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Mack Park - Detroit MI

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  • Mack Park - Detroit MI

    Hey ya'll, I'm trying to put together a report on Mack Park in Detroit. The original home of the Detroit Stars (NgNL).

    This is what I got, but I am lookng for more info., dimensions, ticket prices, etc. Any help out there?

    Historic Mack Park was the original home field of Detroit’s Negro National League baseball franchise, the Detroit Stars, and was constructed in 1914 by Joe Roesink. Mr. Roesink, a Dutchman of Jewish descent born in Grand Rapids, owned a chain of haberdasheries throughout the Detroit area and built the facility to house the semi-professional baseball team that he sponsored.

    The park, situated on Detroit’s eastside about four miles from downtown, was located at the southeast corner of Mack and Fairview avenues, hence the name. However, the park was not in the eastside African American neighbor of Paradise Valley that was a short distance away along Hastings Street; it was located in the heart of a German working class family community.

    The single decked structure, constructed of timber and tin sheeting, was built to seat 6,000 occupants; however, varying reports suggest as many as 10,000 could be packed into the stadiums wooden bleachers. The park is said to have had cozy confines, having a short right field porch and power alley. This may have artificially inflated power hitting numbers of left-handed hitters, despite the high fence in right field. The park has been called a haven for home run hitters and a nightmare for pitchers.

    In 1915, the new Federal League sought to locate a franchise in Detroit and contacted Mr. Roesink about operating a franchise out of Mack Park; he stalwartly declined the offer. However, just 3 years later, in 1918, he accepted an offer from Chicago sports promoter Rube Foster to place a Negro National League franchise in the booming metropolis of Detroit and use Mack Park as its home field.

    Before 1920, the Detroit Stars first season of play, the park played host to teams like the Boston Braves, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Brooklyn Dodgers. It was common in those days for major league teams to play minor league or semi-professional teams on their off days to generate additional revenue.

    In July of 1929, the Kansas City Monarchs were in Detroit to play a doubleheader with the Stars. Two days of heavy rain left the ball field with standing water and threatened to postpone the game. Mr. Roesink, working with the grounds crew, ordered gasoline to be spread on the field for eventual ignition to dry out the field and save the game from cancellation. After dispersing as much gasoline as they needed, the grounds crew stored the spare cans of petrol below the wooden bleachers. It is thought that an errantly discarded cigarette butt accidentally and prematurely ignited the gasoline on the field and the flames quickly spread to the storage area, resulting in a raging fire that engulfed the wooden structure. No one was killed in the blaze; however, 106 to 222 were reported injured when the grandstand area collapsed.

    The Stars finished the season at Hamtramck Stadium which is located where Keyworth Stadium is, situated between Gallagher, Roosevelt, Jacob, and Conant streets in Hamtramck. The last season of play saw the Stars playing games at Dequindre Park, located on Dequindre , two blocks north of Davison Rd in Hamtramck. That park has also been called Linton Field, or Cubs Park.

    Mack Park was eventually rebuilt for Detroit Southeastern High School’s baseball team. The school is located just south of the facility on Goethe and Fairview Streets. During a 1960s revitalization effort by the federal government, Mack Park was flattened to make way for a senior citizens complex that is called Fairview Homes.
    Still a long suffering TIGERS fan

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