Mr. Ilitch 1929 – 2017

From his first Little Caesars outlet in Garden City strip mall in 1959 — where a pizza cost $2.39 — Ilitch, aided at every step by Marian, his wife of 61 years,  became a major metro Detroit personality and a key figure in the revival of downtown Detroit. In addition to founding the Little Caesars pizza chain, he owned the Red Wings, Tigers and the Fox Theatre, and operated city-owned Joe Louis, Cobo, and Little Caesars arenas, among other smaller businesses, teams and restaurants….

Thank you, Mr. I.

15 Comments

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  3. Coleman

    February 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm

  4. StorminNorman$

    February 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    RIP Mr I – home grown guy who did a LOT for the city of Detroit… definitely brought something (to Wings & Tigers) that was not in Detroit for a long time… relatively consistent winners

    he will be missed

    http://www.freep.com/story/spo...../97768568/

  5. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    February 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Mr I was a winner and brought winners to Detroit for their great fans. Many God bless him.

  6. Tony de Florida

    February 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. I in the 80’s after he got the Wings. I had seasons tickets back then and by chance sat in the same section at Joe Louis arena. My friend and I had become friendly with Marian Ilitch who attended all the games and she introduced us to Mr. I on two occasions. He would sit in the stands occasionally back then but had to build his own private box because he got really emotional when the Wings made a dumb mistake (often back then). While I didn’t have anymore contact than that with him personally the family did two things for me that I will never forget. In 1988 my son Tony was stationed at Fort Ord and the Wings were playing the Kings at Oakland. At the time I was making frequent trips to San Jose and I asked Marian if she could get us a couple of tickets to the game. I asked her during one of the preseason games at the Joe. A week before the game in Oakland, I got a call from the Joe and they told me there would be two tickets for us at the Coliseum box office for us. I had tried for weeks to get tickets with no luck as the Kings had just gotten Gretsky and it was hard to find tickets. As it turned out we were seated in the area where the team big shots sat and we wee a couple of seats away from Bruce McNoll the King’s owner.

    A few years later, there was a terminally ill 11 year old from my son’s church who was a great Wings fan. He wanted a Wings jacket. I asked Mrs. I if they could help and sure enough a week later a Wings jacked was delivered to the hospital, signed as I recall by Stevie Y, the captain.

    What these two experiences told me about Mr. I is that he instilled in his organization not only a pride for excellence but a spirit of helping people, no matter who they were. I would be hard pressed to name another family that has done more for our area. He will be missed.

  7. StorminNorman$

    February 12, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    great stories Tony, thanks for sharing – Mr I was the real deal.

    in ’88 when the Kings traded for Gretzky, my boss at the time (in HOU) bought season tix to the Kings on the day the trade was announced – i flew to about 3-4 games that year, including the Kings regular season home opener, which was against the Wings, and LA pounded DET …like 8-2 or something… Gretzky scored on his very first shot.

    there were a lot of celebrities turning out for the Gretzky buzz – and we had passes into the (private) Forum Club or whatever it was called inside the arena – met Jack Nicholson and saw several other celebs there… as the saying goes, ‘those were different times’

  8. Jud

    February 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    RIP… Mr I…… Thanks for all you did. You we’re one of a kind!

    • jud

      February 14, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      And in the meantime.. First Day Spring Training… Life is Good!

  9. jud

    February 14, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    And in the meantime.. First Day Spring Training… Life is Good!

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      February 16, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      And let the song of the turtle be heard across this land!

  10. Smoking Loon

    February 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    With the caveat that worst can always be even worse, here is a 2017 Worst Case Scenario:

    SP Sanchez
    SP Pelfrey
    SP Greene
    SP Farmer
    SP Riordan
    SP/RP Bell*
    CL Rondon
    RP Lowe*
    RP Hardy*
    RP VerHagen
    RP Saupold
    RP Alaniz

    C Avila*
    1B-DH Navarro* & Pill
    2B Infante
    SS Ryan
    3B Cox*
    LF-RF Presley* & Lough*
    CF Gose*/Jones
    BENCH: Hicks (C), Romine# (UT), Watkins* (IF)

    How nice to be able to put *seven* left-handed bats in the lineup, eh? 🙂 This team could finish 3rd in the AL Central. No? Have another drink.

  11. StorminNorman$

    February 22, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    highly unlikely, but wouldn’t be ironic if DET won the series this year – in light of Mr Illitch passing away and DET not signing one FA in the offseason? …and the Wings NOT making the playoffs for the 1st time in 26 years

    it would be a great tribute to the Illitch family and Mr I – if the Tigers could be ‘that team of destiny’

    • Smoking Loon

      February 25, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      I was imagining the perfect storm for “worst case.” Verlander, Cabrera, Kinsler, etc., all on the 15-day or 60-day DL, some out for the season. Collins, Moya, and Machado claimed off waivers. What I wondered was not so much how bad it would be (it would certainly be strange) but how it might look. Very unlikely indeed.

      I’m bullish on the 2017 Tigers because of the starting rotation and because the offense and defense are as strong as they have ever been doing our recent Golden Age of Tigers Baseball. Unless injuries derail them, I expect the Detroit Tigers to end up in the ALCS, if not the World Series. And it would be a fantastic tribute to Mike Illitch if they went all the way. Too late in one sense, but not in another. It’s still the franchise he built.

  12. Kevin in Dallas

    March 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Making sure that commenting is working.

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