Book: 'The Glory Years of the Detroit Tigers: 1920-1950'

The Roaring '20s, '30s & '40s


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With the last home game of the Detroit Tigers’ regular season coming late this month, fans of the Old English ‘D’ are already beginning to feel the approaching baseball void. Lovers of the great American pastime might take a cue from gardeners, who comfort themselves with seed catalogues during the fallow months. The sporting version of that solution could well be the baseball tome The Glory Years of The Detroit Tigers: 1920-1950, by William M. Anderson (Wayne State University Press, $39.95).

In addition to its authoritative historical narrative (Anderson is the retired founding director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries), the book is enlivened by 300 images. Even fans with only a passing knowledge of the sport will enjoy the vintage photographs of the stadium, players, and surrounding city. Included are street scenes depicting celebrations of the city’s first World Series championship in 1935, fans at Detroit’s Union Station awaiting the return of the victors in 1945, an aerial panorama of Briggs Stadium and the downtown skyline, and a July 4, 1940, image of 57,633 spectators cramming the old ballpark for a holiday doubleheader.

Familiar faces and names from the home team and around the league abound in the 480 pages of archival-depth information. Even at that considerable length, Bengals fans may express the kind of hope that accompanies every baseball season and wonder when they’ll see a sequel detailing the glory years of 1968 and 1984.

ABOVE: (Clockwise from top left) Lou Gehrig, left, and Tiger rookie Barney McCosky, 1939. Outside Briggs Stadium during the 1945 World Series. An aerial view of Navin Field, 1935. Ty Tyson broadcasting the first Tiger game on WWJ radio. A celebration on Griswold after the Tigers won their first World Series, 1935.
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