Hamtramck — Detroit rock star Jack White and his Warstic Woodmen headlined a sandlot-style charity baseball game on Thursday at Hamtramck Stadium, the former home of the Negro League Detroit Stars, to benefit the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium. Hundreds of fans showed up to support the event.
White, a Detroit native and avid baseball fan best known for fronting legendary Detroit garage-rock band the White Stripes, is part owner of Warstic, a Dallas-based sporting goods company founded by former professional baseball player Ben Jenkins.
White is currently on tour with his band the Raconteurs and played a charity match against a local team of "all-stars" to help raise funds for the restoration of Hamtramck Stadium, one of the few remaining major Negro League ballparks in America. Earlier this year, White kick-started a crowdfunding campaign to help restore the playing field.
With the No. 1 album in the country last week, White and the Raconteurs will kick off their American tour this weekend with two shows at Detroit's Masonic Temple.
Located near the border of Detroit in the diverse city of Hamtramck, Michigan, Hamtramck Stadium hosted many Negro League legends over the years, including Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and Detroit's own Norman "Turkey" Stearnes.
Stearnes' daughters, Joyce Thompson and Rosilyn Brown, sang the national anthem prior to the game, and Detroit's Robert Bradley sang his original composition, "Born in America," during the seventh-inning stretch.
Former Detroit Tiger and Hamtramck native Ike Blessitt was on hand for the pregame ceremonies, and Stearnes' granddaughter Vanessa Ivy Rose started in center field for the home team.
White was joined on the field Thursday by Warstic founder and former Philadelphia Phillies farmhand Ben Jenkins, Raconteurs bandmate Brendan Benson, and a host of other friends and bandmates, including Tori Kinsler, whose brother Ian Kinsler played for the Detroit Tigers (2014–17) and who is part owner of Warstic, along with Jenkins and White.