Brewers Visit Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Early this afternoon, I had the pleasure of touring the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) with a group from the Brewers that included Manager Craig Counsell, Bench Coach Jerry Narron, Hitting Coach Darnell Coles, Coach John Shelby, infielder Jason Rogers, Brewers Wives and a few members of the front office.

Founded as a one-room office in 1990 at the corner of 18th Street and Vine, the site of the 1920 founding of the Negro National League, by 1997 it had grown to the 10,000-square-feet museum that we visited today.

Founded as a one-room office in 1990 at the corner of 18th Street and Vine, the site of the 1920 founding of the Negro National League, by 1997 it had grown to the 10,000-square-feet museum that we visited today.

Our tour guide, Raymond Doswell, led us on the NLBM’s unique tour, which circles a large field, with bronze statues of Negro Leagues greats at each position. One must pass through the exhibits telling the story of the league in order to gain access to the field at the end.

Photo Jun 18, 12 26 42 PM

Negro Leagues Museum

Part of the tour involves watching a short film entitled “They Were All Stars,” narrated by James Earl Jones.

Along the way, our tour guide told us the interesting stories behind the photos and artifacts that we were viewing, such as a ball signed by Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Joe Black, Jim Gilliam and Ty Cobb; a letter regarding an assessment on then-Indianapolis Clown player Henry Aaron; a collection of baseballs autographed by Negro League veterans given to the museum by Geddy Lee (yes, that Geddy Lee, of the band Rush); and a copy of “Satchel’s Rules for a Good Life,” that prompted many to capture a photo.

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The Negro Leagues modern structure dates to 1920 when Andrew “Rube” Foster, a former player, manager, and owner for the Chicago American Giants, joined several others to start the Negro National League. Soon, other leagues formed throughout the United States, including Milwaukee in 1923.

In 1947, MLB’s Brooklyn Dodgers brought over Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs to become the first African-American in the modern era to play on a Major League roster.

“It’s history, an important part of baseball history,” said Counsell. “I learned a lesson about American history and baseball history. You get a better understanding about how important baseball was in the African American communities in that time period.”

Jason Rogers echoed that sentiment.”I knew some of the history, but I enjoyed learning a lot more about it,” he said. “I liked it a lot. I’m glad I came.”

Here’s a brief interview with Jason about his visit:

 

Each year, the Club honors the Negro Leagues with a tribute game at Miller Park. As part of the event, the Brewers’ players wear uniforms of the Milwaukee Bears team that played one season in 1923. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, July 18 when the Brewers face the Pirates. More details pertaining to this year’s Negro Leagues Tribute Game will be released leading up to the event, so stay tuned.

A huge thanks to Raymond and the staff at the museum for a phenomenal tour. I highly encourage all baseball fans to pay a visit to Kansas City to see it.

Jason Rogers, Jerry Narron, Darnell Coles, Craig Counsell and John Shelby pose with the statue of Satchel Paige at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Jason Rogers, Jerry Narron, Darnell Coles, Craig Counsell and John Shelby pose with the statue of Satchel Paige at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

 

-Cait

@CMoyer

 

 

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