Major League Baseball and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum have partnered to create a new initiative that will keep the memories and accomplishments of Black and Brown baseball players alive.
They are collaborating to produce the “Negro Leagues 101” featuring a multimedia platform where contemporary former Black MLB players will honor former Negro League greats through vignettes that will pay homage to those who played the game but were never truly give their due among other ways to remember the
The initiative began on June 25 and will last until October 3, which is the final day of the 2021 regular season.
MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds threw out the first pitch on this virtual opening day by sharing the first set of facts about Negro League player Willie Wells to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the establishment of the Negro National Leagues. This effort is part of a larger educational initiative led by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum called “Negro Leagues 101,” which includes a series of programs, lectures, and events along with other learning experiences, including a virtual tour of the NLBM.
“I don’t think there was ever a time that people didn’t want to know about the Negro Leagues,” said Bob Kendrick President of the Negro League Baseball Museum. “They just simply had no way to know about this rich history because it has never been fully documented in the pages of American History books.”
Each day’s fact is being unveiled by a Major League Player, Legend, youth baseball or softball player, or general representative of Baseball.
Social media platforms from MLB, the Major Leagues Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and clubs will also support this campaign designed to educate and inform the public about the rich and vast history of the Negro Leagues and Black excellence in the sport.
“The Negro Leagues is a story of excellence and resiliency by individuals who accomplished extraordinary feats in the face of bigotry and discrimination,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Since Reynolds opened the series of tributes, several MLBbros from the past have shared memories of the unheralded legends of the game who opened doors for the future success of Black players on the diamond.
Former players Mike Cameron and Fred McGriff have offered their appreciation for what has often been historically marginalized efforts to preserve the impact of Black players of past and present on MLB.
Current MLB second-generation Black Knight Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pittsburgh Pirates also joined in the celebration on July 4. His father Charlie played in the majors and won a World Series as part of the Yankees Soul Patrol.
“A full understanding of Baseball includes knowing the history and legacy of the men and women in the Negro Leagues who paved the way for so many of us,” MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark said.