For a state as small as Arkansas, its residents have been blessed over the years with an abundance of unique movie houses and drive-ins. This pictorial-essay highlights some of the more regal theaters that graced Arkansas’ down towns and roadsides from the roaring 1920s to the New Millennium.
Gene Wojciechowski’s ode to college football is a great read. The only problem is that it’s written as a love letter; he was (mis)guided by his emotions.
And don’t get me wrong, I love college football.
But let’s be realistic about this. While Wojciechowski does point out that college football has its shortcomings, simply giving them a passing mention isn’t enough.
As the Summer of Manziel has shown, it’s astonishing how college football has weathered so many scandals without serious blemish. The players and even the sport itself seem practically untouchable.
So why would someone who claims to be a fan find so many reasons to hate a sport they care
so deeply about?
In hopes of fixing it, of course.
Wojciechowski got a lot of things right in his article. College football is an awesomely inspirational sport that’s uniquely American.
But it’s time to stop looking at it through rose-colored lenses.
Why? Here are 100 reasons.
1. I hate universities that make football a priority over education.
2. That in my home state of Arkansas, the football coach makes more than the medical school’s Chief of Surgery.
3. I hate the over-commercialization of the game.
4. Naming rights.
5. That places like TCF Bank Stadium and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium exist.
6. Fields with corporate stains on them.
7. The sheer number of bowl games. We’re up to 35 and counting.
8. 6-6 teams qualifying for a bowl.
9. And that nearly all the bowl games have names that sound like advertising slogans.
10. I hate that winning the Heisman Trophy has become a beauty contest.
12. The stigma toward defensive players. If Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh couldn’t win one, what hope is there?
13. The fact that there are 125 schools competing in the FBS this year and no player outside of the Power Six has a chance to win the Heisman.
14. Stadium expansion while the rest of campus crumbles.
15. And the belief that having a bigger stadium equates having a better team.
16. Houston Nutt. We put up with this guy for a decade. How?
17. I hate pay-for-play proponents.
18. Writers who claim the NCAA treats [football] players like slaves.
19. Senior seasons. And the stigma that comes with it. Because in today’s game it usually means the player has no football prospects after college. Either that, or he’s a reserve.
20. The players who don’t care about the tradition or the pageantry of college football.
21. Knowing that they wouldn’t stick around campus any longer than they already have to.
22. I hate the BCS. Even now that it’s gone. I hate, hate, hate it.
23. Remember in 2003, when Oklahoma lost in the Big 12 Championship Game but still got to play in the BCS Championship Game?
25. An inept and out of touch NCAA.
26. That high-profile schools and players often escape harsh punishments.
27. Terrell Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas playing in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
29. People who feel sorry for Joe Paterno and Penn State.
30. That for a few months, the fate of Penn State’s football program and Joe Paterno’s legacy was more talked about than Jerry Sandusky’s victims.
31. I hate that the Southwest Conference, one of college football’s premier leagues for more than 80 years, collapsed.
32. And the domino effect of conference realignment that it started.
33. West Virginia being in the Big 12.
34. Syracuse moving to the ACC.
35. Missouri joining the SEC instead of Florida State or Clemson.
36. The idea of Connecticut, South Florida, and Tulsa all being in the same conference.
37. I hate that most teams schedule an absolute dog on homecoming.
38. The fact that Florida hasn’t played an out of conference opponent on the road in nearly 25 years.
39. Indiana being a football-member of the Big 10.
40. That schools have cut down on playing in neutral site locations across their state.
41. Alabama and Auburn moving the Iron Bowl out of Legion Field.
42. Ole Miss and Mississippi State moving the Egg Bowl away from Jackson, Miss.
43. I hate the kitschy announcers.
45. Pam Ward.
46. Brent Musberger.
47. Bob Griese.
48. This guy.
49. Can’t forget Mark May and Lou Holtz, either.
50. I hate that the Oklahoma-Texas game changed its name to the “Red River Rivalry.”
51. That Arkansas and Arkansas State won’t play each other.
52. The SEC crackdown on cowbells at Mississippi State games.
53. Boise State’s “Smurf Turf.”
54. Eastern Washington’s red turf.
55. The University of Central Arkansas’ alternating purple and gray turf.
56. I hate the ridiculous number of terrible uniform combinations.
The Maryland Terrapins have got to be the worst offenders.
