|For a time in the late 1800s, Detroit had no big-time baseball team at all. After fielding a team in the National League that folded because of lack of fan interest, James D. Burns brought major league base ball back to the city in 1901 when the American League was formed. Burns, a Wayne County Sheriff, was also a wealthy hotel owner. |
Burns' first manager was George Stallings, but nobody was sure if there was there was enough fan-base in the city of Detroit to sustain a big-league club.
The new team, the Detroit Tigers, played its first American League game on April 25, 1901 at Bennett Park, located at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull - later to be Navin Field.
Detroit Tigers Baseball History:
According to old newspaper accounts: - Detroit's Opening Day lineup shows -
Jim 'Doc' Casey at third... Jim Barrett in center field... Bill 'Kid' Gleason at second... Bill 'Ducky' Holmes in right... Frank Dillon at first base... Norman 'Kid' Elberfield at shortstop... Bill Nance in left field... Fred Buelow catching... and Roscoe Miller starting pitcher... and Emil Frisk relief pitcher.
The ballpark was built to accommodate about 6,000 people but an overflow crowd of 10,013 showed up and filled the outfield.
The Tigers' first opponent was Milwaukee (which folded early in the 1900s). When Milwaukee scored early and often and built a 13-4 lead going into the ninth... disgusted fans left the Park in groves. However, 'Doc' Casey led off the bottom of the ninth with a stinging double and Barrett singled him home. 'Ducky' Holmes and Frank Dillon followed by each lining a double... and the rally continued until the Tigers were trailing 13-12 with the bases loaded and two men out. The fans that stayed were rootin' and screaming like crazy when Dillon lined a double into the outfield crowd - his fourth double of the game - giving the Tigers a 14-13 victory.
This great come-from-behind victory made headline news and enabled the Tigers to stay in Detroit for good.
The Early Days of Detroit Tigers Baseball History by baseballhistorian.com