The Lakeland Flying Tigers are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, playing their games in the Florida State League. Here players are typically in their third or fourth year of play.
The Flying Tigers play their home games at Publix Field at Joker Merchant Stadium but have alternated playing at Henley Field since 2002. Like most of the teams in the Florida State League, The Flying Tigers play at their affiliate’s spring training facility.
The Flying Tigers have been affiliated with the Detroit Tigers since 1967. This is one of the longest unbroken affiliate relationships in Major League Baseball. The Flying Tiger nickname is an homage to the Lakeland School of Aeronautics, where over 8,000 pilots trained during 1940-1945. Some of these pilots would end up flying with the Flying Tigers of China during World War II.
The Flying Tigers have had many notable alumni over the years. John Smoltz, Mark Fidrych, and Kirk Gibson top that list. You can also find Curtis Granderson and Justin Verlander on the list of notable alumni for the team.
The Flying Tigers finished third last season in the Florida State League. With the addition of better prospects, they will be looking to finish better next season.
Next up on our list is the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, where players are one step closer to playing at Comerica Park and for the Detroit Tigers.