Owner Ilitch makes rare appearance at Tigers game

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Mike Ilitch

Detroit — Mike Ilitch’s public appearances have become increasingly rare the last several years, especially this year.

But the 87-year-old owner of the Tigers, Red Wings, and the under-construction Little Caesars Arena and District Detroit neighborhood, was in attendance to watch the Tigers finish a sweep the White Sox at Comerica Park on Wednesday.

He arrived around 12:45 p.m., being driven by van into his private garage parking space inside Comerica Park, next to the administration offices.

With a blanket covering his legs, Ilitch was in a wheelchair and taken to a waiting elevator and, presumably, to the owner’s suite to watch the game.

He left the game in the middle innings, before the Tigers won 3-2 in walk-off fashion.

One of the last times Ilitch spoke in public was in November, when he attended the news conference announcing the signing of right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.

He was not in attendance this summer for the groundbreaking for the Wayne State Business School, which is being named in his honor. According to reports, Ilitch watched the Business School groundbreaking on a live stream from home.

Earlier this year, Marian and Mike Ilitch revealed their succession plan for Ilitch Holdings, with son Christopher eventually set to take on the leadership role of an empire Ilitch said in the statement “will remain 100 percent Ilitch-family owned.”

In the same statement in May, Marian Ilitch, 83, said, “As our health is relatively good, we thought that disclosing our plans now would help provide continued stability.”