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tigerfanfromchicago

The Very First Tigers Game?

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It's pretty common knowledge that the first Tigers game as a major league team was a 14-13 ninth-inning comeback over the original Milwaukee Brewers on April 25, 1901. The Tigers existed long before this as a Western League franchise. The first official game at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull was a 17-2 victory over the Columbus Senators on April 28, 1896.

The Tigers were founded in 1894 and originally played a Boulevard Park at the intersection of East Lafayette and Helen near Belle Isle.

Here's my question: When was the VERY first Detroit Tigers game. I've seen accounts of the first game in the big leagues and the first game at Bennett Park, but never heard a word about the first game ever. I don't know who they played, or if they won. Has anyone ever heard the story of the first Tigers game? I've been unable to find any information on the internet, but maybe someone has a book that holds the answer.

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I thought the Western League team was called the "Wolverines"?

So are you asking when the first professional game by a Detroit team took place, or when the name "Tigers" came into use?

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The Wolverines were in the National League and are a totally separate entity.

He's asking about the first Tigers game, pre-Bennett Park (unfortunately I don't know the answer).

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tigerfanfromchicago,

It's too bad you live in Chicago. I bet a check into some microfilm would answer that question rather quickly. I looked in a few things and didn't find it. Sorry.

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After some digging I found that the team was a charter member of the Western League in 1894 and originally called the Detroit Creams. That may help you find more information.

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I found this on wikipedia:

Another Detroit club was a charter member when the Western League reorganized for the 1894 season. They originally played at Boulevard Park, sometimes called League Park, at the corner of East Lafayette and Helen near Belle Isle. In 1895, owner Geroge Vanderbeck decided to build Bennett Park at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues, which would remain their base of operations for the next 104 seasons. The first game at the corner was an exhibition on April 13, 1896. The team, now occasionally called the "Tigers", beat a local semipro team, known as the Athletics, by a score of 30-3. They played their first Western League game at Bennett Park on April 28, 1896, defeating the Columbus Senators 17-2.

When the Western renamed itself the American League for 1900, it was still a minor league, but next year it broke with the National Agreement and declared itself major, openly competing with the National League for players, and for fans in three contested cities. For a few years there were rumors of abandoning Detroit to compete for Cincinnati or Pittsburgh but the two leagues made peace in 1903 after similar moves into St. Louis and New York.

The Tigers played their first game as a major league team at home against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 25, 1901, with 10,000 fans at Bennett Park. After entering the ninth inning behind 13-4, the team staged a dramatic comeback to win 14-13. That team finished third in the eight-team league.

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Another good source and a GREAT READ, is Richard Bak's "A Place for Summer", which chronicle's the history of Michigan & Trumbull, but also gives some very good and somewhat detailed history of the "pre-Bennett" ballparks.

Available through Wayne State Press.

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Dusty,

That was the first game at the corner. I'm looking to find more info about the first Tigers game, before Bennett Park.

I need to get that book redshark. I keep seeing references to it, and it looks really interesting.

I'm currently looking into the Detroit Creams. I know that someone called the team the "cream of the league" and Creams became an early nickname. Unfourtanetly, they had to have played a game in order to become the cream of the league, so they wouldn't have played their first game under that name unless it was only a prediction.

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This confirms what I knew about the "Creams" name and Wikipedia's claim about Boulevard Park:

The team that would become the Detroit Tigers. Original team owner George Arthur Vanderbeck predicted that his ball club would become "the cream of the league", and so stuck the name. From 1894-95, the team played their games at League Park (a.k.a. Boulevard Park) near the Belle Isle bridge. In 1896, Vanderbeck moved the Creams to Woodbridge Grove at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull Avenues, thus becoming the first team to play Baseball At The Corner.

http://www.detroitathletic.com/servlet/the-11/1894-Detroit-Creams-Jersey/Detail

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http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/323354462.html?dids=323354462:323354462&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&date=Jan+29%2C+1894&author=&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&desc=HIS+NEW+NINE.&pqatl=google

HIS NEW NINE.

Vanderbeck's Baseballists of Detroit.

"Count" G. A. Vanderbeck is now in Detroit completing the preliminaries incident to his taking charge of the baseball team of the Lake City. The Free Press in a recent issue had the following to say regarding the Cali-...

You have to pay to read the rest of the article, unless someone has a subscription to the LA Times archives.

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