Detroit Wolves


When the Negro National League collapsed in 1931, a new Detroit team emerged in the fresh East-West League. The Detroit Wolves, owned by Pittsburgher Cum Posey, started the '32 season with the greatest assemblage of black talent in Detroit history. The Wolves lineup was dotted with future Hall of Famers, including "Cool Papa" Bell, Willie Wells, and "Smokey" Joe Williams, as well as several all-stars like Newt Allen, Ray Brown, George Giles, Ted Trent, Quincy Trouppe, and Mule Suttles.

Unfortunately, the aftermath of the Depression kept attendance low, and the league broke up after a few months of action. The Wolves were in first place with a 29-13 record before they disbanded. The new Stars, guided by Walter Norwood, proprietor of the Norwood Hotel, re-organized and played one season in 1933, finishing with a dismal 16-26 record.

Professional black baseball did not return to Detroit until 1937, bringing home a popular, but aging, Turkey Stearnes to roost. The Stars finished in the middle of the pack. Regretfully, the team did not return for the 1938 season. Two semi-pro teams sprang up in 1947, the Detroit Wolves (managed by Dizzy Dismukes) and the Detroit Senators (managed by Cool Papa Bell). They lasted one season. Detroit's black populace would suffer without a league team until 1954.

Enter another Grand Rapids businessman. This time African-American Ted Rasberry financed black Detroit's latest entry. Maintaining the Stars' name, Rasberry fielded an entertaining team until the Negro American League officially folded in 1960.

Foreseeing the demise of the league, Rasberry changed the team's name to the Clowns in 1958, and added acrobatic acts before the games, along with other creative attractions and promotions. They all proved futile in keeping black baseball alive in Motown. By 1960, the Stars' final year, they were advertised as the Detroit-New Orleans Stars.