Jack White pitches in to save former home of Detroit Stars
Rock star Jack White is pitching in to preserve a historic baseball landmark.
White, a Detroit native who gained fame with the band "The White Stripes," is making a $10,000 donation to help with renovations to Hamtramck Stadium, former home of the Detroit Stars and other teams in the Negro Leagues.
Hamtramck Stadium, built in 1930, is one of the last remaining ballparks from the era of the Negro Leagues, including the Detroit Stars and Detroit Wolves. Many of the stars of that era, including the Stars’ Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, along with Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, played at the stadium.
White is partnering with the Piast Institute and Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium for the new campaign, which seeks to raise $50,000 to restore the historic field for baseball and soccer games and to renovate the grandstand. Other initiatives include improving the existing cricket pitch and installing new signage in and around the stadium.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match donations to the campaign, up to $50,000.
“As a field that’s welcomed at least 18 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, including great Negro League players like Turkey Stearnes, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige, Hamtramck Stadium serves as an important reminder of African-American history here in metro Detroit and across the country,” Gary Gillette, founder and president of the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, said in a statement.
“Hamtramck Stadium is one of just five remaining locations where major Negro League teams once played their home games and represents a historic period in the Detroit community.”
The stadium also was the home of Hamtramck’s 1959 Little League World Series champions.
“It’s important to provide our young people with opportunities that will enrich their minds and will make them productive, positive individuals, striving to make a difference in our society just like the players in the Negro Leagues,” Joyce Stearnes Thompson, one of Stearnes’ daughters, said in a statement. “Hamtramck Stadium can be a magnificent field of dreams that will preserve the legacy of my father and the Negro Leaguers in this special place they loved.”