Tuesday February 2, 2010 8:20 pm
Negro Leagues Hall of Fame facing financial trouble
The Negro Leagues Hall of Fame is in trouble. Faced with the dwindling economy, the museum is facing the very real threat that they may have to close their doors. Located in Kansas City, the Hall opened its doors in 1990, and for the last 20 years has continued to teach thousands of baseball fans about the injustices in the history of the game for decades. Not being allowed to play in the MLB until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, African-Americans began their own leagues as early as 1887 to play the greatest game in the world.
Major League Baseball, including Commissioner Bud Selig, has given strong support to the Negro League Hall of Fame. They, as well as the MLBPA are working with the museum to not only save the historic building, but also to promote awareness of the facility and the history of the Negro Leagues to attract new tourists. While Kansas is not a great tourist attraction (is Cooperstown, really?), Kansas City itself is significant to the culture established by African Americans in baseball.
The museum is celebrating its 20th year and plans to continue that celebration. They are preserving the Negro League Baseball culture with their hundreds of displays, and chart the history of the Negro Leagues with pictures, autographed balls, exhibits, lockers, equipment, and more. Fans can tour the museum and see all of this. At the end of the tour is the Field of Legends, where tourists can walk onto a field with near-life size bronze statues of some of the greatest African-American players to ever pick up a bat, including Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, and Cool Papa Bell.
While the museum is openly admitting financial troubles, they are not going as far as to say that they will be closing their doors anytime soon. As expected, the media is speculating that the situation may be worse than what’s reported, but just the fact that the organization is even admitting is a testament to their integrity (the NHL could certainly learn a thing or two from them). This museum deserves to stay alive. Despite the historical significance of the city, if it takes moving the museum to another location, then so be it. All options need to be considered. To lose such a monument would not only be the greatest insult to baseball, but also to those who were ever told they couldn’t play it.
- Related Tags:
- african-american baseball, buck leonard, closing, cool papa bell, financial trouble, josh gibson, major league baseball, mlb, museum, negro leagues, negro leagues hall of fame, satchel paige, sidefeatured
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