Detroit Tigers Host 11th Annual Negro Leagues Weekend at Comerica Park
Last weekend, the Detroit Tigers continued their efforts to honor the stars of the Negro Leagues and the many contributions of African-Americans to the game of baseball with the 11th annual Negro Leagues Weekend at Comerica Park.
The celebration kicked off on Friday, April 26 with the Detroit Stars singing competition. 11 contestants from all over the country competed in front of a panel of celebrity judges and an audience in the Big Cat Court at Comerica Park, for the chance to win $1,500 and the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at an upcoming Tigers game.
After a fierce battle, Marnell Kenan and her rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston won over the panel of celebrity judges including Duke Fakir of The Four Tops, Drew Rives, Midwest Marketing Director of Island Def Jam Music Group and Lee Thomas, Entertainment Anchor and Reporter from FOX 2 News.
That same night, the Tigers hosted the ceremonial ‘Passing of the Bat’ on the field at Comerica Park, honoring the past, present and future contributions of African-Americans to the game of baseball in Detroit. Featuring former Tigers Ike Blessitt and Rod Allen, current Tiger Torii Hunter, and future baseball star Johnny Slater of Southfield Lathrup High School, the passing of the bat embodies the continuing legacy of African-Americans in the game of baseball.
On Saturday, the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves suited up in the throwback uniforms of the Detroit Stars and Atlanta Black Crackers for the 17th annual Negro Leagues Tribute game. The day also featured a roundtable discussion with former Negro Leagues players in the Big Cat Court and an on-field ceremony recognizing the accomplishments of 12 former Negro Leagues players.
The weekend concluded on Sunday with a special tribute to former Tigers player, Larry Herndon. Most commonly known to Tigers fans as the man who caught the final out of the 1984 World Series, Herndon was presented with the African-American Legacy Award, sponsored by the Black McDonald’s Owners and Operators Association.
The award honors a current or former African-American Tigers player for their enduring legacy in baseball in Detroit, as well as their positive influence on players of all races who have since followed in their footsteps.
If you would like to learn more about the Tigers rich African-American heritage, visit tigers.com/aa_heritage.