KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From Satchel Paige to Jackie Robinson and Buck O’ Neil, several of baseball’s iconic players began their professional careers with the Negro Leagues in Kansas City.
Now those legends, along with countless others, could be honored with a special, commemorative coin.
On Tuesday, a bill called the Negro Leagues Baseball Centennial Commemorative Coin Act was introduced by Sens. Roy Blunt and Tim Kaine and Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Steve Stivers to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Negro League.
Bob Kendrick, president of the National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, said if it’s passed, this is big news for everyone.
“It not only raises the profile of the National Negro Leagues Museum, but it raises the profile of our great city, the birth place of these leagues,” Kendrick said.
Right around the corner from the National Negro Leagues Museum was the playing grounds for African Americans and Hispanic baseball players to showcase their abilities.
But Kendrick said it became so much more, describing the historical significance as a story of hope, courage and determination.
“While it’s so easy to get lost, with the romantic nature of these very courageous athletes, who overcame tremendous social adversity to play the game they love, sometimes we lose sight that this was the third largest black-owned business in this country,” Kendrick said.
February 13, 2020, will mark the 100th anniversary of the day that Rube Foster signed the documents to start the Negro Leagues in Kansas City. The coin would celebrate this monumental moment.
It’s a cause Kendrick hopes everyone will rally behind.
“In this time, day and age, with all of the fighting we see around political issues, this is one both sides can gravitate towards. There is nothing bad about a coin to recognize the birth of Negro Leagues and the impact that it had in terms of diversity and inclusion,” Kendrick said.
“As we’ve seen with the success of other U.S. Mint coins, there is a potential for a great deal of revenue to be raised, that can come back and support the mission of Negro Leagues Museum.”
If passed, a target date for the coin is set for 2021.