BOSTON — IN Detroit, the city's most ambitious sports fan club appears to be the group that backs Tiger Stadium rather than any athlete or team.
The Tiger Stadium Fan Club resists efforts to build a new ballpark, especially at taxpayers' expense. It is devoted to the preservation of the existing stadium, despite the announcement this week by American League President Gene Budid that he expects commitments within 18 months for six new stadiums - including one in Detroit.
Among other means, the club raises funds by selling items like mugs and T-shirts. In its latest newsletter, Unobstructed Views, limited reprints of a previously unpublished photograph on Navin Field (now Tiger Stadium) are offered for $99 through Ballpark Classics Inc. of Rochester, N.Y. The photograph, taken on the opening day of the 1912 season, was found in the archives of Osborn Engineering Inc. of Cleveland.
The architectural firm is responsible for the design of several ballparks, including Navin Field, Boston's Fenway Park, and New York's Yankee Stadium. In recent years, it has overseen the structural engineering at the new Jacobs Field in Cleveland and the renovation of Wrigley Field in Chicago.
The Tiger Stadium Fan Club, in fact, cites the latter project as a model for what can be done in Detroit. "For less than the Tigers paid last year in player payroll," the club's newsletter states, "the Chicago Cubs renovated classic Wrigley Field."