In recalling the early part of this century in baseball history, casual fans tend to glorify legends like Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. While these remarkable players dazzled fans and grabbed headlines, black players who were every bit as good went unnoticed outside the Negro leagues.
Because a gentlemans agreement among the white owners of organized baseball banned blacks from the major and minor leagues from the 1880s through 1946, the Negro National League provided black players the sole opportunity to display their talent. In Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars, Richard Bak documents the extraordinary history of Detroits first and foremost black professional baseball team.
This groundbreaking analysis of Detroits entry in the Negro National League brings to life a fascinating story of skill, pride, and perseverance. As a charter member of Andrew Rube Fosters National Negro League, the Detroit Stars quickly evolved into an integral part of black culture.
From the teams beginning in 1919 to its demise in 1933, the Stars offered Detroits black community entertainment and a short respite from the hardships of daily life. Moreover, the Detroit Stars represented a rare example of successful black entrepreneurship.
The greatest Star of them all was Norman Turkey Stearnes, the brilliant longball-hitting center fielder. Stearnes established virtually all of the teams individual and career records during his nine seasons with Detroit. Through interviews with fans, players and their relatives, and sportswriters, author Richard Bak successfully captures the intrigue and drama of the Motor Citys parallel sports worlds - one black, one white.
Brimming with anecdotes, Turkey Stearnes andThe Detroit Stars includes oral histories- biographical sketches of players, owners, and fans- and scores of unique photographs. A bonus is the comprehensive statistical overview, the first-ever for a single Negro league team.