Frank Navin

Navin was president of the Detroit Tigers for 32 years. Although trained in the law, he worked as a bookkeeper for S.F. Angus, the Tigers’ second owner. When the club was sold to William Yawkey in 1903, Navin purchased $5,000 worth of stock, reportedly with money won in a card game. Elevated to club president, he brought in Hughie Jennings, Ty Cobb, and others, who helped lead the Tigers to consecutive pennants in 1907, 1908, and 1909. The grateful Yawkey gave Navin half ownership of the team. The baseball park (now Tiger Stadium) was called Navin Field from 1912 through 1937. Attendance grew in Detroit even though the team went more than two decades before its fourth pennant. Navin became rich and a civic leader, but was nearly ruined in 1931 by the Depression and his own racetrack losses. He was forced to sell most of his Tiger stock to William O. Briggs, although he remained team president. In 1934 the Tigers won their fourth pennant, and shortly before Navin’s death in 1935 they defeated the Cubs in the World Series.