Happy Friday, friends!
This weekend is the Detroit Tigers will host the 16th Annual Negro Leagues Weekend. The Tigers have many exciting activities planned for the annual celebration including honoring former Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter. It’s an annual tradition which marks the longest-running three-day celebration of its kind in Major League Baseball. Below, you can check out the list of activities scheduled for this weekend!
If you’d like to attend the special weekend celebration, you can get an exclusive Negro Leagues Weekend ticket package. The package includes a game ticket, a Detroit Tigers Fedora and a donation to the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium – a group dedicated to preserving the field used by Negro Leagues teams, including the Detroit Stars.
For more information on the ticket package, or to purchase tickets for groups of 15 or more, please contact Corey Bell at Corey.Bell@tigers.com.
Friday, June 8 vs. Cleveland Indians at 7:10 p.m.
(Gates open early at 5 p.m.)
12th Annual Detroit Stars Singing Competition:
The Tigers have partnered with Radio One for the 12th annual Detroit Stars Singing Competition. The competition will take place at the Big Cat Court and will be hosted by Tune Up of Radio One’s 105.9 FM WDMK starting at 5:30 p.m.
The 11 finalists will be judged by celebrities Allen Robinson, Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver of the Chicago Bears and a Detroit native, Mrs. Gloria Horton, wife of hometown hero and Tigers great Willie Horton, Mrs. Marsha Wood, wife of the 2010 Detroit Tigers Willie Horton African American Legacy Award recipient and former Tigers 2nd baseman, Jake Wood, Katrina Hunter, Philanthropist and wife of former Tiger Torii Hunter and Lee Thomas, TV personality and entertainment reporter.
The winner of the Detroit Stars Singing Competition will receive a grand prize of $2,000 and the opportunity to sing the national anthem prior to the Tigers game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday, August 13, 2018.
“Passing of the Bat Ceremony”:
The Detroit Tigers will continue the celebration of African American ballplayers and their numerous contributions to the game of baseball with 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 Detroit baseball.
The individuals in the pregame ceremony include Eugene Scruggs, a Detroit native and former Negro Leagues player who was a third baseman, outfielder and first baseman for the New York Cubans in 1948, Tigers alumni including, Rod Allen, Willie Horton, Torii Hunter and Jake Wood, Tigers infielder Niko Goodrum andJohn Malcom from Detroit Country Day, a top African American high school prospect from Michigan.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis and Sports Columnist Joe LaPointe, who is also an advocate for the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium. 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.
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 also be sold throughout the weekend by Tony Dee’s Negro Leagues Baseball Store and Apparel located at Gate A inside Comerica Park.
Saturday, June 9th: 4th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game
(Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians at 4:10 p.m.)
The first 10,000 fans to enter the park will receive a Detroit Stars Hat, courtesy of Comerica Bank. Comerica Bank will host a special ceremony to pay tribute to The Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium.
Eight former Negro Leagues players will be recognized during a special 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.
Henry Saverson – Infielder with the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs.
Eugene Scruggs – Pitcher for the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs from 1957-58, who was deemed to throw “the funky curveball.”
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 – an outfielder for the Grand Rapids Black Sox, Detroit Stars, and Kansas City Monarchs.
The national anthem will be performed by Dr. Theodore Jones.
Sunday, June 10th: Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians at 1:10 p.m.
(Gates open early at 11 a.m.)
Live Q&A Session with Torii Hunter:
Prior to the game, the Tigers will host a live fan Q&A session at Comerica Park with former Tiger Torii Hunter. The event will be held in the Big Cat Court and hosted by Dan Leach of 97.1 The Ticket, as part of the Negro Leagues weekend events.
The Tigers will hold a pre-game, on-field ceremony honoring former Tiger Torii Hunter with the 2018 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.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by former Tiger Torii Hunter and the 2018 recipient of the Detroit Tigers Willie Horton African American Legacy Award.
Hope you can make take the family and make it out to the special events this weekend! Visit tigers.com for more information.
Feature image: Detroit Stars 1954, courtesy of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.