DETROIT -- In their first of three Heritage Days this season, the Pirates proudly took the field Saturday in throwback Pittsburgh Crawfords uniforms and opposed the Detroit Stars in a tribute to the tradition of the Negro Leagues. The Crawfords were an enduring Negro League legend, particularly the 1935 champions that included Hall of Famers Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Satchel Paige and Oscar Charleston. Josh Harrison, who missed out participating in this tribute last season despite spending four months with the Pirates, eagerly tried on the Crawfords' No. 5 hanging in his locker Friday afternoon, hours before delivering the ninth-inning single that broke up Justin Verlander's no-hitter.
"It's exciting to be able to put on this uniform. We're going to go out, and be proud to play in this," Harrison said. A game reenacting the Negro League heritage of Detroit and Pittsburgh adds another layer to the rich, competitive tradition between the teams, all the way back to the 1909 World Series between the Pirates and the Tigers. "It's a great way to honor the history of the game," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "The Negro Leagues belonged to a special and significant era passed over by many, and I'm glad we're revisiting that as a society, and as a game. "It's neat to have these two teams with a lot of tradition, taking it all the way back to Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner." Pittsburgh and Detroit will pay tribute to the Negro Leagues again on June 23 in PNC Park, where the Bucs will be outfitted as the Homestead Grays. In between, for the June 2 game in Milwaukee against the Brewers, the Pirates will wear Pittsburgh Piratas uniforms on Latin American Heritage Day.