Club Honors Craig Monroe with the 2019 Willie Horton African American Legacy Award
25th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game Saturday, August 10 at 6:10 p.m.
First 10,000 Fans on Saturday, August 10 Receive a Detroit Stars Replica Jersey
DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers are proud to host the 17th annual Negro Leagues Weekend on August 9-11, when the Kansas City Royals visit Comerica Park. On Saturday, August 10, the Tigers and Royals will become the Stars and Monarchs, respectively, sporting Negro League throwback uniforms to celebrate the 25th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game, presented by Comerica Bank. This annual tradition marks the longest-running weekend celebration of its kind in Major League Baseball.
The year 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Detroit Stars Negro League Baseball team, which started initially as an independent club in 1919. One year later, the Stars went on to become one of eight charter members of the first established Negro baseball League, the Negro National League.
“Remembering the heritage and tradition of Negro Leagues Baseball is something all of us with the Detroit Tigers are proud to support,” said Chris Granger, Group President of Sports and Entertainment, Ilitch Holdings. “It’s an annual fan-favorite celebration that brings together so many people that played an important role in advancing African American participation in baseball over the years – a cause that’s near the hearts of many here in Detroit.”
The weekend celebration will include:
Friday, August 9 vs. Kansas City Royals at 7:10 p.m. – Gates Open Early at 5:00 p.m.
Former Tigers outfielder and current FOX Sports Detroit analyst Craig Monroe will be recognized at the annual Negro Leagues Legacy Luncheon, sponsored by Comerica Bank. The luncheon is a private event with invitees from the Detroit Tigers front office, former Negro Leagues players, youth baseball and softball players and select community leaders from Southeast Michigan.
13th Annual Detroit Starts Singing Competition: Prior to Friday’s game, the Detroit Tigers, in partnership with Radio One and Comerica Bank, will host the 13th Annual Detroit Stars Singing Competition from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Big Cat Court. Ten finalists will perform before a panel of celebrity judges, including the longest running African American male host on television, Judge Greg Mathis, a national figure known for his advocacy campaigns for urban youth and equal justice. Also featuring on the panel will be TV personality and entertainment reporter Lee Thomas, wife of hometown hero and Tigers great Willie Horton, Gloria Horton, and wife of 2010 African American Legacy Award recipient and former Tiger second baseman Jake Wood, Marsha Wood. The winner receives $2,000 and is awarded the opportunity to sing the National Anthem prior to the Detroit Tigers game on Wednesday, September 25th.
“Passing of the Bat” Ceremony: Continuing the organization’s celebration of African American ballplayers and their numerous contributions to the game of baseball, the Tigers will host a special on-field ceremony. The annual “Passing of the Bat” ceremony embodies the past, present and future contributions of African American ballplayers to the game of baseball, and includes ballplayers from many eras of baseball in Detroit. The individuals in the pregame ceremony include Minnie Forbes, owner of the Detroit Stars from 1956-58 and the last living Negro Leagues team owner, Tigers alumni including Willie Horton, Craig Monroe and Jake Wood, Tigers infielder Niko Goodrum,and John Campbell Jr., a 2019 graduate of Detroit Country Day School and a top high school baseball prospect in Michigan.
The national anthem will be performed by Joyce Stearnes Thompson and Rosilyn Stearnes-Brown, daughters of Negro Leagues great and National Baseball Hall of Fame member, Norman “Turkey” Stearnes.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Judge Greg Mathis and Karen Stearnes-Dye, granddaughter of Norman “Turkey” Stearnes.
A series of banners will be displayed throughout the weekend along the concourse chronicling the history of African American players with the Detroit Tigers.
Negro Leagues merchandise will be sold throughout the weekend by Tony Dees Negro Leagues Baseball Store and Apparel, located at Gate A inside Comerica Park.
25th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game, Saturday, August 10 vs. Kansas City Royals at 6:10 p.m. – Gates Open Early at 4:00 p.m.
The first 10,000 fans to enter the park will receive a Detroit Stars Replica Jersey, courtesy of Comerica Bank.
Prior to the game, the Tigers will host a Q&A session at the Big Cat Court, where fans can ask questions and interact with former Negro Leagues players. This event will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Comerica Bank will host a special ceremony, paying tribute to the Alternatives for Girls Organization.
Eight former Negro Leagues players will be recognized during a pre-game on-field ceremony:
- Minnie Forbes – Owner of the Detroit Stars from 1956-58. She is the last living Negro Leagues team owner.
- Bill Hill – A member of the Kansas City Monarchs in 1955.
- Jake Sanders – Outfielder for the Detroit Stars in 1956 and Kansas City Monarchs from 1957-58.
- Eugene Scruggs – Pitcher for the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs from 1957-58, who was deemed to throw “the funky curve ball”.
- Pedro Sierra – Pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns and Detroit Stars from 1954-58.
- Ron Teasley – Detroit native, Wayne State University alumnus and Hall of Fame inductee. Teasley was the New York Cubans utilityman in 1948.
- Johnny Walker – Outfielder for the Grand Rapids Black Sox, Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs.
- Walt Owens – Grew up in Detroit and was a pitcher and outfielder for the Detroit Stars from 1953-55.
- The national anthem will be performed by Earnest Robinson.
Sunday, August 11 vs. Kansas City Royals at 1:10 p.m. – Gates Open Early at 11:30 a.m.
Prior to the game, the Tigers will host a fan Q&A session at Comerica Park with Craig Monroe. The event will be held in the Big Cat Court and hosted by Dan Leach of 97.1 The Ticket.
The Tigers will hold a pre-game on-field ceremony honoring Craig Monroe with the 2019 Detroit Tigers Willie Horton African American Legacy Award, which honors African Americans who have strengthened the legacy of baseball in the African American community and have contributed to the rich history of the Detroit Tigers. Previous recipients of the award include: Torii Hunter (2018), Gary Sheffield (2017), Chet Lemon (2016), Lou Whitaker (2015), Billy Bruton (2014), Larry Herndon (2013), Earl Wilson (2012), Jake Wood (2010) and Gates Brown (2009). A plaque chronicling the history of the African American Legacy Award recipients is on display in the Ernie Harwell Media Center.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Craig Monroe.
The ceremony also includes the presentation of Testimonial Resolution to Craig Monroe by Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones.