In 1879 Recreation Park was established on land surrounding this site. The park extended from Brady street to Willis Avenue. It included the baseball field that was the home park of the Detroit Wolverines of the National League from 1881 to 1888. Here on May 2, 1881, the first major league baseball game in Detroit was played before 1,286 spectators. After that first game with Buffalo, more than four hundred major league games were played here over eight seasons. This marker stands in what was the left field. Home plate and a wooden grandstand were near Brady Street to the south. Fans strolled in a nearby grove of trees owned by Harper Hospital. Two Wolverines, Dan Brouthers and Sam Thompson have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
At Mayor William G. Thompson's suggestion, the Detroit Wolverine's were organized as a major league team to play at Recreation Park. In its first years the team finished from the middle to the bottom of the National League. It began to improve after it was purchased by Frederick K. Stearns in 1885. In 1887 it won the National League Pennant and the national championship, defeating St. Louis of the American Association in a fifteen game series. Poor attendance caused the Wolverines to break up after the 1888 season. The franchise moved to Cleveland, where it finally disbanded in 1899. From 1889 to 1894 other baseball teams played at Recreation Park. In 1894 the park was closed, the grandstand was torn down, and the land was subdivided.