57. People who think Bedlam is a premiere rivalry game. C’mon, Oklahoma holds an 75-17-7 all-time advantage. The Sooners only lost one game between 1967 and 1994.
58. AP writers who give No. 1 votes to undeserving teams.
59. The terrible officials that permeate every conference.
60. The terrible officiating that seems to haunt every big Arkansas game.
61. I hate how ESPN only gives intense coverage to the established programs.
62. The completely undeserved hype a high-profile program gets if it starts the season 2-0.
(Looking at you, 2009 Miami Hurricanes.)
63. And remember when good coaches used to stay at one school for an extended amount of time?
64. I hate that fans are dissuaded from storming the field.
65. That it happens too often now.
66. And that you might get arrested if you do it.
67. Oh, and the SEC will levy a serious fine against your school as well.
68. I hate that a pizza and a coke at Razorback stadium costs more than $20.
69. That Arkansas made student tickets harder to get.
70. Let’s not forget, they also stopped guaranteeing students seats.
71. And U of A’s eagerness to build a new practice facility while the campus runs out of space for its students.
72. I hate the “facilities arms races.”
73. Which happen while a majority of college students and athletes of less popular sports wallow in debt that will haunt them the rest of their lives. (Marble floors imported from Italy, are you kidding me?)
74. The people who believe football players “go pro” in something outside the world of football.
75. The people who believe a majority of college football players are “student athletes.”
76. And people who think the football players live in a dorm and eat in a cafeteria similar to anything like that of a normal student.
77. That students are forced to move their cars from student lots before game day and have to pay out of pocket to park it somewhere else. (Often far from their dorms.)
78. That Matt Leinart got to play one more season at USC because he took Ball Room Dancing as his only class.
79. Athletes who get free (expensive) textbooks and sell them back at a profit.
80. That Arkansas’ beautiful video replay board has most of its picture obscured by AT&T ads.
81. I hate how football players are treated differently than their fellow student athletes.
82. When authorities look the other way when a member of the football team is involved in a quagmire.
83. Case in point: Michael Dyer.
84. Coaches who get a slap on the wrist.
85. Jim Tressle at Ohio State.
86. And that Tressel actually believed Pryor’s promise that he would return for his senior season.
87. The rap sheet for Urban Meyer’s players.
89. The depressing notion that steroids might have infiltrated the college game.
90. I hate that the Arkansas-Texas rivalry is dead.
91. And the Hogs will no longer play LSU at the end of the season.
92. Instead we’ll play Missouri. The Hogs have played the Tigers five times. Five. Now it replaces the LSU game. Yippee.
93. Even though I won’t miss LSU’s Les Miles mispronouncing Arkansas.
94. This pass interference call against Arkansas in the 2010 Florida game.
95. That Bobby Petrino will coach a major Division I team again.
96. The fact that the immortal Bear Bryant (an Arkansas native) potentially was taking a job in Fayetteville when World War II broke out.
98. Razorback fans who think winning a national title makes or breaks the season. (We’ve only appeared in three SEC Championship Games since leaving the SWC in 1991)
99. That tons of scholarships go to football, leaving the rest of the athletic programs to fight over the scraps.
100. And lastly, I hate that there are so many egregious problems with a sport I love so dearly.
With the 2014 NFL season upon us, Enter the Razorback decided to take a different approach in covering kickoff week. The list below profiles some of the league’s most noteworthy — and plausible
— conspiracy theories.
10. Jimmy Hoffa was buried under Giants Stadium
The infamous union activist disappeared in 1975, around the same time construction was underway on Giants Stadium. Based on accounts from hitmen allegedly involved with Hoffa’s death, they dismembered his body before dropping the remains inside a concrete drum located at the construction site. Mythbusters investigated the rumors and came up empty. But if Hoffa’s body wasn’t there, how else do you explain Jerry Rice’s fumble in the ’86 playoffs?
9. Dome teams pump in crowd noise
Now that domed stadiums are ubiquitous across the NFL, accusations that teams pump in artificial noise have increased tenfold. Numerous coaches and players complain about the nuisance, which dates back to the late 1980s when the Minnesota Vikings’ Metrodome drew unwanted attention for its ear-splitting cheers.
More recently, the Indianapolis Colts, were charged with pumping in noise during the 2007 season. Despite the peculiar sounds coming through fans’ TV screens, the Colts were cleared of any wrongdoing on the dubious explanation that it was a technical glitch inside the RCA Dome.
