Hamtramck Parks Conservancy Teams Up with Former Detroit Tiger Ike Blessitt

Hamtramck Parks Conservancy Teams Up with Former Detroit Tiger Ike Blessitt

Celebrating Hamtramck’s 100th Anniversary and Urban Baseball

The 1930 Historic Hamtramck Stadium’s Full Renovation is a Central Component to Conservancy Plans as Benefactors, Donors and Volunteers Are Sought.

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The Hamtramck Parks Conservancy (HPC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit collaboration between the city of Hamtramck and Hamtramck Public Schools, is hosting a special charity baseball event:

The Ike Blessitt Second Annual Baseball Classic on Sunday, October 2, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. at the Historic Hamtramck Stadium located at 3201 Dan Street in Hamtramck, MI 48212.

This recently rededicated local treasure is one of only five National Negro Leagues Stadiums in
operation in the United States.

Hamtramck native and former Detroit Tiger Ike Blessitt is celebrating his birthday on September 30th,
Blessitt, the first and only African American ballplayer from Hamtramck to ascend to play Major League Baseball is, with the HPC, co-hosting his “Second Annual Baseball Classic.”Four teams comprised of Blessitt’s Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp alumni and players from the Detroit Men Senior Baseball League will battle on the grounds of Norman “Turkey” Stearnes Field where the Negro League Detroit Stars ballclub played. The storied Hamtramck ballpark is also where Blessitt was discovered by major league scouts in the 1960s.

Proceeds from the long-awaited Charity game will support Blessitt‘s baseball training programs for
Hamtramck youth and the HPC. The Classic is the first official fundraiser hosted by the HPC. The game also commemorates the City of Hamtramck’s year-long centennial celebration. Teams will play two seven-inning games. The games will help support HPC’s planned 2023 recreation and sports programs and to operate and maintain Veteran’s Memorial Park, HPC green spaces, recreational grounds and facilities for public use and new health and education opportunities for residents and visitors.

A central component of the Hamtramck Parks Conservancy plan is the complete renovation of the
historic Hamtramck Stadium and other sites within the Hamtramck Recreation District (HRD). The plan entails the radical transformation of 26-acres of underutilized open space, recreation fields and disconnected historic sites into a community-invested, inclusive and world-class park. To achieve this mission Hamtramck Parks Conservancy is launching a major capital improvement and fundraising campaign to raise nearly $20 million to complete the project over the next 2-3 years.

The HPC partnership and collaboration among the park’s local community partners are positive new
developments that Blessitt has been looking forward to for many years.

Blessitt said: “I am grateful for the love and support from fans and friends everywhere in remembering me – especially the efforts of the Hamtramck Parks Conservancy in our shared goal to bring baseball to all kids no matter where they live. I look forward to once again bring together ballplayers and spectators on October 2 to celebrate the great sport of baseball. I am hoping to draw about 40 ballplayers from the area to join us on the field.”

Invited special guests include former Detroit Tigers Art James, Carmichael Gulley, Felipe Ramirez, Jake Wood, and 1984 World Series champions Barbaro Garbey and Juan Berenguer. Autographs on t-shirts and posters will be available for purchase.

Wood, who played second base for the Detroit Tigers from 1961-1967, led the American League in
triples his rookie year with 14 in 1961. Wood said: “I thank God for allowing me to play the game of baseball and the life-enhancing lessons I’ve learned. You come in contact with so many ethnic backgrounds, religions, ballplayers different social statuses with one purpose in mind how to unify and use our individual talents to achieve our goal.”

This event will also be a memorable example of honoring both “then and now” as Bob Tillman, former Tuskegee Airman, will be in attendance with Eric Palmer, owner of the 2011 Mustang “Red Tail” convertible that honors the Tuskegee Airmen.

Legendary Detroit techno pioneer and DJ Kevin Saunderson is expected to lace up his spikes and has
registered to play. Saunderson, a passionate baseball fan, sponsors traveling youth baseball teams and helps coaches and managers one of those teams, the Metro Detroit Dodgers.

Additionally, renowned DJ Stacey “Hot Waxx” Hale will be serving as announcer. Hale is one of the
Godmothers of the Detroit Techno House Sound.

T-shirts will be available for autographs and posters will be available for purchase. For more
information, to register as a ball player and to buy gameday tickets, visit: https://hamtramckparks.com

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