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Tigers celebrating Negro Leagues Weekend with tributes, giveaways this weekend

Here's a chronological list of all the festivities
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Posted at 10:58 AM, Jul 10, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — This weekend, the Detroit Tigers are hosting the 22nd annual Negro Leagues Weekend. The annual tradition is the longest-running weekend celebration of it's kind in all of Major League Baseball.

Prior to the game on Saturday, July 13, the Tigers will recognize former Negro Leagues players on the field with a special ceremony as part of their 28th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game.

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Former Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson, a member of the 2012 American League Championship team who played with the Tigers from 2010-14, will return to Comerica Park for the festivities. He plans to interact with fans during the Saturday and Sunday games, and at that Sunday Game (July 14), he will receive the Willie Horton African American Legacy Award.

The Tigers (43-48 as of Wednesday, July 10) host the NL West-leading Los Angles Dodgers (55-37) this weekend. Fans interested in attending a game this weekendcan buy tickets at this link, and there are tons of activities planned for attendees who get to the ballpark early.

Here are the festivities planned and giveaways included, in chronological order:

Friday, July 12 (6:40 p.m. First Pitch)

  • The seventh annual Negro Leagues Legacy Luncheon will be hosted at Comerica Park on Friday morning, a private event to welcome former Negro Leagues players back to Detroit and to honor Austin Jackson.
  • Prior to Friday’s game, the annual “Passing of the Bat” ceremony will be held on the field, which celebrates African American baseball players and their contributions to baseball. The ceremony features a symbolic “torch passing” from a former Negro Leagues player to several generations of former and current African American Tigers players. The bat is then presented to a local youth player, with U of D Jesuit 2024 graduate Dylan Larkins and Edison 2024 graduate Marwynn Matthews serving as this year’s recipients. Larkins is committed to play college baseball at Georgetown, while Matthews will play at Western Michigan.
  • Prior to the game, members of various HBCU step teams and drumlines will perform on the concourse.
  • The Tigers will weartheir new City Connect jerseysfor the first game of the series against the Dodgers.

Saturday, July 13 (1:10 p.m.)

  • The first 15,000 fans will receive a retro Detroit Stars hat. Gates for that game open at 11:30 a.m. (pictured above)
  • Fans can attend a pregame Q&A with former Negro Leagues players and influencers from 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., in the Comerica Big Cat Court. The panel, moderated by Negro Leagues historian Larry Lester, will include Johnny Walker, Minnie Forbes, Ron Teasley, Charles Willis, Clinton Forge, Tommy Hayes, Reginald Howard, Bill Hill and Dr. D’Wayne Edwards.
  • The pregame on-field ceremony honoring former Negro Leaguers will include a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Rosilyn Stearnes-Brown and Joyce Stearnes Thompson, daughters of Norman “Turkey” Stearnes.
  • The Tigers ticket sales & service team will host “HBCU & Divine 9 Night,” including a special ticket package,with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the United Negro College Fund and the Detroit HBCU network. That package includes an HBCU & Divine 9 Night hat.

Sunday, July 14 (1:40 p.m.)

  • Shortly after the gates open at Noon, Jackson will participate in a fan Q&A in the Comerica Big Cat Court from 12:15 - 12:45 p.m.
  • After that, Jackson will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony with the the Willie Horton African American Legacy Award, which was created in 2009 to honor African Americans who have strengthened the legacy of baseball and have contributed to the rich history of the Tigers.

Negro Leagues merchandise will also be sold all weekend at Comerica Park, at Tony Dee's Negro Leagues Baseball Store.