Fox Sports 1 baseball analyst C.J. Nitkowski spent five of his 10 MLB seasons pitching for the Detroit Tigers. Three of those seasons were spent playing at Tiger Stadium. So it stands to reason that the left-hander would have some attachment to the Tigers’ former ballpark, now a field in downtown Detroit.
Nitkowski was back in Detroit for FS 1’s broadcast of Saturday’s Rangers-Tigers game. But the next day, he visited his old pitching mound and hung out with the Navin Field Grounds Crew, the group responsible for maintaining the field, to share his memories of playing at Tiger Stadium.
— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) August 23, 2015
Nitkowski started the final night game played at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 25, 1999, earning the win in an 11-3 victory over the Royals. He racked up 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings, allowing two runs, five hits and three walks. The final game at Tiger Stadium was played two days later, and Nitkowski nodded to history by wearing No. 16, the number Hal Newhouser wore pitching the first night game at the ballpark.
The left-hander had two different stints with the Tigers, twice traded to Detroit.
The Reds included Nitkowski as part of a three-player package for David Wells, and he pitched in Detroit during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. He was then dealt to the Astros (along with current Tigers manager Brad Ausmus) in a transaction involving nine players. Houston traded Nitkowski back to the Tigers two years later (again with Ausmus) in a six-player deal. His time in Detroit ended in Sept. 2001 when he was shipped to the Mets.