Detroit may be closer to holding an auction of Tiger Stadium memorabilia, but now Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell is lending his own collection to help back a plan to save part of the old ballpark.
Legendary Detroit Tigers’ broadcaster Ernie Harwell and his attorney, Gary Spicer, announced on Monday that they will join the Board of Directors of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy.
Harwell and Spicer say the moe is aimed at helping the city move forward with plans to utilize at least a portion the old park, which has been decaying since the Tigers left several years ago. The city has already contracted with Schneider Auctions of St. Louis to sell many of the stadium seats and other pieces of memorabilia that can be salvaged. The auction is expected to take place some time later this year with proceeds going to the development plan. The city has yet to publicly embrace the Convervancy’s plan, with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick preferring to use the site primarily for a housing development.
The 89 year-old Harwell struck out in his attempts to back plans to keep a larger portion of the stadium intact, but believe its possible to save 3,000 seats as well as the playing field, dugouts and lockerrooms for use by high school teams.
Harwell hopes his lending support to the plan makes it easier for the conservancy to raise money and work through details with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which is overseeing the plans to demolish most of the ballpark.
“We just want to keep the Tiger Stadium here,” said Harwell.
Harwell says he will donate his baseball memorabilia collection, which has a reported value of $4 million, for a museum on the site. The collection is currently on loan to the city’s public library.