Joyce Stearnes Thompson, daughter of Baseball Hall of Famer Turkey Stearnes, spoke recently at a gathering of the Eddie Lake Society, a longtime group of Detroit Tigers fans and baseball aficionados founded by the late Joe Falls.
After regaling her audience with tales of her famous father (who starred in the Negro Leagues from 1923-1940), Joyce ended by reciting a poem she’d written in honor of Hamtramck Stadium, followed by a beautiful song in tribute to her father:
Ode to Historic Hamtramck Stadium
How can I tell you about the heritage of this Historic Hamtramck Stadium
An amazing place where I never had a chance to see Dad or the Detroit Stars play;
Memories that can only be envisioned in my mind of one of the best teams ever
Turkey, a nickname given to my father because of the way he ran the bases
Remarkable! Respectful and revered, with many records lost or never recorded
Awesome and exciting describe the way the Negro Leaguers played
Many games were played in this classic ballpark, packed with adoring fans
Cool Papa Bell and Satchel Paige contributed to the legacy, so don’t let it die
Keep it alive as a reminder for kids interested in playing baseball or other sports
Save this field! Segregation is a thing of the past. Corporate sponsorship is a must!
Today begins the time for redemption for all of the talented players who
Accomplished much, but were denied the chance to play in the Major Leagues
Denied because of the color of their skin and then their dreams were shattered
Imagine the pain they felt. Still, they impacted the game and loved the ballpark.
Understand the importance of restoring this historic and rustic grandstand
Maintenance will surely be provided by the magnificent, dedicated Navin Field Grounds Crew,
who continue to show their love for Tiger Stadium