NLBM to celebrate a milestone!


The NLBM Field of Legends. Photo courtesy NLBM/Bob Kendrick

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City is throwing a big gala to celebrate its 25th anniversary! Below is the official press release for the bash, which is slated for Nov. 7.

The event will also celebrate the legacy of the great Buck O’Neil and what he did for both the NLBM — he basically founded it and nurtured it through the early years —  and the memory and rediscovery of segregation-era African-American baseball and beyond. And Hank Aaron!

The gala will benefit the NLBM and its Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center, which is well into development. Details for purchasing tickets or otherwise donating to the efforts are included in the press release. Help them out if you can!

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to host historic gala commemorating its Silver Anniversary; Hank Aaron headlines an all-star roster of guests scheduled to attend the milestone celebration.

Kansas City, Mo. – Times flies when you’re having fun! It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years since the late Buck O’Neil founded the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in a tiny, one-room office in Kansas City, Missouri’s 18th & Vine Jazz District. To celebrate the milestone, the NLBM will host a historic 25th anniversary gala entitled: SILVER SLUGGING MEMORIES, 6 p.m., Sat., Nov. 7, 2015, in the Grand Ballroom at Bartle Hall. Proceeds benefit the NLBM and the continued development of the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center (BOERC).

The star-studded event includes a special guest appearance by former Negro Leaguer and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron. Recognized by Major League Baseball (MLB) at the 2015 All-Star Game as one of its four “greatest living players,” Aaron’s illustrious baseball career began in the Negro Leagues in 1952 with the Indianapolis Clowns. He was quickly discovered by the Boston Braves, and the rest is history. The Mobile, Ala., native would break Babe Ruth’s longstanding all-time home run record finishing his career with 755. The “Hammer,” as he was known to fans worldwide, still holds the MLB records for total bases (6,856), RBIs (2,297) and extra-base Hits (1,477). The 25-time All-Star ranks third in hits (3,771).

“Hank Aaron is one of the most important figures, not in just baseball history, but in sports and American history,” said NLBM president Bob Kendrick. “His baseball credentials speak loudly and proudly for themselves and, in many ways, help validate the talent that was in the Negro Leagues. Couple his magnificent baseball career with his success as a businessman and humanitarian, and it propels him to another level of greatness. We’re honored that he will be part of our celebration.”

Aaron Heny--NLBM

The one and only Henry Aaron. Photo courtesy NLBM/Bob Kendrick

In addition to Aaron’s appearance, the NLBM will roll out the “red carpet” for a line-up of baseball greats that includes: Hall-of-Famer Ferguson Jenkins, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Lee Smith, J.R. Richard, Amos Otis, George Altman, Joe Carter and Willie Wilson.

The celebration will also include:
• Remembrances of the late Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso.
• Presentation of the Buck O’Neil Legacy Award.
• Buck’s 104th birthday party featuring a concert by Morris Day and The Time.

The Chicago White Sox and U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II are the 2015 recipients of the Buck O’Neil Legacy Award, presented annually for outstanding support of the NLBM. The White Sox have been a longtime financial supporter of the NLBM and the only MLB club to ever bring its entire team to tour the NLBM. The club is also a tireless advocate of the Negro Leagues and created the “Double Duty Classic” in honor of the late, great Negro Leaguer Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe.

Banks Ernie--KC

A tribute to Mr. Cub. Photo courtesy NLBM/Bob Kendrick

Cleaver is one of the reasons that the NLBM calls 18th & Vine home. It was his leadership while mayor of Kansa City that paved the way for the NLBM to be part of the cultural complex known as The Museums at 18th & Vine. As congressman, he was instrumental in helping the NLBM gain “National Designation” and helped leverage funding in support of the Buck O’Neil Center. In addition, Cleaver holds the distinction of delivering the museum’s first-ever baseball sermon at Kauffman Stadium this year as part of the Kansas City Royals’ annual “Salute to the Negro Leagues” and gave the eulogies for both Satchel Paige (1982) and Buck O’Neil (2006).

While the NLBM reflects on the many milestones and memories that have occurred over the course of 25 years, the organization is using the anniversary as an opportunity to generate funding to support museum operations, collections, programs and the continued development of the BOERC at the site of Paseo YMCA, the birthplace of the Negro Leagues. To help accomplish its financial goals, the NLBM has enlisted an all-star team of civic and business power hitters to serve as honorary co-chairs:

• The Hon. Emanuel Cleaver, II and Mrs. Dianne Cleaver.
• The Hon. Sly James and Mrs. Licia Clifton-James.
 • Julia Irene Kauffman.
• Sonya and Jim Nutter, Jr.
• Sarah and Landon Rowland

“This is a rare opportunity to pause and reflect on what has been an amazing journey for a little museum that few gave any chance of succeeding when we established in 1990. Here we stand today, 25 years later, recognized as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum,” Kendrick said. “We also understand the opportunity this celebration creates to position the museum for continued growth and prosperity and are thrilled to have secured a dynamic leadership to help maximize fundraising potential.”

The NLBM will continue its tradition of celebrating the life of its late chairman O’Neil. The baseball legend would be 104 on Nov. 13, and the gala event includes a post-event party with a concert featuring the legendary funk and soul band Morris Day and The Time.

Tickets and sponsorship information for the NLBM’s 25th information is available at For more information, call the NLBM at (816) 221-1920.

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