Stearnes, a quiet man, never garnered the attention of his famous contemporaries. Besides being a brilliant outfielder, Stearnes finished his career in the top 10 in 15 different batting categories, including first in both home runs (196) and RBI (1099). Negro Leagues players might play as many as 150 – 200 games per year between league games, barnstorming and playing in Latin America over the winter.
To pay homage to the prominent legacy of African Americans in the game of baseball and to the rich history of the Negro Leagues, the Tigers host an annual Negro Leagues Weekend celebration. This celebratory weekend consists of long-standing traditions to honor former Negro Leagues players, past and current African American Tigers players, and youth baseball players.
The Detroit Tigers are committed to celebrating the legacy of players along with continuing to educate Tigers fans about the history and impact of the Negro Leagues to the game of baseball.
Cooper came to Detroit in 1920 as the mainstay of the Detroit pitching staff. A baseball player who spent the entirety of his playing career in the shadows of the American and National leagues due to the color of his skin, Andy Cooper made a name for himself in the Negro Leagues due to his mound mastery. Negro Leagues historian Dick Clark once said of Cooper: “In my estimation, the greatest black pitcher ever to pitch for Detroit – that’s for the Stars or the Tigers.
Hill was a pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1955 and was a Negro Leagues East / West All-Star. He then went on to play in the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Giants farm systems.
Scruggs pitched for the Detroit Stars for two seasons in 1956 and 1957. During his time with the Stars, Scruggs struck out 16 batters in his first shutout win. By the end of 1957, Scruggs was traveling and pitching with both of Ted Rasberry's teams; the Detroit Stars and the Kansas City Monarchs.
Walker was a second Baseman during his Negro Leagues career, playing for the Grand Rapids Black Sox, The Detroit Stars and the Kansas City Monarchs from 1957 – 1961.
Sierra had a 22-year career that began in 1954, at the age of 16, where he signed his first baseball contract with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues. In 1956, he signed with the Detroit Stars, where he was selected to play in the 1955 East/West All-Star game. Over his 22-year career, Sierra played in the Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators’ organizations. He also played in the Canadian Provincial League, Mexican League, the Dominican Republic and even served in the U.S. Army.
Ron “Schoolboy” Teasley was a Detroit sports pioneer, both as a player and coach. He played collegiate baseball and basketball at Wayne State University, where he set many baseball records and still holds the school record for highest batting average in a season (.500). Later he became the eighth African-American player signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing in the Dodgers’ organization in 1948. After being released by the Dodgers, he also played in 1948 with the New York Cubans, the defending Negro League world champions.
Forbes became one of the few female owners of a top-level Negro Leagues team when she took over the Detroit Stars from her uncle, Ted Rasberry, in 1956. In 1958, Forbes also joined the ranks as only the fourth female to play in the Negro Leagues when she played two innings at third base for the Kansas City Monarchs. In 2013, President Barack Obama honored Forbes and other former Negro Leaguers at the White House.
Allen was born in 1936 in Norfolk, Virginia. During his high school years he was a baseball and football player. In 1957, he played for the Kansas City Monarchs. In 1957, he would lead the league in runs scored. In 1958, he played for the Raleigh Tigers.
July is Disability Pride Month. We are recognizing four individuals who are making a positive impact in the community by working to create an inclusive environment for all. In partnership with Comerica Bank, the Game Changers series honors community members who are making a profound difference in the areas of youth education, youth wellness or sports participation. Each honoree receives a $1,000 grant dedicated to the charity of their choice from the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings.
The organizations listed may or may not be partners of the Detroit Tigers. This is for informational purposes only.
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Rainbow PUSH Coalition
- MLB - Diversity & Inclusion
- Detroit Urban League
- The Bail Project
Black Owned Business Resources
- Booker T. Washington Business Association
- Black Owned Businesses in Detroit
- Michigan Minority Supplier Diversity Council