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TigersFan81371

Fetzer

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Sorta hard to find a lot of stuff about him, since he prefered to stay behind the scenes and let the baseball people run the baseball team.

From http://www.archivists.org/saagroups/bas/newsletter_1996.asp#DOCUMENTING

(This will give you an idea of how important he was to baseball itself, not just the Tigers).

Fetzer turned a childhood dream into reality in 1956 when he became part of an 11-man group that bought the Detroit Tigers. By 1962 he had acquired sole ownership of the team, which he retained until 1983 when he sold the club. After the sale Fetzer stayed on as Chairman of the Board until early 1990.

Fetzer also served baseball as whole during his association with the Tigers. He was a member of Major League Baseball's executive committee, its pension committee, and both the American League and Major League Baseball television committees. As head of the Major League Baseball television committee, Fetzer helped put together the baseball's first national television contract, a milestone whose ramifications changed the very core of the game.

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From http://www.kpl.gov/collections/localhistory/allabout/biography/Fetzer.aspx

(A good read about his pre-baseball life, which was interesting, especially if radio is something you're interested in)

In 1956, the troubled Briggs family trust put the Detroit Tigers baseball team on the auction block. Fetzer became part of the syndicate that bought the club so they wouldn't lose the lucrative baseball rights. He bought controlling interest in the club in 1960 and bought out his last partner in 1961. Soon, under his leadership, the Tigers were contenders and missed the pennant by a single game in 1967, then winning the World Series in 1968.

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http://wsupress.wayne.edu/glb/detroit/ewaldjf.htm has info about a biography that has been written about him.

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A quote from Bud Selig, who considers Fetzer a mentor, at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4661

"I know that we're doing great when all the attention is one field. I'm proud of the fact I was able to take my John Fetzer training-he was one of the great visionaries of the sport, he owned the Detroit Tigers for 30 years-and he taught me that everything that I do I should view it in only one context. And that's what in the best interests of the sport. I'd ride to every owners meeting with him. And I remember once in 1970 or '71, he voted for something that was clearly not in the best interests of, as he used to say, 'the Detroit baseball club.' And I said to him: 'John, why did you do that?' He said: 'It was in the best interests of baseball.'"

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