8. Pro football is rife with Adderall abuse
The Seattle Seahawks have taken the brunt of negative headlines regarding NFL players testing positive for Adderall. The drug, which is primarily used to treat attention deficit disorders and narcolepsy, can also serve as a “cognitive enhancer.” It’s become a popular supplement for players looking to gain an “edge” on game day.
Recent busts involved two of Seattle’s high-profile defensive stars, Bruce Irvin and Richard Sherman. Both players took Adderall looking for the upper-hand over the competition. Trying to deflect attention, Sherman claimed that “half the league uses Adderall.” A ominous statement for sure, but there have been a significant number of suspensions tied to the use of similar amphetamines over the last five years.
7. Does the NFL “hate” the Oakland Raiders?
Talk to any Raiders fan and you’ll hear endless stories about how the NFL has a grudge against Oakland. And evidence suggests that Raider Nation has a legitimate gripe.
For starters, there was a well-known rivalry between longtime Raiders owner Al Davis and former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. There were endless stories (usually one-sided) that Rozelle did everything in his power to undermine Davis, which culminated in a heated legal battle when Oakland tried to move to LA. But Davis didn’t make things easy. The abrasive owner drew the ire of the NFL in the late 60s, when he spurred a bidding war between the rival leagues. There’s also the issue of the 1983 NFL draft, when the Raiders failed to land John Elway and Davis blamed it on meddling by league officials.
6. Super Bowl III was fixed
It would be a travesty if the biggest upset in NFL history was actually a well-crafted ploy to drum up support for the AFL-NFL merger. But over the last four decades, Super Bowl III has been the target of several conspiracy theories, namely that it was rigged.
Colts fans often point to the bizarre interception(s) thrown by quarterback Earl Morrall, as evidence of foul play. Morrall, who was the MVP of 1968, missed a wide-open Jimmy Orr, who was waving his hands in the end zone late in the first half. Former Colts players have chimed in as well, claiming that the New York Jets needed to win to keep the AFL afloat. Bubba Smith, Baltimore’s Pro Bowl defensive end, possibly referring to the looming merger, that there was too much money at stake for the Jets to lose.
5. The NFL orchestrated the “Blackout Bowl”
The Baltimore Ravens put a stranglehold on the San Fransisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. And with the Ravens leading 28-6 early in the second half, a Baltimore victory seemed to be little more than a formality.
Then the unexpected happened.
The Louisiana Superdome suffered a power outage, resulting in a 34-minute delay. The break revitalized the 49ers, who
scored 17 unanswered points. San Fransisco’s incredible comeback turned the game from a blowout into a nail-biter. This sudden shift in momentum kept the NFL from losing viewers, and thus billions in advertising dollars — or so one theory says.
While Baltimore held on for a thrilling victory, current and former Ravens players contend the NFL was plotting against them. Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis said the blackout happened to make the game more competitive; meanwhile, teammate Terrell Suggs claimed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell used “parlor tricks” because of a personal bias against Baltimore.
4. LA is just a bargaining chip
When the Raiders and Rams departed Los Angeles in the mid 1990s, the possibility of SoCal recouping a pro football team has been a never-ending saga of letdowns.
It seems every other season a well-established franchise is on the brink of moving to LA.
Usually, the threat is spurred by the team wanting a new stadium (with a lot of help from the taxpayers). Over the past decade, cities routinely caved and agreed to help fund new facilities. But do these stadium deals really just serve to keep teams in their original or current cities. In fact, what if moving to LA is just a threat that owners agreed could be used to hold cities (and their taxpayers) on the hook for construction expenses?
Some writers are convinced the NFL has left LA for good. Empty threats from owners (the last franchise to relocate was the Houston Oilers, which moved from Houston to Nashville in 1997 to become the Tennessee Titans), the NFL’s unapologetic plans to put a franchise in Europe and Goodell’s reticence to commit a team to the region give this theory credence.
3. Spygate was worse than we thought
Not long after Goodell took over as commissioner, news broke in fall 2007 that the New England Patriots had videotaped the New York Jets’ signal calls during a recent game. Those who viewed the tapes said it gave the Patriots an unfair advantage, but the real news stemmed from complaints that the Pats had been videotaping their opponents for years, including the St. Louis Rams’ practice ahead of Super Bowl XXXVI, which New England won.
