By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Detroit Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook was surprised with a gift that showed paperwork of his family arriving in the U.S. along with a family tree, during the team’s Winter Caravan visit to the Arab American National Museum Jan. 25.
During the stop, Mahtook received an image of the page listing the dry goods and grocery store in Patterson, La., owned by his great-great-grandfather, Butros Mahtook, according to an AANM press release. The page was from a Syrian Lebanese business directory circa 1908.
“I come from a huge Lebanese family in Lafayette, Louisiana,” he said during the ceremony. “I’m very proud of my heritage.”
He also received an image of a census record from 1930 listing Mahtook’s great-grandfather Antoine, his wife, Elle, and their four children, residing in Lafayette, which is also Mahtook’s home town, the press release said.
Along with Mikie Mahtook, Tigers Hitting Coach Lloyd McClendon took a brief tour of the museum.
Following the tour, Mahtook presented the museum with a game-worn autographed jersey he wore during 2018 Opening Day. The jersey will be added to a permanent collection along with a Mahtook game-worn autographed cleats, a hat and a bat.
“Being here, learning the history and seeing how beautiful this museum is it inspires me and makes me very, very grateful for my ancestors and what they did to come here and give me a better life,” he said during the ceremony. “Thank you so much for having me, I can’t wait to come back here and get the full tour, but looking forward to seeing you all at Comerica Park supporting us.”
During the Caravan visit, the team announcement that Arab American Night will take place on Aug. 6 at Comerica Park. A ticket purchase will include a free Tigers T-shirt with the Old English D and AANM logo, along with a free admission pass to the museum.
From each ticket sold as part of the promotion, $3 will be used to support the AANM. The Tigers and Saad Wholesale Meats will sponsor Arab American Night.
“We are grateful for the support of the Detroit Tigers, which helps us amplify our mission as an Arab American institution,” said Lina Hourani-Harajli, chief operating officer of ACCESS, the museum’s parent organization. “This partnership to host Arab American Night at Comerica Park, along with the opportunity to connect with a well-known Arab American professional athlete, allows us to elevate the voice of our community and its contributions to our nation.”
Tickets will soon be available for purchase at prices ranging from $23 to $39 — based on seat location — at www.arabamericanmuseum.org. Group rates for 15 or more are available by calling Tigers Group Sales Executive Jim Cleary at 313-471-2232.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)