MLB, players union donate $1M to Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Feb. 14 (UPI) — Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have donated $1 million to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo.

The organizations announced the donation Thursday. The MLB and the players union also donated $1 million to the museum in 2017.

“Major League Baseball is honored to recognize the men and women whose legacies in the Negro Leagues greatly contributed to the history of our sport,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a news release.

“We are proud to work alongside Bob Kendrick and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to educate our fans and share powerful stories of perseverance and excellence, as well as a love of the game that sustained the Negro Leagues for decades.”

MLB will celebrate the Negro League’s 100th anniversary during the 2020 season. The most-recent $1 million donation is aimed at helping to educate and raise awareness of the impact the Negro Leagues and its players had on baseball and society.

All MLB teams will have a centennial celebration and wear Negro Leagues 100th anniversary logo patches on their jerseys during June 27 games. Clubs will also celebrate the anniversary individually with game-day giveaways, special guests and more.

The Negro Leagues Museum was founded in 1990. It is privately financed. The Negro National League was the first of the Negro Leagues. It was founded in 1920 at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City. The MLB and players union donation will partially be used to renovate the YMCA building, which now serves as the Buck O’Neal Education and Research Center.

The facility will house more than 40,000 square feet of archival materials, educational areas, exhibits, conference facilities and administrative offices when the renovation is completed. The facility will also feature a curriculum for students, using baseball for learning math and science.

The Negro Leagues operated until 1951. Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color barrier in 1947, becoming the first African-American player in the league. Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were also among the Hall of Fame players who played in the Negro Leagues.

“The men and women who played in the Negro Leagues are and forever will be part of our community of ballplayers,” players union executive director Tony Clark said. “They brought to our game levels of skill, passion and integrity under the most challenging of circumstances that both inspired and entertained generations of fans in the decades before and after integration.

“Their legacy should be celebrated and never forgotten.”

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