|Frank "Old Stone Face" Navin|
In 1908, Navin bought another large block of shares making him controlling owner and new president of the organization. When Navin's silent business partner William Yawkey--lumber fortune heir--died in 1919, Navin bought his stock becoming full owner of the club. Because he was suddenly cash-poor, he sold 25% of the franchise to auto-body manufacturer Walter Briggs Sr. and 25% to wheel maker John Kelsey of Kelsey-Hayes Corporation. When Kelsey died, Briggs bought his interest in the team becoming an equal co-owner with Navin, but Briggs was content to allow Navin to run the team unhampered.
|Frank Navin and Ty Cobb|
By 1931, the Great Depression cut Tiger attendance by 30%. To draw fans to the ballpark, Navin tried to sign the most popular player in the game--Babe Ruth--but he wasn't availabe, so Navin bought out Mickey Cochrane's contact from Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack for $100,000 and made him a player-manager. Cochrane was just what the team needed. He helped the Tigers win pennants in 1934 and 1935.
|Mickey Cochran with Grace and Frank Navin--1935|
|Mickey Cochrane and Walter Briggs|
For 104 seasons, the Tigers played baseball at Michigan and Trumbull earning them the distinction of being the oldest continuous one-name-only city franchise in major league baseball.
1935--Detroit Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings win their championships.