The Negro Leagues Museum received a terrific gift from MLB and the MLBPA this week, getting $1 million to keep telling its important story.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB Players Association president Tony Clark were in Kansas City to announce a combined donation of $1 million to the Negro Leagues Museum.
The museum, started by the late Buck O’Neal, a veteran of the Negro Leagues, was created with the purpose of preserving the history and stories of black baseball teams and players.
As time has gone on, the museum has grown and expanded greatly in the nearly three decades since the museum opened. Construction of a learning center for nearby children and a urban youth academy with aims of attracting kids to the game.
As Dave Skretta points out, the grant is intended to aid the museum in covering operating expenses as well as expansion and educational opportunities. The Negro Leagues, known as the Negro National Leagues, were started in 1920 in Kansas City, led by former player Rube Foster.
The league provided a home for ballplayers banned from appearing in the MLB due to their race. Names such as Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson became famous playing their careers in the Negro Leagues, while players such as Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron all started their careers playing in the Negro Leagues.
As decades marched by and MLB integrated, starting with Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, talent faded and so did interest, and the league folded in the 60s. The museum was started in the 80s with the intent to maintain the stories of the league.
Current MLB players make it a point to visit the museum when they are in Kansas City. Recently, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones made a $20,000 donation to the museum while his team was in town.