Since the NFL destroyed the notes and videotapes associated with Spygate not long after its investigation, some have charged the league with covering up rampant cheating by the Patriots. Another theory says that the scandal is more complex. Supposedly, this type of behavior is so widespread that New England coach Bill Belichick sent Goodell tapes from other teams videotaping their opponents’ practices. The commissioner, fearful to clamp down on systemic cheating, chose only to punish New England and protect the NFL’s image.
2. The ’99 Browns were “set up to fail”
In 1995, the NFL expanded to 30 teams when it added the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams quickly found success, reaching their respective conference championships the following season. Their meteoric rise — unprecedented for expansion teams — allegedly rankled owners of more established clubs. So when Cleveland regained a franchise in 1999, established NFL owners conspired to curb the Browns’ efforts to field a competitive team.
The theory, postulated by former Cleveland sports writer Terry Pluto
, is one of the most well-researched entries on the list. Backed up by loads of peculiar evidence, which includes numerous examples of roadblocks the Browns faced thanks to the league’s other owners, the theory’s implications are startling. It serves as an explanation as to why the Browns have struggled mightily since rejoining the NFL. And while it doesn’t totally absolve the Browns of their failures since returning to Ohio, it certainly explains some of their early hurdles.
1. Who was New England’s “man in the trench coat”?
NFL fans would have a hard time recognizing the New England Patriots in their formative years.
Known as the Boston Patriots for the first decade of their existence, the club only made one playoff appearance between 1960-1970. The Pats wouldn’t appear in a Super Bowl until the 80s, and nearly 20 more years would pass before they became one of the dominant franchise of the modern era.
One thing those early Patriots teams did have going for them was sterling fan support. Playing inside the constricted confines of Fenway Park, fans were often right on top of the action. It wasn’t uncommon for fans to stand along the sidelines during a game or pat players on the back near the team benches. And in 1961, one fan took advantage of that unfettered access, helping the Pats pull off a much-needed victory.
The unknown fan, identified only by his trench coat, was standing directly behind the opponent’s end zone during the game’s waning minutes. With New England leading the Dallas Texans 28-21 late in the fourth quarter, the Texans were threatening at the Patriots goal line. But as Dallas’ Cotton Davidson dropped back to pass, the overzealous fan sprinted onto the field and deflected the ball. As soon as the ball hit the turf, the crowd stormed onto the field. No one, not even the officials, realized what happened until the film was reviewed nearly a week later by coaches.
The gentleman became known in Patriots lore as the “man in the trench coat.” Rumors were rampant that the fan was actually Patriots owner Billy Sullivan, who was often spotted in a similar trench coat. Sullivan embraced the publicity, never denying the rumors.
Criticism of the militarization of local police forces is commonplace in the post-9/11 world, but the issue has been amplified by the recent events in Ferguson, Mo.
In the wake of a controversial shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, the small town of about 20,000 has been besieged by riots, looting and instances of police brutality. While neither the protestors or police can be exonerated for their behavior over the past month, one take away
has been the perplexing amount of military equipment utilized by law enforcement.
In Arkansas, a state vastly similar to Missouri regarding culture and race relations, would an similar police response occur? In light of the equipment that the authorities have at their disposal, it’s a chilling thought.
This website, which emanates from a frightening report by the New York Times about the proliferation of military-grade equipment in several police precincts across the country, allows users to research the various hardware used by law enforcement, and is sortable by state and county. Arkansas, a state with just over 2 million people, possesses a shocking array of firearms and vehicles that seem more appropriate on the battlefield.
For example, Pulaski County, home to the state’s largest and most metropolitan city, Little Rock, owns several weapons that seem excessive for urban crime. Amid the usual provisions like firearms, utility trucks, and flash lights, police have a grenade launcher, a mine-resistant vehicle and a combat/assault/tactical vehicle. According the website, the total value of those three items — designed specifically for modern warfare — are valued at just north of $1 million.
Even the rural counties aren’t immune. Randolph County has a cargo plane. Baxter, Faulkner, and Mississippi Counties each have an “observation helicopter.” Meanwhile, Benton County, which has 160,000 fewer people than Pulaski County, has two mine-resistant vehicles.
Police simply being in possession of this equipment doesn’t mean they’ll use it. But like John Oliver noted on Last Week Tonight, the dissemination of military-grade weapons, combined with untrained police units, make for a volatile situation.
Dozens of iconic American stadiums have come and gone over the last two centuries. Unfortunately, some of them weren’t spared the agony of decay and neglect. The five stadiums on this list were once sanctuaries for their teams and landmarks in the community. Sadly, their legacies were tarnished thanks to years of abandonment.
