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History of the Detroit Stars

Highlights of the Detroit Stars

  • May 15, 2020 was the 100th anniversary of the first official game played by the Detroit Stars in the new Negro National League.
  • Founded in 1920, the Negro National League (NNL) was the first successful black baseball league of the segregated era.
  • The Detroit Stars were founded in 1919 by Rube Foster, who is considered the "Father of Black Baseball". Detroit became a charter member of the NNL a year later.
  • The Stars were one of the most prominent Negro League clubs in the 1920s. They also regularly played against strong white semi-pro teams and won the city's prestigious semi-pro championship regularly in the 1920s.
  • The Stars featured five future Hall of Famers from 1919–1931, including Norman "Turkey" Stearnes, one of the greatest home run hitters in baseball history - white or black.
  • A Nashville native, Stearnes came to play in Detroit in 1923 at age 22. He later made his home in Detroit, raised his family while working at Ford's Rouge plant for 27 years (1938-64). He became a UAW member in 1941 when Ford was first organized. He died in Detroit in 1979. Stearnes was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
  • According to the Hall of Fame Website: Negro Leagues legend Satchel Paige called Turkey Stearnes "one of the greatest hitters we ever had. He was as good as Josh [Gibson]. He was as good as anybody who ever played ball".

Capsule history of Negro League baseball in Detroit