The first time Rick Snyder visited Detroit, it was to see the Tigers play baseball. He was a college student in the 1970s, studying for a general studies degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. (He would earn that degree, as well as his J.D. and MBA, by the time he was 23 years old.) Snyder, who grew up on the west side of the state in a family of modest means, trekked into town for his first Tigers game at the old stadium at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. But the details are blurry. He can't remember much about that day in Detroit—not which team the Tigers played, or who won. Before long, he was back in Ann Arbor, buried in the books.
Less than three decades later, he would make decisions that are among the most momentous in Detroit's 313-year history.