Comerica Bank SVP Irv Ashford Jr. throws first pitch during the Negro Leagues Weekend game in Detroit

Comerica Bank SVP Irv Ashford Jr. throws first pitch during the Negro Leagues Weekend game in Detroit
Irvin Ashford, Jr. (Comerica Bank Chief Community Officer) throws out the first pitch prior to the Detroit Tigers Game on July 31 as part of Negro Leagues Weekend. Ashford tosses the pitch to Russell Binford (Americas Royal Caribbean Group Vice President, Government Relations).

The Detroit Tigers hosted their 18th Annual Negro Leagues Weekend celebration July 30 – August 1, 2021, where the Tigers played the Baltimore Orioles. The weekend was all about celebrating players and continuing to educate Tigers fans about the history and impact of the Negro Leagues to the game of baseball.

Presented by Comerica Bank, the annual celebration is designed to pay homage to the prominent legacy of African Americans in the game of baseball and to the rich history of the Negro Leagues. This celebratory weekend consisted of long-standing traditions to honor former Negro Leagues players, past and current African American Tigers players, and youth baseball players.


The weekend kicked off on Friday with the 2021 Negro Leagues Legacy Luncheon, where Irv Ashford Jr., SVP, Chief Community Officer at Comerica Bank addressed the crowd by sincerely expressing his gratitude, “This is a time for us to say thank you. Thank you for all of the people that came before us, that came before me, that made a way for me and all of the other Black executives that have had an opportunity to achieve. Thank you for paving the way for us. This is quite an honor to be a part of this special event.”

Also held during the luncheon was the State of African Americans in Baseball Panel Discussion. The discussion centered around baseball greats Jake Wood, former Detroit Tigers Infielder (1961-1967) and Willie Horton, 1968 World Series Champion. Also included on the panel were:


  • George Lombard, Detroit Tigers Bench Coach
  • Kimera Bartee, Detroit Tigers First Base Coach
  • Niko Goodrum, Detroit Tigers Shortstop
  • Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers Outfielder
  • Derek Hill, Detroit Tigers Outfielder

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