived the ballpark. Now families visit the park; people bring their dogs; and others come to play baseball.

Two friendly cops on horseback surveyed the scene Sunday and left without incident.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.