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50 Days Until Kickoff for the Unified Cup: A Profile of The Corner Ballpark

A baseball diamond in Detroit.
The Corner Ballpark stands on the former site of Tiger Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers from 1912 to 1999.

The corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood is considered sacred soil for baseball fans in the Motor City.

Unified Cup 2022

It’s the site of Babe Ruth’s famous 575-foot home run, believed to be the longest in Major League Baseball history. It’s where Lou Gehrig played his final game, ending his streak of consecutive games at 2,130. And it hosted three All Star Games, none more famous than in 1971 when Reggie Jackson hit a home run so far and high that it hit the light tower.

And for 87 years, it was the home of the Detroit Tigers.

Yes, there was a certain magic at Tiger Stadium on that famous corner of Michigan and Trumbull, and now the glory is back thanks to the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL).

In 2015, the Detroit PAL launched a campaign to raise $20 million for the redevelopment of the land which once housed the since-demolished Tiger Stadium.

Funded by avid supporters across the state of Michigan, the campaign was a massive success and construction began in 2016.

Aptly named The Corner Ballpark, the facility opened in 2018 and is the home of the Detroit PAL who serve over 14,000 youth per year.

With year-round programs taking place at The Corner Ballpark, Detroit PAL strives to help its young athletes learn the skills needed to succeed both on and off the playing field.

And later this summer, The Corner Ballpark will be the home of the 2022 Unified Cup’s Opening Ceremony as well as women’s matches on 31 July.

Fred Hunter, the Acting CEO of the Detroit PAL, says his organization couldn’t be more excited to host the 300+ Special Olympics footballers and Unified partners traveling to Detroit from around the world.

“For us, the ‘bigness’ of what’s happening is exciting. As an organization, we want the youth we mentor to be exposed to grand ideas from people all around the world,” Hunter said. “Like Special Olympics, we value bringing people together and that’s exactly what the Unified Cup will do.”

Hunter noted the significance of The Corner Ballpark staging the women’s matches during the tournament week as a method to increase engagement among the young women the Detroit PAL serves.

“We have a key organizational initiative called ‘Girls Changing the Game,’ with the focus being increasing the number and quality of programs for our young ladies,” Hunter said. “One of our in-house mottos is girls who change the game become women who change the world. This combined with hosting the Unified Cup women’s matches works wonderful with who we are and what we do.”

Since its early 20th Century baseball roots to the present day, the corner of Michigan and Trumbull has always served as a place to bring people together. Undoubtedly, this summer’s Unified Cup will add to the historic legacy of this wonderful piece of land.

“Our mission is helping youth find their greatness because there’s greatness in every single individual and it’s so important for them to know that.,”
Fred Hunter, Acting CEO, Detroit Police Athletic League

Indeed, the Unified Cup will not only bring out the greatness in all of its participants, it will inspire the local community and bring some more magic to this special corner.

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