Negro League Baseball Museum receives impressive $1M donation – The Philadelphia Tribune
The Negro League Baseball history is huge. That was quite evident on Wednesday when the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball announced that they are jointly contributing $1 million to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo.
The grant should serve as inspiration for future generations of minority kids to play baseball by helping the NLBM sustain and preserve the history of Negro Leagues. In addition, it will keep the memories and the accomplishments alive of so many who played the game.
The announcement was made during a news conference by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Bob Kendrick is the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Kendrick has done an outstanding job of keeping Negro League Baseball in the mainstream media. He knows the importance of documenting the legacies of these great players. Kendrick was interviewed for my story on the late Mahlon Duckett of the Philadelphia Stars when he died two years ago.
“Fortunately, we were able to get an oral history on him,” Kendrick said. “So others will have an opportunity to know him, even if it’s just through videos, who won’t get that opportunity to meet him like we all did.
“He was certainly one of the more important Negro League players because he was one of the few guys who were still around from the ‘30s and ‘40s. Not very many of those guys are still living. It makes his passing that much more difficult.”
A year ago, the Phillies produced a documentary on the Philadelphia Stars, which was narrated by former Phillies standout Ryan Howard. The documentary is titled “They Said We Couldn’t Play: An Oral History of the Philadelphia Stars.” Besides Duckett, the Stars had some great players like Gene Benson, Stanley Glenn, Wilmer Harris, Bill Cash, Harold Gould and others.
Negro League Baseball should never be forgotten. The injustices and the racism suffered by many of players was incredible. The Negro Leagues had the best players to ever play the game. It’s a shame most of them never had the chance to play in the majors.
Youngsters should know the names of the Stars as well as others Negro League legends who played the game like Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Biz Mackey, Oscar Charleston, Louis Santop and many others.
Negro League Baseball was a great platform for Jackie Robinson, who broke the color line in the majors in 1947 by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs. Three months later, shortstop Larry Doby broke the color barrier in the American League joining the Cleveland Indians. Not long after that, legendary pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige came to the Indians. Doby played for the Newark Eagles. Paige played for the Kansas City Monarchs.
Young people can learn a lot from these players. The style of play in Negro League Baseball kept the fans engaged in the game. The speed on the base paths, the spectacular play in the field, moving the runner along by hitting to the opposite field, laying down a bunt to get on base and the ability to hit the long ball. This was all done through the basic fundamentals of the game as well as the talent these players had.
“Because of the sacrifices and triumphs of the men and women of the Negro Leagues, the museum is an inspirational experience for fans of any age,” MLB Commissioner Manfred told the Associated Press. “We appreciate the museum’s contributions to baseball and the role it can play in encouraging young people.”
The Negro League Baseball Museum is a real treasure. Ryan Howard told me he would go to the museum every year before spring training. That’s how much the museum meant to him. With the grant, the NLBM will be able to provide additional exposure to Negro League teams as well as the Philadelphia Stars.