Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

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Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Nlbmandjazz.jpg
Established 1990
Location Kansas City, Missouri
Type Professional sports
Website http://www.nlbm.com

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990 in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a privately funded museum dedicated to preserving the history of Negro League baseball in America. The museum is part of the historic 18th & Vine district, which also includes the American Jazz Museum.[1]

History[edit]

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990 by a group of former Negro Leagues baseball players, including Kansas City Monarchs outfielder, Alfred Surratt,[2] Buck O'Neil, and Horace Peterson.[3] It moved from a small, single-room office inside the Lincoln Building at historic 18th & Vine streets in Kansas City[3] to a 2,000-square-foot (190 m2) space in 1994.

Three years later, in 1997, the museum relocated again, to a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2), purpose-built structure five times the previous size.[4] The museum resides in the 18th and Vine District of Kansas City, the hub of African-American cultural activity in Kansas City during the first half of the 20th century. Within the same building is the American Jazz Museum, celebrating Kansas City's likewise vibrant jazz scene during that same time period.

On March 20, 2013 a special screening of the movie 42 was held in Kansas City on April 11, 2013, a day before its nationwide release, as a benefit for the Negro Leagues museum. Actor Harrison Ford, one of the stars of the film, participated in the fundraiser.[5]42 is a biographical film about the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs prior to breaking baseball's color barrier.

Exhibits[edit]

The museum chronologically charts the progress of the Negro leagues with informative placards and interactive exhibits. Its walls are lined with pictures of players, owners, and officials of Negro league baseball from the Negro National League of 1920 through the Negro American League, which lasted until 1960. As one progresses through the exhibit, one moves forward through the history of Black baseball. In one area of the museum, there are lockers set up for some of the legends of the Negro leagues. One can see game-worn uniforms, cleats, gloves, and other artifacts from stars such as Josh Gibson, the "Black Babe Ruth."

By far the most impressive aspect of the museum, however, is the Field of Legends. Separated from the visitor at the entrance by chicken wire, it is accessible only at the end of the tour. One can walk onto a field adorned by nearly life-sized bronze statues of twelve figures from Negro league history. Crouching behind the plate is Gibson, one of the most prolific hitters in baseball history, a man who allegedly hit over 80 home runs in one season. At first base is another Baseball Hall of Famer, Buck Leonard, a teammate of Gibson's with the Homestead Grays. At second base is Pop Lloyd, Judy Johnson monitors shortstop, while Ray Dandridge holds down third base. In the outfield are Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, and Leon Day. On the mound is perhaps the most famous Negro leaguer of all time, Satchel Paige, who became a rookie in the Major Leagues at age 42 in 1948. At the plate is Martín Dihigo, the only man to be inducted into the Halls of Fame in three countries: Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. Other statues commemorate Rube Foster, the founder of the Negro National League, and Buck O'Neil, a former Kansas City Monarch and a member of the board of the Museum until his October 6, 2006, death.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was a Founding Sports Partner of the Sports Museum of America which opened in 2008 and closed in 2009 at 26 Broadway in New York City.

On November 13, 2012, the family of Buck O'Neil donated two items to the museum in honor of what would have been O'Neil's 101st birthday. O'Neil's Presidential Medal of Freedom—awarded posthumously by President George W. Bush—was donated. Also given to the museum was a miniature replica of the Buck O' Neil statue which is displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The items will be showcased in a special area of the NLBM dedicated to O'Neil.[6]

The Geddy Lee Collection[edit]

On June 5, 2008, Geddy Lee (of the Canadian band Rush), himself an avid baseball fan, donated nearly 200 autographed baseballs to the NLBM. The signatures on these baseballs include names such as Hank Aaron, Cool Papa Bell, and Lionel Hampton. At the time, Geddy Lee's gift was one of the largest single donations the NLBM had ever received.[7]

Awards[edit]

Main article: Legacy Awards (NLBM)

Each year, the museum presents the following awards:

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "Negro Leagues Baseball Museum". Negro Leagues Baseball Museum website. 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Penn, Steven (2010-02-28). "Alfred "Slick" Surratt, a founder of Negro Leagues Museum, dies at age 87". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  3. ^ a b Kaegel, Dick (January 11, 2010). "NLBM's Legacy Awards given Jan. 30: Royals' Kauffman, White co-chairing annual event". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  4. ^ "CBAKC Board Members: Don B. Motley, Chairman". Community Baseball Academy of Kansas City (CBA-KC). Retrieved 2011-11-02. [U]nder Motley’s direction [as executive director], the NLBM moved into a 10,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in November 1997. 
  5. ^ "Kansas-based company helps bring 42 to Kansas City". Associated Press via KSHB-TV website. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Kaegel, Dick (13 November 2012). "Negro Leagues Museum gets new O'Neil items.". MLB.com via KC Royals website. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Rush's Geddy Lee gives NLBM a donation (video); The Kansas City Star; June 6, 2008.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°05′29″N 94°33′46″W / 39.0914°N 94.5627°W / 39.0914; -94.5627