Hard to believe that 45 years has passed since the murders of MLK and RFK.
The summer of 1968 was one of both tragedy & joy (1968 Detroit Tigers)
The Tigers’ role in healing a city
The 1968 baseball season occurred in a year of upheaval. The Tet Offensive earlier in the year increased opposition to the Vietnam War. The City of Detroit had suffered through one of the worst riots in American history during the summer of 1967. Less than a week before Opening Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, triggering civil unrest in 60 American cities. The assassination of Robert Kennedy followed in June. And in late August, the Tigers played a series in Chicago, as Chicago police had violent confrontations with thousands of anti-war protesters during the Democratic National Convention. Yet, through the summer of 1968, the people of Detroit were united by their passion for the Tigers and the calming radio voice of Tigers broadcaster, Ernie Harwell. When the Tigers won the World Series, the headline in the Detroit Free Press read: “WE WIN!” The headline told the story. Amidst all the turmoil, the people of Detroit came together behind their baseball team.
Tigers Win the Series
In a column published on October 11, 1968, Detroit’s senior baseball writer, Joe Falls, described the impact of the Tigers championship on the city.
town, as you know, had the worst riot in our nation’s history in the summer of
1967, and it left scars which may never fully heal. . . . And so, as 1968
dawned and we all started thinking ahead to the hot summer nights in Detroit,
the mood of our city was taut. It was apprehensive. . . . But then something
started happening in the middle of 1968. You could pull up to a light at the
corner of Clairmount and 12th, which was the hub of last year’s riot, and the
guy in the next car would have his radio turned up: ‘ …. McLain looks in for
the sign, he’s set — here’s the pitch’ … It was a year when an entire
community, an entire city, was caught up in a wild, wonderful frenzy.
Even the Governor of Michigan, George Romney, credited the Tigers with helping calm the city. In a letter to owner John Fetzer, Romney wrote: “The deepest meaning of this victory extends beyond the sports pages, radio broadcasts, and the telecasts that have consumed our attention for several months. This championship occurred when all of us in Detroit and Michigan needed a great lift. At a time of unusual tensions, when many good men lost their perspective toward others, the Tigers set an example of what human relations should really be.”[
Joes Feliciano Summer 1968
Jose Feliciano at World Series of 1968
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When anywhere near 12 Mile and Middlebelt…stop at Bella Vita for delicious pizza, chicken, subs and more. It is a locally owned business and the owners are friendly and on-site. There is a nice wine shoppe next door…Bella Vino for all of your party needs. It is located next to Jeans Hardware directly across 12 Mile from Farmington Hills Harrison High School. Stop in before or after a game or on your way to a picnic!!
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