Top 10 moments in Comerica Park history

Detroit Tigers

Comerica Park has a chance to host some history during the 2021 season, as Miguel Cabrera sits just 13 home runs away from 500 and 134 hits away from 3,000. If he notches them at home, those moments will join the long list of memories over the ballpark’s history. Here’s

Comerica Park has a chance to host some history during the 2021 season, as Miguel Cabrera sits just 13 home runs away from 500 and 134 hits away from 3,000. If he notches them at home, those moments will join the long list of memories over the ballpark’s history. Here’s one reporter’s list of the top 10:

1. Magglio’s walk-off homer sends Tigers to World Series
Oct. 14, 2006

It’s the signature moment of the Tigers’ incredible 2006 season, as well as the snapshot of the franchise’s turnaround from 119 losses in 2003 to the World Series three years later. Though a 3-0 series lead made victory seemingly inevitable, the sellout crowd was ready to celebrate Detroit’s first World Series since 1984 that night. After the Tigers erased a 3-0 deficit in Game 4 and put two runners on with two outs in the ninth inning against Oakland’s Huston Street, Magglio Ordonez delivered, sending a drive deep to left. Placido Polanco leapt into the air as he rounded the bases, Todd Jones sprayed fans in the stands with champagne, Jim Leyland got emotional, and the city did, too.

2. Tigers sweep Yankees to clinch trip to World Series
Oct. 18, 2012

Like 2006, the Tigers swept their way through the American League Championship Series, this time over the hated Yankees. Unlike ’06, there was little drama in the finale, leaving fans to count down the outs once Detroit built an 8-1 lead. Phil Coke pointed to the sky as Jayson Nix popped out to first, and everybody went crazy for the Tigers’ second World Series trip in seven years.

3. Verlander pitches first career no-hitter
June 12, 2007

On a warm early summer evening in downtown Detroit, Justin Verlander put forth his signature performance with a 112-pitch, 12-strikeout gem against a Brewers lineup that had no shortage of sluggers, including future teammate Prince Fielder. When people talk about “Vintage Verlander,” this game is what they’re referring to. His fastball hovered around 100 mph and stayed there, all the way up to 101 mph on his 109th and 110th pitches. His changeup was precise and deceptive. What separated Verlander in this game, though, was his curveball. On most days, it was an 80 mph bender. It had the same break that night, but he was throwing it all the way into the mid-80s, giving hitters not a split-second to react. And he was spotting it, leaving a crowd of 33,555 in awe.

4. Dmitri Young hits three homers on Opening Day
April 4, 2005

Tigers home openers have always been like a holiday in Detroit, but offseason signings, heightened expectations and unseasonable weather — sunny skies with a first-pitch temperature of 68 degrees — cranked up the excitement as the team came home to open the season against the Royals. The roar from the crowd could be heard all over downtown as Dmitri Young turned on a hanging breaking ball from Mike MacDougal and sent it into the right-field corner for his third home run of the game, chugged around the bases, then took a curtain call from the dugout.

5. Ernie Harwell’s farewell speech
Sept. 16, 2009

Harwell had been retired for seven years from his 42-year job as the Tigers’ play-by-play broadcaster, but he was no less beloved in Detroit. That’s why he took the microphone one more time behind home plate between innings of a Wednesday night game against the Royals in the middle of a playoff race to discuss his recent diagnosis of inoperable cancer and thank fans for their support. “In my almost 92 years on this earth, the good Lord has blessed me with a great journey, and the blessed part of that journey is that it’s going to end here in the great state of Michigan,” he said, leaving nary a dry eye in the ballpark. He passed away the following spring.

6. First game at Comerica Park
April 11, 2000

Not even a first-pitch temperature of 36 degrees could freeze the hearts of a sellout crowd for the first Major League game at a ballpark not at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in nearly 90 years. As sad as fans were to say goodbye to Tiger Stadium the previous fall, they were ready to welcome the team’s new home, different as it was with its spacious dimensions — 395 feet to the left-field power alley back then — giant fountain and open view of Detroit’s skyline beyond the outfield. Nobody homered, but Bobby Higginson hit a two-run triple to give the Tigers a four-run lead in the second inning on their way to a 5-2 win over the Mariners, who fielded Daz Cameron’s father, Mike, in center field.

7. Austin Jackson traded mid-game
July 31, 2014

The Trade Deadline used to be at midnight, but it was moved to 4 p.m. ET to bring the excitement to daylight hours. Problem was, the Tigers had a Thursday afternoon game against the White Sox that day, and general manager Dave Dombrowski was in a dealing mode to try to bolster Detroit’s bid for a fourth consecutive AL Central division title. Chicago was in the middle of a go-ahead rally in the seventh inning when manager Brad Ausmus sent Rajai Davis out to replace Austin Jackson in center field in the middle of an at-bat, much to the crowd’s confusion. As fans checked the news on their cell phones, the reason became clear — Detroit had just acquired David Price from the Rays in a three-team trade that sent Jackson to Seattle and Drew Smyly to Tampa Bay.

8. Tigers finish off Yankees in AL Division Series
Oct. 7, 2006

The Tigers hadn’t won a playoff series since the 1984 World Series, had lost the division title on the final day of the regular season and seemed set up for a quick playoff exit after a Game 1 loss to the heavily favored Yankees in New York. But back-to-back wins swung the series in Detroit’s favor, and early home runs from Ordonez and Craig Monroe sent the crowd into a frenzy to finish off the mighty Bronx Bombers in Game 4. Once Jamie Walker retired Robinson Canó to end it, the crowd went wild.

9. Pudge vs. Abreu in Home Run Derby
July 11, 2005

The All-Star Game returned to Detroit for the first time since 1971, when six eventual Hall of Famers homered at Tiger Stadium. This time, the power display took place in the Home Run Derby, where Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu launched 24 homers in the first round and 41 overall. Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez did his best to match him, but Pudge eventually ran out of energy. Though he lost to Abreu in the finals, he was a winner to his hometown fans that night.

10. Scherzer pitches in relief as Tigers avoid elimination in AL Division Series
Oct. 8, 2013

Already facing a 2-1 deficit in their AL Division Series, the Tigers were down 3-0 to the A’s in the fifth inning of Game 4, leaving Detroit fans fearing the worst. Two singles and a Jhonny Peralta homer later, the game was tied going into the sixth. AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer entered in relief and gave up a run in the seventh, but Victor Martinez’s game-tying homer and Jackson’s go-ahead two-run single put the Tigers in front for good, a lead Scherzer protected in the eighth. The Tigers’ 8-6 win sent the series to a deciding Game 5 in Oakland, where Verlander dominated to send Detroit to the ALCS.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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