American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and AL MVP runner-up Mookie Betts on Tuesday collected their 2016 Legacy Awards, handed out by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
The Boston Red Sox teammates, who are in Kansas City for a three-game series against the Royals, visited the museum Tuesday morning. Teammates Jackie Bradley Jr. and Joe Kelly also attended.
Porcello took home the Wilber “Bullet” Rogan AL Pitcher of the Year trophy, the Legacy Awards’ equivalent to the Cy Young, while Betts received the Oscar Charleston Award, equivalent to the AL MVP.
“I didn’t know much about this (history),” Betts said. “For me to learn it and younger kids to learn it, it’s a great thing. I’m happy to be a part of it. I want to thank (NLBM) for spreading all the information out about the Negro Leagues.”
Bradley Jr., who visited the museum last year with Betts, praised the efforts of museum president Bob Kendrick.
“It’s really special to learn about history, how this game changed, how it’s evolved,” Bradley Jr. said. “To be able to see the African-American players and how they had to endure through adversity, Hispanic players as well, they had to go through a lot. They pretty much built the bridge for other ballplayers to continue to play this game.”
While the rest of his teammates returned to the team hotel after an awards presentation, Kelly stayed behind with Kendrick to tour the museum for the first time.
“I knew (NLBM) was here, I’ve just never had an opportunity to come visit,” Kelly said. “I’m very interested in the history of the Negro Leagues. It’s part of the game not many know about. Knowing the struggles all these players before me went through, I’m grateful to be playing this sport.”