If you are a regular reader of this paper, you will know that Hamtramck has rediscovered an old jewel.
For years, Hamtramck’s baseball stadium had fallen into disrepair. There was even some occasional talk about having it torn down.
But several years ago, city officials and volunteers discovered its historical significance: It was once home to the Detroit Stars, a team in the Negro Baseball League, back in a time when African-Americans could not play in the all-white Major Leagues.
Fortunately, that racial barrier was eventually erased.
The stadium is only one of five that remain standing as a testament to that time. Despite the racial restrictions, the Negro League produced legendary players, like Detroit’s own Norman “Turkey” Stearnes.
The stadium’s field was recently named in honor of Stearnes.
The stadium is now being renovated, thanks to various funding mechanisms.
At the urging of City Councilmember Ian Perrotta, who was at the forefront with others in researching the stadium’s historical importance, the council has tasked the city administration with making sure the stadium and its grounds are not destroyed.
In the past, the stadium attracted vandalism – including people driving their cars on the field, or setting fires in the grandstands.
The resolution that Perrotta introduced requires the city to assign daily patrols to the stadium site. Those patrols, it is hoped, will deter any future destruction, and safeguard the hundreds of thousands of dollars being invested in the facility.
Hopefully, the stadium will one day play host to sporting and entertainment events – and draw visitors from all over.
The stadium is a sound investment, and one that generation of Hamtramckans will enjoy.
We also send out a huge thanks to the good folks with the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium and the Hamtramck Stadium Grounds Crew for their tireless work in preserving this treasure.
Sept. 18, 2020