TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

We are 2 days from the start of the 2018 season. Not sure how it got here so quickly, but it did. So it’s time to start thinking about one of the greatest and most celebrated days of the year in Detroit. That’s right, Opening Day!

Our writers have chosen to address another question about the home opener, a day that has given us so many great memories over the years as Tiger fans. Everyone has a favorite memory, or 2, or 3!

Holly and Kurt have not shared their answers to the following question. But  it is sure to spark plenty of responses from you, the readers.

So, here is the question.


What are Kurt’s and Holly’s favorite Opening Day memories?


KURT

The year of the last Tiger championship, 1984, ranks as the most memorable and most exciting year of my life when it comes to baseball and all the things I was able to experience.

After a 6-0 start on the road, the Tigers returned home with so much positive energy, the electricity felt inside Tiger Stadium on Opening Day could have powered the entire city.

The biggest free agent to come to Detroit in a very long time arrived prior to the 1984 season. Darrell Evans wasted no time making his presence known with the Tigers. He hit a 3-run homer in the road opener at the Metrodome in Minnesota and then, 5 games later, came to the plate for his debut in the home whites; his first at-bat at Tiger Stadium.

As was usually the case, Whitaker and Trammell both reached base to start the game and Evans, batting third in the order, quickly jacked a home run into the upper deck in right field. The Tigers were quickly ahead 3-0 and went on to win the home opener 5-1, in a season they would win their first nine.

It wasn’t Evans’ best season with the Tigers, but in the span of a week, he hit 2 Opening Day 3-run homers in 2 different cities. You want Opening Day memories? Well, you got ‘em!


HOLLY

Growing up in Michigan, I managed to attend almost every Opening Day until I Ieft the state to attend college. And somehow, I managed to get a pass from my middle and high schools to go to the games under the pretense of covering them for the school newspapers. And I didn’t even write for the sports sections.

Of course, we all knew the true intent. I remember all of my teachers signing off on my absences, trying hard not to smile too much.

The vast majority of those games were cold, but there was one particular year that stood out because the day was positively balmy. Warm enough that I was able to convince my best friend that we had to travel to Tiger Stadium in her convertible.

The Tigers only managed to get 2 hits that day but the game was scoreless until the 9th when Rusty Staub, playing RF, lost the ball in a snow bank at the wall and allowed the Brewers to score the only run. John Hiller, my favorite player, ended up taking the loss.

But the day was still magical as we drove back home with the top down, sun and wind in our faces, as we welcomed spring and a new season of baseball.


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8 thoughts on “TWO FOR TUESDAY

  1. Beautiful memories – growing up in Indiana my Grandparents and both my parents were Michiganders . Memories of 760 AM and Ernie and Paul crackling over the radio rain or shine are my fondest memories – miss those simple easy days of the booming voices, the crack of the bat, the crowd sound and Tiger Stadium at the corner + waiting for the paper or Sporting News to arrive with the box score!

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  2. Great memories as well, my father took my brother and I to over 100 games at Tiger stadium , sat in every section, sat through twi-night double headers but never made it to an opening day, but I have no regrets. I’m 64 and the memories of those days and nights with my father keep me smiling. Thank you Holly

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  3. Opening Day 2000. Game time temp. was 37 degrees with rain and clouds. No day for baseball but it was the first game in a new park so why not? We sat near the top and were shielded from the rain and dripping slush. Too bad the fans three rows down from us weren’t!

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    • I was there 2000. Group bus stalled in traffic … I got off to walk, others followed me. Bus still had not moved when I turned to look for it at the gate. Never got a dog, beer, souvenir ..lines were AWFUL. Left in 6th inning … cold as the beer I didn’t get. Kurt – I listened to the game in ’84 in Chicago (called in sick) via WKZO Kalmazoo … Ernie and Paul fading in/out all game.

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      • I remember the long lines! I missed the flag and ceremonial first pitch ceremonies trying to get hot dogs, which were cold by the time I got back to my seat. A lot of kinks took a while to work out. I was down there a week later to buy tix for another game and there was a long line outside for concessions’ workers paychecks. Apparently, checks weren’t ready and the workers were furious!

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  4. Opening Day has always been a Indy Start Green Flag for me signaling the beginning of six brand new months of Tiger baseball. Almost a game a day with Ernie and George. More epic plays to remember forever! Cabin Fever is over!

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  5. Opening Day 1997 – my brothers and I were fighting the crowds to exit the stadium. They were giving away souvenir baseballs at some gates, so they were backed up. We backtracked looking for another gate and came upon Ernie Harwell. He graciously signed our programs and took a picture with us – the only problem was the flash didn’t go off, which we didn’t realize until the film was developed and that image was blank. Still have the memory though!

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    • I was at that one as well! I still have the giveaway ball wrapped in plastic. I believe on that same day in Milwaukee the baseballs were given out before the game. Fans threw them out on the field. Game was stopped. Phil Garner got on a mic and pleaded for fans to stop.

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