The future of the corner of Michigan and Trumbull is still in doubt, but Tiger Stadium is now up for grabs. The auction is underway with everything from Al Kaline’s locker to hot dog signs being sold. Take a video tour of some of the very dusty artifacts.
680 separate pieces of Tiger Stadium memorabilia along with seats from the club’s former home are up for grabs.
Schneider Industries of St. Louis is handling the memorabilia sale while the city of Detroit decides whether to save at least a portion of the ballpark. The company set up a website for the auction and sale.
Among the items available: — World Series banners from 1935, 1945 and 1968 — Benches from the dugouts — Al Kaline’s corner locker — 32 equipment bags stitched with a player’s number and some with the luggage tags from their last flight home — Tiger-striped doors — A pitching rubber from a bullpen — The Opening Day 1997 on-deck-circle mat — The home dugout urinal — overhead and column section signs — and hot dog signs from the refreshment stands
A limited number of pairs of stadium seats are also for sale at a set price of $279 for standard stadium seats and $399 for the Tiger Den versions. The seats will be sold until the limited supply runs out, or October 15. The seats also may be purchased by calling 1-888-674-7355.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for anyone with a sports den, or just enough wall or desk space for a piece of history,” said Bruce Schneider, CEO of Schneider Industries. “We have items of all kinds, from the Tiger Stadium sign at Michigan and Trumbull to the turnstiles below it.”
The core of Tiger Stadium was built in 1912 as Navin Field and was a replacement for Bennett Park. It was renamed Briggs Field in 1938 and renamed again in 1961 as Tiger Stadium. Through its major league life it went through numerous additions and revisions, which added to its unique character. Although some seats had great positions very near the playing field, the columns supporting the upper deck created obstructed views for many fans.
At least 10 Hall of Fame players called the corner of Michigan and Trumbull home field, including Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline and George Kell. Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter in the Stadium in 1973 and Reggie Jackson hit an All-Star Game home run that struck a transformer on the roof of the upper deck. A piece of the fencing around the transformer is one of the items available for an auction bid. The City of Detroit is keeping a limited number of Stadium items for historical purposes. Many of them may be displayed as part of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy’s proposed restoration of a portion of the site for recreation and education. Proceeds from the seat sale and auction will be used to prepare the stadium site for that and other redevelopment.
Although the top item has a starting bid of $15,000, hundreds of items have starting bid prices of $25 or less. The auction is scheduled to close at 11:00 a.m. EST on October 13, however, any bid placed within the last ten minutes of the auction will automatically extend the closing time by an additional ten minutes. Each new bid extends the time another ten minutes, without limits. Purchased items are expected to be available for pickup at the Stadium within a few weeks after the close of the auction. No on-site viewing of items for sale will be permitted.
Every seat and item sold comes with a certificate proving its authenticity. Unsold seats will be recycled. Archer Seating Inc. and S&S Seating, Inc. will remove, package and ship the seats within the continental U.S. The seats come on a custom floor stand so they are ready to unfold and sit on right out of the box, although they will have collected some dust since their last use.
“An usher to wipe the seats off before you sit down is not included,” said Schneider in a statement. “But, when you set them up in front of your TV, you are almost sure to have an unobstructed view.”
The Detroit Lions played in Tiger Stadium from 1938 until they moved to the Silverdome in 1975. In 1999 Luciano Pavarotti sang in Tiger Stadium as one of the Three Tenors. Section signs from that concert are part of the auction collection.