Scott celebrates Michigan’s Negro Baseball League Players, including her uncle

LANSING, Mich., April 27, 2024 — Lawmakers passed House Bill 4519 to recognize May 2 as Negro Leagues Day in Michigan.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit) shines light on the Negro Baseball Leagues, including the Detroit Stars, one of eight founding teams of the Negro Leagues, quickly established as one of the league’s best. The Negro team finished behind the Chicago American Giants during the inaugural 1920 season, solidifying the Detroit Stars as major hitters on the field.

One of those players in the Negro Leagues was Scott’s uncle Ron Teasley, who, at 97 years young, is one of the oldest living players from the 1930s and 1940s Negro Baseball Leagues. Over the course of his career as an educator and a baseball coach, Teasley has had 16 players who’ve gone on to the major leagues, an accomplishment and a feat.

Rep. Helena Scott stands at the podium on the House Floor, holding up an black and white image in a frame of her Uncle pitching a baseball.

State Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit) delivers a floor speech on April 24, 2024, supporting a resolution to recognize May 2 as Negro Leagues Day in Michigan. Scott is holding a picture of her uncle, Ron Teasley, currently the oldest living Negro League player.

“I’m delighted to introduce this legislation. When I think of my Uncle Ron and the men of the Negro Leagues who created an opportunity for themselves in the face of segregation, I get an immense feeling of admiration. The Negro Leagues was an outlet for these men who could have been in the Majors had it not been for racism, had it not been the law for separate but equal, including separate sporting events. Jackie Robinson is the name we know for integrating the leagues, but it’s men like my uncle who were the ones to make a league of their own before that door opened. From now on, each May 2, Michigan will remember and celebrate the men and women of the Negro Leagues,” Scott said.

Other Detroit-area Negro League history in Michigan includes one of the stadiums. In the 1930s, Hamtramck Stadium was home to the Detroit Stars and Detroit Wolves of the Major Negro Leagues, whose talented players were heroes in the African-American Community. The Historic Hamtramck Stadium is one of only five Negro League home ballparks still in existence.

Some of those star Michiganders who were Negro League baseball players included: Cecil Kaiser, Melvin Duncan, George Wilson, Walter Owens, John W. Patterson, Willie Powell and Johnny Walker.