In 1935, four-year-old Marshall Loewenstein attended a game at Tiger Stadium and had his picture taken on the dugout steps with family friend and legendary Detroit Tiger first baseman and outfielder Hank Greenberg. For the photo, Marshall was wearing a handmade Tigers uniform that Greenberg had gifted him.
What the Loewenstein family didn’t know at the time is that this special moment would become a cherished family tradition that would continue for generations to come.
Since that day almost 90 years ago, 11 young Loewenstein children have donned the same uniform and taken their photo with Detroit Tigers, first at Tiger Stadium and then at Comerica Park. With each photo, a moment in time of Tigers history has been captured.
“Any family tradition that spans multiple generations is special, but the bond that our family feels with the Tigers is a story of Detroit sports history and timeless memories,” said Rick Loewenstein, Marshall’s son. “It’s crazy to think that this tradition has endured through the Great Depression, a World War, and countless momentous events that have significantly impacted our lives.”
Following young Marshall’s photo in 1935, Marshall’s sons Mark and Rick Lowenstein had their photos taken in 1960 and 1963 with Detroit Tiger Rocky Colavito. Marshall’s youngest son, Michael, had his photo taken with Bill Freehan in 1966.
Later, the third generation continued this Lowenstein tradition through the 1990s at Tiger Stadium and into early 2000s at Comerica Park with Loewenstein kids posing with Tiger greats such as Alan Trammell, Mickey Tettleton, Travis Fryman, Justin Thompson, Gabe Kapler, and Todd Jones.
In August 2023, the fourth generation took part in this special tradition when three-year-old Nora (Loewenstein) Roberts posed with Miguel Cabrera – or “Mr. Miggy” as she called him – during Cabrera’s historic final season in Major League Baseball.
Rick notes that as American Jews and avid baseball fans, it was especially impactful to see Jewish players, including Hank Greenberg, in the MLB. “Hank Greenberg was Jewish, and was my dad’s idol and role model. In later years, Rick’s son, Jeremy, had his picture taken with Gabe Kapler, another outstanding Jewish ballplayer.”
Over the years, the Loewenstein family has made the portraits and the child’s size jersey – now a family heirloom – viewable to the public through displays at various events and museums. The photos were featured in Sports Illustrated in 1999 and the uniform and photos were featured in 2016 at the Detroit Historical Museum’s “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American” exhibit.
“Baseball has meant a great deal to our family and has been an important part of our lives. As a father and avid baseball fan, it’s an amazing feeling to be able to carry on a family legacy in the tradition-laden game of baseball. Our family is incredibly grateful to the entire Tigers organization for allowing us the opportunity to carry on such a meaningful family tradition,” Rick said.