April 18, is known as Champions Day in Detroit. It has been almost 80 years since Detroit had a championship sports celebration. Today the city’s Free Press made their front page a tribute to a time when winning was the norm for the Motor City. In 1936, Governor Frank Fitzgerald declared this time-honored tradition after three sports teams made history.
The city’s own Tigers MLB team won the world series in 1935, thanks in large part to the arrival of manager, Gordan Stanley, “Mickey,” Cochrane, and his famous quote.
Players, you have to get rid of that second division complex and start hustling. You need to have pride when you take the field. You’ve been lounging in your hammocks long enough.
The Red Wings won their first NHL championship in 1936. However, the Motor City’s nickname the City of Champions, came after the Lions won the NFL championship the same year the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. This tribute is special due to all three teams won their first championships.
The tribute to this time-honored tradition comes at a time when the young fans need a dose of history. Many of the fans are not old enough to have witnessed how great these teams were and need the reminder. The 1935-1936 sports years was the most thrilling time for their city and marked the official birth of the City of Champions superfan.
The year was started with the remarkable talent of the prizefighter Joe, “Brown Bomber,” Lewis. He was an unknown fighter that year and finished it with a 14-0 record. Lewis is another tribute to Champions Day.
Written by Katherine Miller
Edited by Cathy Milne
Detroit Free Press: It’s ‘Champions Day,’ in Detroit! A toast to Detroit’s sports history
Model D: How Detroit became America’s greatest sports city
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Bill Striffler’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License