Rock star Jack White is helping restore a Detroit-area Negro Leagues Stadium
80 years ago, Hamtramck Stadium, located about six miles northeast of Detroit, was a mecca of baseball talent. It was home to the Detroit Stars/Wolves -- one of the best teams to ever play in the Negro National League -- for three seasons. Hall of Famer Turkey Stearnes starred for the home team, Satchel Paige brought his bag of tricks as a visitor and Josh Gibson unleashed his power on the stadium's maddening dimensions.
But, besides some rec leagues and a few amazingly dominant Little League teams in the 1950s, the field -- one of the few remaining from the Negro Leagues era -- has fallen into disuse. The grass has become overgrown, graffiti litters the grandstand and the sounds of baseball have grown silent.
On Monday, though, Stearnes' daughter Rosilyn Stearnes-Brown and the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium announced a new campaign to raise $50,000 to restore the park. And right away, they got a hefty $10,000 donation from a Detroit legend:
Yes, White Stripes lead singer and very serious Tigers fan Jack White is lending a hand to the redevelopment plan. Good on, Jack. The aim is "to restore Hamtramck Stadium's historic field for baseball and soccer games in advance of a planned restoration of its historic grandstand ... enhancing the existing cricket pitch, installing new signage, and installing wayfaring signage around Hamtramck to direct visitors to the site."
Check out White's company's inspiring Instagram post below:
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We believe Baseball is a sport for everyone who has the passion and hunger for the game. No matter race, gender, ethnicity, or financial status ... it should be for everyone. And accessible. This is exactly why we are proud of #Warstic Co-owner @officialjackwhitelive’s donation to help raise funds for the @hamtramckstadium field restoration in #Detroit, one of five remaining #NegroLeagues baseball stadiums in the country. Jack White’s desire to preserve the unique history of Baseball is complemented by Warstic’s mindset towards evolving the culture of Baseball. In this vein, our @TeamWarstic programing was created to teach, inspire and develop players, not just with their mechanics and skills but with their mind and worldview. For us, it’s not about where they come from, but rather the #grit to go against the grain and the willingness to #battle to make people’s lives better. #warstripenation #teamwarstic #morethanbasballislife #notbaseballdaycare #timetohunt #learnittoearnit
Watch the stadium rebirth video here, featuring Stearnes' daughter, and let's hope they reach their goal. More kids playing baseball, in a hallowed ballpark such as Hamtramck, would be a very cool thing.
Matt Monagan is a writer for MLB.com. In his spare time, he travels and searches Twitter for Wily Mo Peña news.