White Stripe, Raconteur, and the man behind the melody of most modern football chants, Jack White has once again proved he’s got more to give to society than an awesome riff that’s been adopted by Jeremy Corbyn fans.
Of course he has – not only were the The White Stripes one of the most important bands of the 2000s, but his record label and vinyl pressing plant, Third Man, in Detroit, has assisted in resurrecting vinyl records for a new generation.
In fact, Jack White’s love of modernising old traditions has been well-documented – his first job was a reupholsterer after all, so it seems to have been a common thread in his life. And his latest venture is no different.
.@thirdmanrecords Jack White loves bball history& @tigers. Was in Coop 2C @baseballhall & play sandlot game w/ @warstic. The 5-tool musician's @BreweryOmmegang concert ended w/modern baseball anthem, Seven Nation Army. Saluted him with a plaque for profound respect for game. pic.twitter.com/tcrPyEbHFh
— Jeff Idelson (@HallofFamePrez) May 29, 2018
White has always been proud of his Detroit heritage, and recently lent his hand to help restore a baseball stadium in the city, which was once home to the Negro League’s Detroit Stars. The Negro League was created in the late 1800s in America because, at the time, black players were not accepted into the major or minor leagues.
The Hamtramck Stadium is one of the last Negro League baseball pitches in America, and for some time there has been a campaign working to save and restore the historic site.
White has expressed his passion for baseball before, regularly watching the Detroit Tigers, and even having his own custom baseball bat in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
#JackWhite's Cooperstown game-used @Warstic bat, designed by @OneFastBuffalo, is entering the @BaseballHall. Get a ltd-edition replica signed by Jack himself at auction until 6/29, 1pm CST and a portion of the profits will support @WellForCulture: https://t.co/mY0PzJzFq5 pic.twitter.com/wJ6UCATTOP
— Third Man Records (@thirdmanrecords) June 26, 2018
Now, according to the official blog of the historic Hamtramck Stadium, White has donated $10,000 to help restore the site.
Friend of Historic Hamtramck Stadium are working with the Piast Institute to bring the field back to its former glory.
Piast executive vice president Virginia Skrzyniarz said:
The revival of Hamtramck Stadium will be a living monument to Hamtramck’s legacy of diversity and tolerance.
While Gary Gillette, founder and president of Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, said:
Hamtramck Stadium is one of just five remaining locations where major Negro League teams once played their home games and represents a historic period in the Detroit community.
As a field that’s welcomed at least 18 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, including great Negro League players like Turkey Stearnes, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige, Hamtramck Stadium serves as an important reminder of African-American history here in metro Detroit and across the country.
The history of Detroit cannot be told without including the history of African-Americans, and the history of Detroit’s black community is not complete without the history of the Negro Leagues and the Detroit Stars.
Norman ‘Turkey’ Stearnes and his teammates fought against segregation and discrimination both on and off the field, leaving a legacy we can help preserve by restoring Hamtramck Stadium as a community gathering place and a venue for youth sports.
The money raised is going to help restore the site not just for historic purposes, but also ‘for baseball and soccer games in advance of a planned restoration of its historic grandstand’. The current stand at the pitch hasn’t been used since the 1990s.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.