The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum received a substantial gift on Wednesday from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and players association executive director Tony Clark were at the museum on Wednesday to announce a $1 million donation to the NLBM. Clark proposed the idea to Manfred of creating a partnership with the museum about a year ago.
“Whenever you try to rebuild something like rebuild African-American participation in our game, you need a great foundation,” Manfred said. “The foundation of our effort with respect to African-American players had to be an effort to make young players understand the Negro Leagues, understand the significance of the Negro Leagues to African-American history and more broadly, to American history.
“I commend his (Clark’s) vision and leadership on this project. I look forward to working with Bob and all the people at the Negro League Museum going forward.”
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Kansas City mayor Sly James and former big-leaguer Dave Winfield, a special assistant to the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, also were on hand Wednesday.
“Anytime we have a conversation about growing and advancing the game, finding similar ground is relatively easier to do and this was indeed one of those,” Clark said. “Once I had the opportunity to tour the halls here, I realized that the Negro Leagues’ history is indeed our game’s history.”
The $1 million donation (split evenly between the MLB and MLBPA) matches a gift from Julia Irene Kauffman as the biggest in the history of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
“Both entities have been supportive the museum over periods of time,” NLBM president Bob Kendrick said. “But this is the first time that we’ve sat down and looked at a cooperative kind of collaborative relationship.
“As much as we’re excited by the amount of the check, I’m more excited that the commissioner was here and that Tony was here, because I think this help gets the message out this is not just a charitable contribution — this is a partnership.”