Tigers, Red Wings owner dies

In addition to owning the 116-year-old franchise, Ilitch is best known as the founder and owner of the Little Ceasars chain of pizza restaurants, which turned him into a billionaire (after being started for just $10,000), and as the owner of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. He and his wife, Marian, were listed by Forbes at No. 86 in its 2016 rankings of the richest people in America, with a net worth of $5.8 billion. Ilitch played minor-league baseball for four years after a stint in the Marines.

According to multiple reports, Detroit icon Mike Ilitch passed away at a local hospital at the age of 87. It may not make the broadcast, but I can personally say that I've never gone to a Wings game in D.C. that hasn't had at least one rowdy Let's Go Red Wings chant echo around the upper deck.

He moved the team from Tiger Stadium to Comerica Park in 2000, but although they made it to the World Series in 2006 and 2012, Ilitch never saw them capture the crown.

In addition to returning the Tigers to the postseason, Ilitch was instrumental in bringing big name free agents Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander to Detroit. "I happen to be a fan with an owner's pocketbook".

Mike Ilitch had a passion for the game of baseball that he showed through his management of the Detroit Tigers. That year, the Tigers made it all the way to the World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. "I", Tigers executive vice president and general manager Al Avila said in a statement.

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Without Ilitch's hunger to win and willingness to pour millions into the team, the idea of calling Detroit "Hockeytown" would have been laughable.

Ilitch Holdings was established in 1999 to manage the family's interests in food, sports and entertainment. Their 25 consecutive seasons of having reached the postseason is the longest active streak in the major American sports, and ranks fourth all time.

Ilitch opened the first Little Caesars in Garden City, where it still stands.

In addition to his wife and his son Christopher, Ilitch is survived by his sons Michael Jr., Atanas and Ron; his daughters, Denise, Lisa and Carole; 22 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

  • Regina Holmes