The Detroit Tigers are celebrating their 21st annual Negro Leagues Weekend, honoring the Detroit Stars with special events throughout the weekend.
The annual tradition is the longest-running weekend in baseball, and is highlighted by the 27th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game on Saturday, July 22.
Before that game, Detroit will honor the 100th anniversary of Normal "Turkey" Stearnes' debut with the Detroit Stars in 1923. He was a five-time all-star selection, and passed away in 1979.
Detroit will also welcome back former Tigers centerfielder Curtis Granderson who will interact with fans on Saturday and Sunday, and be presented with the Willie Horton African American Legacy Award
“We’re looking forward to celebrating the incredible impact of former Negro Leagues players with Tigers fans, our players and the community at Comerica Park,” said Ryan Gustafson, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “We’ll be honoring the late Norman “Turkey” Stearnes for the 100th anniversary of his debut for the Detroit Stars, and are excited to welcome Curtis Granderson back to Detroit, where he will be presented the Willie Horton African American Legacy Award. Negro Leagues Weekend is a fan-favorite event each and every year, and we’re thankful to Comerica Bank for their support.”
Negro Leagues Weekend festivities will include:
Friday, July 21 (6:40 p.m. first pitch)
- The seventh annual Negro Leagues Legacy Luncheon, presented by Comerica Bank, will be hosted at the ballpark on Friday morning, a private event to welcome former Negro Leagues players back to Detroit and to honor Curtis Granderson.
- Prior to Friday’s series opener, the annual “Passing of the Bat” ceremony will be held on the field, celebrating African American baseball players and their contributions to baseball. The ceremony features a symbolic “torch passing” from a former Negro Leagues player to several generations of former and current African American Tigers players. The bat is then presented to a local youth player, with University Liggett student-athletes Jarren Purify and Oliver Service serving as this year’s recipients. Purify is committed to play college baseball at Clemson, while Service will play at Texas.
- The Tigers ticket sales & service team will host “HBCU & Divine 9 Night,” including a special ticket package with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the United Negro College Fund and the Detroit HBCU network.
- Friday’s “Party in the Park” presented by Casamigos will be “R&B Night,” including live music and entertainment and specialty food and beverage items on the Comerica Landing.
- Tigers fans are encouraged to remain in their seats after the conclusion of the game for the display of Friday Night Fireworks.
Saturday, July 22 (6:10 p.m. first pitch)
- The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a Norman “Turkey” Stearnes Detroit Stars jersey, presented by Comerica Bank. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m.
- Tigers fans are encouraged to attend a pregame Q&A with former Negro League players and influences from 4:45-5:15 p.m., in the Comerica Big Cat Court. The panel will be moderated by 910 AM radio host Mark Lee, who will be joined Sam Allen, former Detroit Stars owner Minnie Forbes, Foster Graham, Bill Hill, Enrique Maroto, Pedro Sierra, Ron Teasley, Johnny Walker and Charles Willis.
- The pregame on-field ceremony honoring former Negro Leaguers will also include a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and the National Anthem by Rosilyn Stearnes-Brown and Joyce Stearnes Thompson, daughters of Norman “Turkey” Stearnes.
Sunday, July 23 (12:05 p.m. first pitch)
- Shortly after gates open, Granderson will participate in a fan Q&A in the Comerica Big Cat Court from 10:45-11:15 a.m. Granderson will then be recognized in a pregame ceremony for earning the Willie Horton African American Legacy Award, created in 2009 to honor African Americans who have strengthened the legacy of baseball in the African American community and have contributed to the rich history of the Tigers.