“How many corporations can actually say they had a Hall of Famer that used to be an employee?” asks Rosalyn. But Rose can see the potential — she can imagine what her grandfather would have seen nearly a century ago: The Hall of Famer Josh Gibson at the plate, in the uniform of the Homestead Grays, and a newly minted grandstand teeming with thousands of African Americans recently emigrated from the Jim Crow South and dressed in their Sunday best. “You know, turkeys can run as fast as 40 miles an hour.”, While Stearnes lacks the name recognition of the flashier Josh Gibson, who earned the nickname “The Black Babe Ruth,” he exceeded Gibson’s home run total, amassing around 180 career dingers—more than any other Negro Leaguer — during a career that spanned the 1920s and ’30s. Rube Foster broke up the fight.. Cristóbal Torriente (November 16, 1893 – April 11, 1938) was a Cuban outfielder in Negro league baseball with the Cuban Stars, All Nations, Chicago American Giants, Kansas City Monarchs and Detroit Stars. He earned two batting titles and hit as high as .402. "Beckwith's Home Run Didn't Win Against Mendez", "The Cuban Stars Take Series From American Giants. Along with Martín Dihigo and José Méndez, Torriente is considered one of the greatest baseball players from Cuba. Oscar McKinley Charleston (October 14, 1896 – October 5, 1954) was an American center fielder and manager in Negro league baseball.In 1915, after serving three years in the U.S. Army, the Indianapolis, Indiana, native continued his baseball career as a professional with the Indianapolis ABCs; his career ended in 1954 as a player-manager for the Indianapolis Clowns. In a half-crouch with her glove-hand resting on one knee and her throwing-hand resting on the other, she stares in at home plate as the rock star Jack White digs his cleats into the batter’s box. The Stearnes daughters are grateful, however, that their father will be honored with a monument at the restored Hamtramck Stadium.
No plaque at Ford River Rouge, and no honorarium, like the one given to former Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson when he was inducted into the Hall: a Ford Windstar for the drive to Cooperstown. Gillette’s research shows that Stars owner, John Roesink, likely chose to relocate because 1920s Detroit had become increasingly hostile to its black population.
In the 2001 book The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James ranked Torriente as the 67th greatest baseball player ever.
Seemingly a nice gesture — but Joyce says her mother cried over the letter, which she felt was an insult for all that it didn’t say, for all that it didn’t offer. Against this backdrop, Turkey Stearnes loomed large in the pre-war imagination of Black Detroit and Black Hamtramck. And here he is, a future Hall of Famer.”.
He was one of the first class of inductees of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
"Champion Monarchs Open Season With Victory" The Kansas City Advocate, Kansas City, Kansas, Friday, May 29, 1925, Page 3, Columns 1 to 5, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Turkey_Stearnes&oldid=981289497, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Negro league baseball statistics and player information from, Career statistics and player information from, This page was last edited on 1 October 2020, at 12:12. In 1923, he was sent out of the game in the third inning after objecting to Umpire Gholson's call at second base. After the major leagues integrated it was O’Neil who emerged front and center as an eloquent spokesman to make sure the feats of his Negro Leagues comrades lived on in history. Torriente led the American Giants to Negro National League pennants from 1920 to 1922 while batting .411, .338, and .342 for these seasons.
They were walking around on the same grounds that you’re walking on right now.  Torriente would play several years for both teams. He also, like Cobb, was known for his competitiveness and his temper. A fight with Crawford during the game spilled out onto the street after the game, and the two men attacked each other with paving stones left out when street workers were repairing a water main. The Giants added Babe Ruth for this tour of Cuba. This is hallowed ground. By spring 2021, FHHS expects the field to be finished, and enough work done on the stands to allow a grand reopening event featuring a tribute game between two Black high school teams from the Detroit area wearing vintage Negro League uniforms. ... who played center field for the Negro League Detroit Stars here in 1930 and ’31, and again in ’37. They’re also rough, as is much of the history of the Negro Leagues, because just like the African-American population at large during the time, Black ballplayers were treated as second-class citizens. Its first-ever City Council in 1922 included an African American, black people could buy property and own their homes, the schools were integrated, and African Americans and Poles worked side-by-side at the huge Dodge Main assembly complex on the south side of town.”, Moreover, says Gillette, after the 1929 fire at Mack Park, “white citizens living nearby successfully petitioned Detroit City Council to deny any attempt to rebuild the destroyed grandstand.”. There are plans for other exhibitions and programs to link the past and present. In 2001, writer Bill James ranked Stearnes as the 25th greatest baseball player of all-time and the best left fielder in the Negro leagues. Norman Thomas "Turkey" Stearnes (May 8, 1901 – September 4, 1979) was an American baseball outfielder in the Negro leagues. The 175-pound Stearnes was a fast baserunner despite his awkward-looking running form, and was one of the best outfielders of his generation. Some of the greatest players in the history of baseball played here. Torriente was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs in 1926 and led the team with a .381 batting average.
