KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks and Jose Mendez are just a few of the legendary baseball players who suited up for the Kansas City Monarchs more than half a century ago.
Now a new team will get to put on those iconic Kansas City jerseys next week.
“Being able to wear this across my chest is an honor,” Monarchs utility player Darnell Sweeney said.
Previously known as the T-Bones, the Monarchs rebranded earlier this year in collaboration with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
The museum believes it’s a partnership that will bridge the past with the present while also educating.
“Their legacy will continue, and it’s not forgotten on the museum that this is a delicate partnership,” NLBM community engagement manager Kiona Sinks said.
The Monarchs will play in the American Association, which is an independent league.
It’s a league some players never thought they’d be — but they see former Monarchs grits and determination as inspiration for their upcoming season.
“It resembles exactly what they went through is the grind and to be recognized and to actually have a baseball team. It means something more than just a name on your chest. It’s history behind it,” Monarchs pitcher Eric Stout said.
The community hopes to see current Monarchs play with that classic Negro Leagues swag.
“They knew they were great. They knew when they stepped out on the field, when they weren’t given the opportunity, they were going to show everyone else why they deserved to play in the major leagues,” Sinks said. “It’s no different. I hope they come out and play with swag, just knowing it’s a league that was born out of greatness.”
The Monarchs open the regular season May 18 against the Lincoln Saltdogs.