HAMTRAMCK, Mich. - The Negro Baseball League was a huge part of the African-American culture.
It was a meeting place for everyone to talk, have fun and just forget about the rough times back then.
One of the Negro Baseball teams played in Hamtramck at Hamtramck Stadium. It is a historical marker here in Metro Detroit. It was home to the Detroit Stars baseball team that played in the Negro National League.
It’s empty now, but it’s full of Black History. It may not look like much, but let’s go back about eight decades to when Hamtramck Stadium was the place to be for black people in Detroit.
"This is the field, you can still see the hump for the pitcher’s mound. The park would have seated about 9,000,” said Baseball Historian Gary Gillette.
The date was May 11, 1930. It was the beginning of an era for the Negro Baseball League.
"Ty Cobb, the Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer, came here and threw out the first pitch. The Detroit Stars played a game against a team of Hamtramck City Employees. The second game that day, they played the Cuban Stars of the Negro National League,” said Gillette.
Gillette said there were many games at the stadium. Unfortunately, the Detroit Stars folded in 1931, at the end of the season, but in 1932 there was a new Negro League team called the Detroit Wolves, but that team ended during the Great Depression. Years later, the Detroit Stars took the field again, where they controlled the Negro Baseball League for several more years.
"The Detroit Stars was one of the best teams in the Negro National League from 1920-1931. Unfortunately, they never won a championship. They were frequently second place, they almost had a winning record. In 1930, they lost a championship series in seven games,” said Gillette.
Gillette said many legends played on the field.
"This is a field, where I identified, 18 Hall of Famers either played or managed here, including Satchel Paige. The world famous pitcher and probably the greatest pitcher in baseball history, black or white. Turkey Stearnes played here. Norman Turkey Stearnes, was the greatest, player ever to spend most of his career in the Detroit Stars, in the Negro Leagues. He played here in 1930, 1931 and 1937," said Gillette.
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