5. Metropolitan Stadium — Bloomington, Minn.
Known affectionately to Minnesotans as “the Met,” Metropolitan stadium was the original home of the Vikings and the Twins. Built on a farm in 1956
for the minor league Minneapolis Millers , the stadium eventually lured the Washington Senators to Bloomington, and later, the NFL expansion Vikings.
Despite its disjointed seating — the outfield bleachers weren’t even connected
— the Met (1961-1981) proved to be indispensable for its tenants.
Only four years after leaving D.C.,
the Twins won the American League pennant by seven games before losing a hard-fought World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Earlier that summer, the Met hosted the annual MLB All-Star Game, which saw six Twins make the American League squad. And while the brutal Minnesota winters were great for the Vikings, they were anathema for their opponents. The Purple People Eaters reached four Super Bowls during their 20-year tenure at the Met, largely thanks to the decisive home-field advantage.
Even The Beatles dropped by the Met for a concert. It was the group’s lone gig in The Gopher State.
But during the 1970s, the Met fell into disrepair. The stadium was notorious for its dilapidated facilities, poorly maintained field, and considered one of the worst venues in professional sports.
By 1982, both the Twins and Vikings had moved into the Metrodome. The Met was officially abandoned, and it became a breeding ground for vandalism and urban explorers
. Eventually razed in 1985, the Mall of America was erected in its place nearly a decade later.
4. Tulane Stadium — New Orleans, La.
For almost half a century, Tulane Stadium was one of the most revered football venues in America. The home of the Sugar Bowl from its inaugural game in 1935 until 1974, Tulane Stadium holds a special place in the annals of both college and pro football.
Opened in 1926 as the third home of the Tulane Green Wave football team, Tulane Stadium (1926-1980) became a household name thanks to the prestige of the Sugar Bowl. When the NFL expanded to New Orleans in the late 1960s, the Saints used Tulane Stadium for their home field from 1967-1974. It was there in 1970 that Saints kicker Tom Demspey booted a then-record 63-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions.
Thanks to its seating capacity of nearly 81,000 and ideal location in the Big Easy, Tulane Stadium was a popular choice for the Super Bowl. The stadium hosted three NFL championships in a six year span, and is one of five host stadiums no longer standing.
But in 1975, on the same day that the lavish
Superdome opened, Tulane Stadium was condemned. Much of the stadium was shuttered, but thanks the outcry of university officials, it remained viable for NFL practices, high school football games, and other low profile events.
A gloomy relic in its twilight years, Tulane Stadium was completely demolished by 1980. Dorm rooms and other university facilities occupy the site today.
3. Astrodome — Houston, Tex.
Hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World when it opened in 1965, the Houston Astrodome was the Arc de Triomphe of American stadiums. For vi
sionary Roy Hofheinz, the Astrodome wasn’t just the center of Houston’s sports universe, but its entertainment hub as well.
The world’s first indoor, multipurpose domed stadium, the Astrodome was replete with swanky restaurants, upholstered seats, and opulent luxury boxes. Everything the modern fan (and athlete) takes for granted today was pioneered by the Astrodome.
But the dome’s influence wasn’t limited to its wondrous engineering. In 1968, the Astrodome (1965-2006) inadvertently revolutionized the sports landscape when it hosted college basketball’s “Game of the Century.” The showdown pitted No. 1 UCLA against No. 2 Houston, with the Cougars edging the Bruins 71-69 in front of more than 50,000 fans. The positive response to college basketball’s first regular season game aired in prime time nationwide was unprecedented, and the NCAA picked the Astrodome to host the 1971 Final Four. Nearly four decades later, practically every Final Four is played in a football stadium.
In the fall of ’68 the Astrodome opened its doors to the NFL’s Houston Oilers. The notion that football could be virtually weatherproof was groundbreaking. The dome’s affect on football can still be felt today, as evidenced by the proliferation of domed stadiums — most of which keep the roof closed all season.
Despite its extravagance, Oilers owner Bud Adams felt that the Astrodome wasn’t enough for his troubled franchise.
In the mid-1990s, Adams threatened to move the team if Houston didn’t fund construction for a new stadium. The city had already buckled to his demands before, removing the stadium’s iconic, “Astrolite” scoreboard in 1988.
