This is news that makes me happy. In a time and in a country where old buildings are replaced in the blink of an eye, some enthousiasts that care about the history of the game of baseball are trying to raise funds to save the former ballpark of the Negro Leagues’ Detroit Stars.
We are talking about Hamtramck Stadium in Hamtramck, a suburb/neighbourhood of Detroit MI. For years, groups, including the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, have sought to restore the ballpark so it can be used again. The benefits of saving this historical landmark are twofold: First of all it gives Hamtramck a recrational area and second of all, a piece of the Negro Leagues legacy will be saved.
In 2017, however, Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, wants to take steps to renovate the facility. During the new year, the group will start a campaign that would revitalize the facility and convert it into a multipurpose field space.
It is very important that this place will be preserved as it is only one of two remaining sites where the Negro Leagues played.
Gary Gillette, president of the Detroit chapter of SABR can be credited for the initiative to raise funds to save the ballpark. Gilette stated that “It’s really important for us to see the stadium and field get a new life. We’d like to have kids playing on a renovated, restored field there next summer,” Gillette said. “What we also want to do is honor the heritage of the Negro Leagues.”
The place may look like a dump now, but with enough funds (about $50,000) the place can be turned into a lively ballpark that is used by children to play baseball, cricket and soccer.
Hamtramck Stadium was the second home of the Detroit Stars. The Stars were established in 1919, when they played as an independent team and joined the Negro National League in 1920. Despite being aligned with the NNL, the team played a lot of barnstorming games just like the other Negro League teams.
After the first edition of the NNL folded at the end of the 1931 season, the (original) Detroit Stars team disappeared as well. Before the Stars moved into Hamtramck Stadium, they played in Mack Park from 1920 – 1929. Mack Park was constructed in 1914 by Joe Roesink, sponsor of a local semi-professional team, a Dutchman of Jewish descent born in Grand Rapids who owned a chain of haberdasheries.
After the Detroit Stars disappeared, Hamtramck Stadium was also used by a semi-professional Afro American team, called the Detroit Cubs.