Torriente played on the great Chicago American Giants teams of 1918–1925.
A plaque in Stearnes' honor is on display outside the center field gate at the Tigers' home field, Comerica Park. In the Jim Crow era, to come out and see other black people being their best selves, I’m sure that was not taken lightly.”.
He started his own athletic career by playing baseball in the Negro Leagues in 1948 at the age of 17.
If they didn’t win a ball game, they didn’t amount to anything.”, There are other reasons Stearnes — who despite the poor record-keeping is the undisputed home run king of the Negro Leagues — isn’t as famous as some of his contemporaries, says Gillette. Since Negro league seasons were very short, sometimes lasting fewer than 30 games, it is unclear how many home runs Stearnes might have hit in a 154-game major league season.
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise. He lists himself as a Cuban citizen and his closest living relative as his mother, Mrs. Felipa Torriente of Havana, Cuba.. Like many of his peers, Stearnes retreated to a prosaic working-class life after his playing days. From his side of the field, White offers his reason for showing up at the stadium on this bright summer day of last year: “It’s Detroit history, and it’s also American history, and those two things combined are pretty amazing.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. “All right, fellas, you know where you’re at?” Wilson asks the kids, who’ve been divided into blue and red numbered jerseys and are bouncing around ahead of the day’s drills.
Mike Wilson — a 64-year-old Hamtramck native, FHHS boardmember, former minor league ballplayer, and the son of a former Negro League player — says Hamtramck Stadium would eventually like to host games between a Black Detroit high school team and Black high school teams associated with the five other Negro League ballparks still standing: Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama; Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey; Red Cap Field in Jacksonville, Florida; and League Park in Cleveland.
Right now, we can do something to try to preserve it and keep it alive for the next generation to learn from it.”. In addition to the $10,000 White contributed to the preservation effort, today he has attracted hundreds of fans, who mill around behind a white rope along the first-base line, aiming to get a glimpse of the reclusive rocker.
He batted over .400 three times and led the Negro leagues in home runs seven times.
On another summer day of last year, Wilson gathers about a dozen or so Yemeni and Bangladeshi kids just off the right-field line of Hamtramck Stadium. In the letter, the Ford scion congratulated the Stearnes family on the achievement and acknowledged the 27 years that Stearnes worked for Ford. He was an instrumental force in the creation of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, serving as honorary board chairman until his death in 2006.
Negro Leagues Hall of Famer Norman ‘Turkey” Stearnes. And I’m just sorry he’s not here to see this.”, Thompson’s sister, Rosilyn Stearnes-Brown, says that she and Joyce were born after their father’s playing days, but they recall fondly how the older people in their westside Detroit neighborhood used to crow about their dad and how he blasted home runs so hard and far they’d say “he hit it in somebody’s kitchen!”, “He was fast,” Rosalyn says. Willie Howard Mays Jr. (born May 6, 1931), nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid", is an American former professional baseball He grew up in New Jersey and was a standout football player at Lincoln University. Monford Merrill "Monte" Irvin (February 25, 1919 – January 11, 2016) was an American left fielder and right fielder in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball (MLB) who played with the Newark Eagles (1938–1942, 1946–1948), New York Giants (1949–1955) and Chicago Cubs (1956). This number, however, is just a fraction of the size of the audiences that came here in the ballpark’s heyday. He was honored with a “Smokey Joe” Day in the Old Polo Grounds in New York in 1950, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
The most charismatic Negro Leagues player was Leroy “Satchel” Paige. He played from 1912 to 1932.
The numbers are gaudy considering a Negro League season was roughly a third of a Major League season.
In 1918, 24 year-old Torriente registered with the WWI draft.
“The mayoral races in Detroit featured a very strong candidate openly supported by the KKK in the 1920s, and the 1925 Ossian Sweet incident [in which a black physician was wrongly charged with murder for defending himself against a violent white mob] occurred only seven blocks away from Mack Park. He reportedly used "awful" language, then threw dirt on the Umpire's "newly creased trousers.
In 2001, writer Bill James ranked Stearnes as the 25th greatest baseball player of all-time and the best left fielder in the Negro leagues.. They at least know he’s important enough to be the subject of the mural on the brick wall beyond the third-base line, along with the depiction of a crowd of brown faces — not unlike their own — cheering him on from the grandstand.
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