Though the New York Yankees did not follow the Royals’ lead with throwback uniforms, they still found a few ways to salute the Negro Leagues on Sunday.
They wore patches with No. 28 in honor of the late Ernie Banks, at the Royals’ request, and Girardi shared memories of him before the game.
“Ernie was always very humble, very gracious. Always had an excitement for the game,” Girardi recalled. “As a kid, I grew up watching him, so that was a thrill for me to become friends with him and be around him. He would ask about your family all the time. He always encouraged me to go back to school and get a master’s. I told him, `Ernie, I’ve had enough.’ “
Girardi also reminisced about a former trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and said he has encouraged his players to visit if they get a chance.
“I know when we stayed downtown one year and I walked over there, it was really neat to see,” Girardi said. “I would encourage our players to learn about it because it’s part of our past. It’s part of majo- league baseball and what players went through. Their perseverance is pretty amazing, their willingness to barnstorm and their love for the game.”
Museum president Bob Kendrick said that the Yankees’ decision to forgo the specialty uniforms will affect their weekend donations since game-worn uniforms are auctioned off to benefit the museum. He said he did not know if the team was planning on donating any money as it has done in the past, but one would be appreciated.