Hamtramck Little League baseball legend Pinky Deras dies at 75

Art “Pinky” Deras, the world’s “greatest Little League player,” died Sunday night.

Deras, 75, suffered from heart issues for the past couple of years, and it gave out over the weekend, said his son Adam. 

Metro Detroiters know Deras as an iconic Little League pitcher who took Hamtramck to the Little League World Series championship in 1959. It was the state’s only championship win until Taylor North won in 2021

To his sons, Deras was a dedicated and loving dad. He hardly mentioned his time in Little League, Adam said. 

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“He did all this stuff, and we didn’t even know about it,” Adam said. “We didn’t know how big it was until they really started doing the documentary. For everything he accomplished, he was very quiet, you would never know. He was a good man … never bragged about it, just kept to himself and did his own thing.”

Art "Pinky" Deras, often called the greatest Little League player ever, died at 75 on June 5.

Deras was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and played in the minor leagues. After that, he joined the National Guard. When he came home, he lived in Sterling Heights and worked for the Warren Police Department for 29 years, Kevin, Deras’ other son, said.

The tales of Deras’ baseball prowess spread far and wide — he received letters from people from both coasts and other countries, Adam said. 

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