City officials refused to budge this time, and
the Oilers departed for Tennessee in 1997. The Astros made a similar request, but stayed put when funding for Minute Maid Park was secured. Despite voters rejecting a measure to renovate the Astrodome in November 2013, the stadium has yet to be demolished as of this writing. Its fate is still uncertain.
2. Silverdome — Pontiac, Mich.
Once a state-of-the-art domed facility built to house a multitude of events, the Pontiac Silverdome is nearly unrecognizable today.
Originally part of a larger “urban renewal” project for Pontiac, Mich. — which included plans for a dual stadium complex — the palatial Silverdome was the only building to materialize from C. Don Davidson’s vision to revitalize the sleepy suburb.
Opened in 1975, the Silverdome was declared the world’s largest inflatable domed stadium. One of the few facilities of its era built without accommodations for baseball, it paved the way for facilities like the Hoosier Dome and the Metrodome.
Due to its cavernous seating capacity — just north of 80,000 — the Silverdome was the NFL’s largest stadium for more than two decades. Despite its short lifespan (1975-2001), the Silverdome hosted a number of prestigious events, including Super Bowl XVI, the 1979 NBA All-Star Game, Wrestlemania III, a handful of World Cup matches, the 1988 NBA Finals, and several legendary musicians. It was also the site of the Lions’ last home playoff victory.
But when the Lions bolted to Ford Field in 2002, the Silverdome was left without a primary
tenant. Pontiac experienced a financial crisis trying to maintain the stadium, and the Silverdome quickly fell into ruin. There dome hosted a handful of events between 2003-2005, but it closed in 2006. Auctioned off in 2009, it reopened in 2010, and its parking lot was briefly used as a drive-in.
There were plans to use the Silverdome as a stadium for an MLS team. But when that fell through, the dome again was left untended, and it deteriorated rapidly. The roof collapsed in 2012, and mother nature took over from there. Most of the field is submerged, dotted with Teflon corpses. Hallways are flooded, expensive equipment languishes, and the once glitzy luxury boxes are decrepit.
The Silverdome’s most recent owner started auctioning off parts of the stadium in June 2014. Despite the Silverdome’s likely fate,
the high cost of demolition has postponed its demise.
1. Tiger Stadium — Detroit, Mich.
Opened the same week the Titanic sank, Tiger Stadium (1912-1999) was one of Major League Baseball’s most storied venues.
Tiger Stadium’s location on the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Trumble Ave. gave rise to its nickname, “The Corner.” Its compact and intimate design allowed fans to get close to the game, especially when equipped for baseball. Despite a handful of obstructed views common to parks of its era, Tiger Stadium’s upper deck was considered one of the best in the majors for watching a baseball game.
For power hitters though, it was something of an enigma. The upper deck in left field was practically two stories tall and about 340 feet from home plate. Only four players ever cleared the roof in left: Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard, Cecil Feilder, and Mark McGwire.
The home of the Tigers and the NFL’s Detroit Lions for more than four decades, Tiger Stadium saw an incredible run of success for its two professional sports teams. The Tigers won four World Series and eight of their 11 American League pennants at The Corner.
The Lions, meanwhile, had their most successful tenure in team history at Tiger Stadium, winning three NFL Championships in a five year span.
The Corner also hosted other monumental sporting events through the early 1970s. Joe Louis defended his world heavyweight title in 1939, knocking out Bob Pastor in what was then called Briggs Stadium. MLB also awarded three All-Star games to The Corner. The final midsummer classic in the venerable park was in 1971, when Reggie Jackson smash the longest home run in All-Star history.
In 1989, Tiger Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places. But by the mid 1990s, the antiquated facility started to wear on management. Plans to refurbish Tiger Stadium failed to get traction, and when construction began for a new ballpark in 1997, The Corner seemed destined for demolition.
Tiger Stadium’s sendoff was bittersweet. Detroit won its final home game, but the stadium was shuttered soon after.
Efforts to save or preserve it fell on deaf ears, and The Corner became little more than a backdrop for movies and TV specials.
Unlike most American sports facilities, Tiger Stadium wasn’t demolished after its successor opened, and
the new millennium offered little respite to The Corner. Its continued deterioration brought comparisons to the urban decay sweeping Detroit. But in 2008, demolition finally began. By Sept. 2009, there was nothing left but its frayed baseball diamond. Still, the community rallied around what remained, and worked tirelessly to preserve the memory of one of baseball’s sanctuaries.