The Detroit Stars conference in pictures

The usual suspects. Left to right: Donald Conway, Phil Ross, James Brunson, Larry Lester and Jay Hurd. Photo courtesy Larry Lester.

Here’s my second post about the Detroit Stars Centennial Conference held Aug. 8-10 and hosted by the Friends of Hamtramck Stadium and other capable individuals. This one will be all photos, mostly from some of the folks who attended the shindig. Thank you to all the contributors to this post!

This is a follow-up to the previous post, which was an essay by conference stalwart John Graf. That post includes a bunch of links about the various attendees, presenters and discussions from the conference, so definitely check it out here.

OK, we’re off … The first photos are courtesy of presenter and newly minted author Mitch Lutzke, whose recent tome about the legendary Page Fence Giants has snagged a whole bunch of awards and media coverage:

The conference featured a presentation by Vanessa Ivy Rose (center), granddaughter of Hall of Fame slugger and Detroit Stars outfielding stalwart Turkey Stearnes, entitled “Combining Forces: Restorative Options for Baseball Integration and the Inclusion of the Negro Leagues.” Here Vanessa is pictured flanked by two of Stearnes’ daughters, Rosalyn Stearnes Brown (left) and Joyce Stearnes Thompson (right).

Quizmaster Ted Knorr, far left, and the three finalists of Ted’s Significa contest — left to right Geri Stricker, Larry Lester and John Graf. Larry would end up the overall winner.

Conference co-organizer Gary Gillette presents his all-time Detroit Stars team.

Larry Lester (standing) moderates the Player’s Panel before the Tigers-Royals game Saturday, Aug. 10. Seated to the right is Johnny Walker of the Kansas City Monarchs and Detroit Stars, the two squads honored with replica unis at the game.

Hamtramck Stadium

The one and only Motown Museum, which started off our day-long tour of the sights in Detroit on Saturday.

Multimedia artist Phil Dewey at the Detroit Historical Museum discusses his career creating Negro Leagues-themed art.

Left to right: Donald Conway, Phil Ross and some goof at the Hamtramck Stadium historical marker.

Mitch and Larry Lester with Mitch’s award-winning book.

The next selection of pics is from Jay Hurd:

A triumverate of conference-goers at the Tigers-Royals Negro Leagues game. Left to right: Negro League Baseball Grave Marker Project founderJeremy Krock, Jeremy’s wife Jeanette and Phil Ross, who was easily the most photogenic person at the event.

Unofficial conference photographer Lizz Wilkinson at the Tigers game.

Jay, left, and James Brunson show their high-wattage smiles at the Tigers-Royals game.

Jay and John Graf at the Motown Museum.

Next up is a slew of shots from Larry Lester, beginning with a bunch snapshots of beautiful Comerica Park:

Some images from the Motown Museum:

That would be Little League World Series aficionado Lou Hunsinger in in contemplation at front.

Charles Young, left, and John Graf.

Larry also took a bunch at Hamtramck Stadium, including this pair of an expansive mural at the old park:

Some of Larry’s photos of folks at the Tigers-Royals Negro Leagues game:

Left to right: Joyce Stearnes Thompson, Turkey Stearnes’ daughter; Minnie Forbes, the last living owner of a Negro Leagues team; and Rosalyn Stearnes Brown, also one of Turkey Stearnes’ daughters.

Former Negro League players being honored on-field during a pre-game ceremony.

Walt Owens (left) and Pedro Sierra (right).

Walt Owens

Minnie Forbes (left) and Johnny Walker.

Here’s a few from me. I humbly but slightly egotistically present them:

We visited historic sports bar Nemo’s for lunch on Saturday. According to Gary Gillette, Nemo’s is one of the oldest sports bars in the country and one that’s received national attention and commendation. It’s located just a block from the site of the old Tiger Stadium.

Some from Hamtramck Stadium …

That’s Phil Ross there. He seems to find his way into a lot of people’s photos. Quite adorably ubiquitous.

I believe that’s Jay Hurd.

Some from the Tigers game:

The pre-game Players (and Owners) Panel, moderated by Larry Lester and featuring (front row, left to right) Johnny Walker, Ron Teasley, Pedro Sierra, Walt Owens, (back row, left to right) Bill Hill, Minnie Forbes, Jake Sanders and Eugene Scruggs.

Another baseball trailblazer and a favorite of mine, the Hammerin’ Hebrew.

Last but not least, here’s a series from Kevin Johnson:

A pair of shots from Old Tiger/Navin Stadium, one of the stops on the Saturday bus tour.

Kevin Johnson during his presentation, “Mack Park – Friend or Foe?”

A couple of pics from Comerica Park.

Larry Lester (left) and former players Johnny Walker, Ron Teasley and Pedro Sierra before the Tigers-Royals game.

The pre-game ceremony honoring the ex-Negro Leaguers.

Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keating interviewing Rosalyn Stearnes Brown at Comerica Park.

And there you have it! We had a stupendous time in Detroit — seeing old faces, restarting dormant discussions about baseball, and just being together with our Negro Leagues family again. We now await next year’s return of SABR’s Jerry Malloy conference, which will recognize another monumental centennial — the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League.

Thank you again to all those who contributing to the last two posts on this blog!

4 thoughts on “The Detroit Stars conference in pictures

  1. We always have a great time celebrating the lives and accomplishments of my dad “Turkey” Stearnes and the other Negro Leagues ballplayers. They deserve all of the recognition that was not afforded them while they were living. Another missed milestone in this country.


  2. I enjoyed going to these events when my dad (James Cates Detroit Stars) was alive. I was proud watching him and his baseball friends being honored. My dad last attended an event at Comerica Part in June 2000, four months before he passed away.


    • Hi Melanie, I’m so sorry I haven’t responded until now. Since the start of the pandemic I’ve been slowing up a bit on my blog as my news reporting “day job” has taken up a lot of my time over the last couple years. However, I’d still love to hear from you if you’d be interested in chatting about your dad. If you’d like, feel free to email me at! I’m very sorry again, and thank you for reading and commenting!


  3. Pingback: The Malloy Conference returns in a big way | The Negro Leagues Up Close

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