By Charles Sercombe
Detroit rocker Jack White is the first to step up to the plate.
White, who now lives in Nashville, pitched in $10,000 toward an online fundraiser to replace the grass field at the historic Hamtramck baseball stadium.
The Piast Institute and the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium are launching a fundraiser at patronicity.com/hhs with the hope to raise at least $50,000.
If that goal is met, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will kick in another $50,000.
The online campaign runs until April 2. If the money comes through, the field will accommodate baseball, cricket, soccer and community events.
While that will be enough money to replace the field, it will still be far from what is needed to renovate the stadium.
There are three plans for renovating the stadium than range from a low of $4 million to a top shelf plan costing $18.9 million.
That high-end plan entails building an entertainment complex.
There was no comment from White, but he is no stranger to Hamtramck.
His band, the White Stripes, got an early start at the Metro Times Blowout Festival held in Hamtramck back in the 1990s. The White Stripes went onto international stardom.
White also was a steady customer at the former Henry the Hatter store on Jos. Campau. The stadium is only one of a handful surviving from the famed National Negro League.
The Detroit Stars once played at the stadium.
There was a time when African-Americans were not allowed to play in the white-only major leagues. The color line eventually broke in the 1950s and 1960s.
Some legendary players once played at the Hamtramck Stadium, including Satchel Paige, possibly the best pitcher ever in baseball, and Detroit’s own “Turkey” Stearns, whose daughter still lives in the city.
As for funding the bigger renovation, it is hoped that the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation will kick in the money.
The Foundation has been donating money to communities to help encourage youth to get more active in sports.
Hopes for the Foundation to step up is not far-fetched. The Foundation has already donated $800,000 to replace the artificial turf at Keyworth Stadium, and to fund a master plan study to renovate all of Veterans Park, which is where the baseball stadium is located.
March 4, 2019