New page: Hamtramck Stadium!
Whenever a particular date worthy of historical commemoration is officially designated a federal holiday, the actual date becomes less important and whichever day falls on a Monday takes its place. Such was the case with Juneteenth, which was originally June 19th, the day in 1865 when African-American slaves in Texas found out from liberating Union Army forces that they were freed from bondage under the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation. (General Lee had actually surrendered two months before, and the 13th Amendment was not officially ratified until late in 1865.) And since Congress made "Juneteenth" a federal holiday one year ago, it was observed today, Monday, the 21st of June.
Why is this relevant for baseball? Because as part of the "Juneteenth" celebrations, the city of Detroit had an inaugural ceremony for a former Negro League ballpark, Hamtramck Stadium. It is one of only six such ballparks -- including Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama and Hinchcliffe Stadium in New York City -- still in existence. People from the "Navin Field Grounds Crew" who labored for years to make the land on which Tiger Stadium once stood a ball field for local youth have turned their efforts to Hamtramck Stadium. For more information, see historichamtramckstadium.org. Hamtramck is an urban enclave inside of Detroit, but with a separate government. It so happens that I used to know somebody from Hamtramck back in my college days, and she told me stories about the Poles and other ethnic minorities who worked in the nearby General Motors automobile plant. "Life was hard back then."
At the request of Gary Gillette, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and a leading authority on ballpark history, I drew three diagrams for Hamtramck Stadium, including a "roofless" version that shows details in the small grandstand. Detailed photographs are sorely lacking, so future updates and corrections in the diagrams and the text on that new page are almost a certainty. Enjoy!
Wonderful weekend in Washington
The Washington Nationals lost both games I saw over the weekend (Friday night and late Saturday afternoon), but I really wasn't expecting much. At least they bounced back on Sunday and avoided being swept by the Phillies in five games straight. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the "main event" of the weekend, which was the official retirement ceremony for Ryan Zimmerman. Much more on that, along with a boatland of photos, tomorrow.