Blue Jays vs Detroit Tigers at Labatt Park in London, Ontario
Labatt Park in Downtown London, Ontario is the oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world. Labatt Park Dates back to 1877 and was formerly known as Tecumseh Park, home of the 1877 International League Champion London Tecumseh’s. London cannot say they share the world’s oldest baseball diamond due to the fact that Tecumseh Park had to be rebuilt a few times due to two separate floods. One in 1883 and the other in 1936.
In 1937 the Labatt family donated over $10,000 to the clean up efforts of the park and after that gesture the name of the park was changed to the John Labatt Memorial Athletic Grounds.
The Park has seen it’s fair share of great Major League ballplayers come through town. Let’s start with London’s own George “Mooney” Gibson who played 16 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Giants and is the only Canadian at this point to be a manager in the big leagues. Ty Cobb also came to town with the Detroit Tigers to play an exhibition game in London against the Tecumseh’s. Fergie Jenkins also pitched in London with the Inter-county Baseball League London Majors and former 30 game winner Denny McLain also tried his hand with London’s team after his career finished.
The Tigers housed their Double-A franchise out of London from 1989 to 1993. They won the Eastern League Championship in 1990 featuring players like Travis Fryman and Manager Chris Chambliss. The Tigers relocated to Trenton, New Jersey after the 1993 season.
London is dead centre between Toronto and Detroit. I’m sure you’ve heard Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez reference the fact that there used to be bars in downtown London for Tigers fans and Jays fans. London loves their baseball and they would love a Blue Jays and Tigers regular season game at the gem known as Labatt Park.