In 1911, new Detroit Tigers owner Frank Navin wanted a new all concrete and steel ballpark to house his team. The current wooden stadium, called Bennet Park wasn't much to his liking. He wanted a stadium that could house 23,000 fans according to the rising demand of the game.
The first game of Navin Field (the early name of Tiger Stadium) was played on April 20 1912.
Navin Field could seat 23,000 spectators as a covered grandstand extended down the first and third base lines with bleachers in right field.
In centerfield was the first baseball hitters backdrop in baseball. The first major addition to Navin Field occurred before the 1923 season when a second deck was added between the first and third base and a press box was added on top of the roof. This addition increased the capacity at Navin Field rose to 30,000.
The 1930s gave Tiger Stadium its look that it retained for 70 years. In 1935, Navin Field was renamed Briggs Stadium after owner Walter O. Briggs. A series of expansions began prior to the 1936 season. The single deck pavilion that extended down the first base line and around into right field was double decked. Before the addition could be built in right field, a problem had to be solved. Trumbull Avenue was located behind the right field fence therefore the grandstands could not be expanded out. To solve the problem, the right field line was shortened to 325 feet and the upper deck extended over the lower deck and over the playing field 10 feet. Construction was completed by April 1937 and Briggs Stadium could seat 36,000 fans.
After the 1937 season an additional expansion was completed at Briggs Stadium. The single deck pavilion that extended down the third base line and around into left field was double decked. A gap between the double decks in right and left field was filled with two decks of bleachers with the scoreboard placed on top. With this expansion, Briggs Stadium was now enclosed and had a capacity of 54,500, making it one of baseballs largest stadiums. Dimensions were 340 ft. (left), 440 ft. (center), and 325 ft. (right).
At June 15, 1948 the first night game was played at Briggs Stadium. During the same year, the press box was extended around the third deck. In 1961, Briggs Stadium was renamed Tiger Stadium when the team was bought by John Fetzer. Tiger fans became outraged in 1972 when Fetzer announced that he was going to build a new multipurpose stadium. At the polls that year, voters rejected bonds to construct a new stadium. Navin Field/Briggs Stadium/Tiger Stadium also hosted many other events other than baseball. The Detroit Lions (NFL) and other football teams played at the ballpark from 1938 to 1974. Boxing matches, concerts, and many other activities took place at the stadium. Fire broke out at Tiger Stadium in 1977 and destroyed the press box. The city of Detroit bought the stadium from the Tigers for $1 and decided to renovate Tiger Stadium. All of the original green wooden seats were replaced by new orange and blue plastic seats, a new video scoreboard replaced the old hand operated one in centerfield, and a new press box with two luxury suites were hung from the second deck. In 1993, $8 million in expansions were completed at Tiger Stadium, including building a food court called the Tiger Plaza, where the players once parked.
After the Tigers moved to Comerica Park, Tiger Stadium stood abandoned for a decade. Several groups tried to save the ballpark and to restore parts of it for different purposes.The City of Detroit was not interested in saving any part of the stadium and in July 2007 announced plans to demolish Tiger Stadium. Seats and other items were removed from the stadium in October 2007. Partial demolition of the stadium was completed by September 2008. Another attempt to save the remainder of Tiger Stadium was unsuccessful and the final sections of the stadium were demolished in September 2009.