NLBM gets $1M donation pledge

February 13, 2020 - 3:54 pm

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum received good news when it hosted a commemoration of the founding of the Negro National League, which took place at the Paseo YMCA branch in Kansas City on Feb. 13, 1920. 

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA, the union that represents its players, committed to supporting the NLBM while paying respect to the Negro Leagues pioneers.

"The MLBPA and Major League Baseball have pledged an additional million dollars to the project here in Kansas City," said Rob Manfred, MLB commissioner. "On June 27, all of our players will commemorate the 100th anniversary by wearing a special logo, a special patch."

The MLB Network is showing special segments about the Negro Leagues throughout this year.

"Buck O'Neil is one of the finest human beings to ever walk the face of this earth, who just happened to be a great baseball player."@nlbmprez and Harold Reynolds share an emotional moment reflecting on the life & legacy of Buck O'Neil. #BlackHistoryMonth

— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 12, 2020
The Negro National League was the only professional sports league at the time in which African Americans could play. Major Leage Baseball was finally integrated by Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. 

The early Negro Leagues players were not trying to send a message; they just wanted to play competitive baseball, said Bob Kendrick, NLBM president.

"They didn't know they were making all this history and honestly, they didn't care," Kendrick said. "That, to me, is what makes the Negro Leagues so special. That is why 100 years of the birth of the Negro Leagues, I think, is one of the most significant occurrances, not in baseball history, but in American history."

The Kansas City Royals will host its annual tribute to the Negro Leagues May 17.

Story by Brandon Azim, KMBZ Reporter

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