White Stripes, Raconteurs and Dead Weather leader Jack White may have anonymously donated $170,000 to help restore a baseball field in his hometown, the Detroit News reports (via TwentyFourBit). White, then known as Jack Gillis, spent his childhood playing baseball at Detroit’s Clark Park, and Morris “Coach Mo” Blackwell told the DN the guitarist was a skilled batter: “He was good. Smooth left-handed swing.” White might have moved to Nashville, but he’s gone a long way towards ensuring America’s Pastime continues in the Motor City.
The baseball field had fallen into disrepair, and according to Clark Park Coalition volunteer Diane Sumner, the group tried to get White to stage some kind of benefit concert with the hopes of raising money to fix up the field. White hoped to schedule something, but instead of the concert, one day Sumner received a phone call from a lawyer in Los Angeles who said an anonymous donor wanted to give the Coalition $170,000, the Detroit News reports.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that White’s oldest sister Maureen, the oldest of 10 siblings, was married to “Coach Mo.” Blackwell is also the father of Ben Blackwell, White’s cousin and the White Stripes’ archivist. While it hasn’t been confirmed that White donated the money — the lawyer demanded the donation be anonymous — Blackwell and Sumner seem pretty convinced it came from White. Construction on Clark Park started last autumn, with the field opening in time for baseball this summer. New dugouts and grandstands were reportedly built with the donations.
Since the connections between baseball and rock & roll are plentiful, here’s a selection of related stories from our archives:
• Dylan, Mellencamp, Nelson Mine Deep Catalogs on Ballpark Tour
• Wu-Tang Battle E Street Band in Ultimate Fantasy Baseball Game
• With Bob Dylan, It All Always Comes Down to Baseball