As a kid who grew up in the 70′s and who loved baseball, I had many different influences.
From the Big Red Machine to watching the Bad News Bears – baseball was my life. The best thing about watching the Bears – whether in California, Houston playing in the Astrodome or in Japan, there wasn’t one member of that rag tag team with Chico Bail Bonds on their backs that each of us couldn’t identify with (I was Ogilvie).
A Bear that everyone remembers whether he was sitting in a tree in his underwear or calling his shot against the Yankees was Ahmad Abdul-Rahim. He wanted to wear 44 and play right field like Hank Aaron. He was a militant – as militant as he could be at that age anyway and he was the only African-American in the original Bears movie.
Today, Erin Blunt counts himself lucky. He has spent his entire life doing what he loves – entertaining people.
I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Erin to talk Bears, baseball and what he’s up to today.
DB: As a kid, how big of a baseball fan were you?
EB: I wasn’t. I hated baseball.
DB: Wait, you hated baseball and yet you were a Bear?
EB: I’m going to tell you a story that no one else outside of that original crew knows. I was a scrawny 11-year old kid. I got in trouble at home some, you know just being a kid. I hung out with my friends and played football.My Mom kept me in line. One day I’m outside of school getting ready to go home and here she comes flying in in the car. Man I thought I was in trouble. I got in and she told me that I had an audition…but it was for a baseball movie. I told here Mom, I hate baseball! After asking me if I wanted to go, I finally agreed. We showed up at the field and there were what seemed like a thousand kids there in uniforms with gloves and everything. Here I was – hat on backwards, t-shirt and jeans. I wanted to go home. I talked to the producers and there was something that they liked about me. I think it was the fact that I was black kid with a little attitude. So they called me back the second day and there were a ton of kids in uniforms again. I had no idea that they were looking for a kid like me. None of that mattered though. I was the first Bear chosen to be in the movie.
DB: So you hated baseball – how about the other kids in the movie? Were they good baseball players?
EB: None of us could play. They hired a coach and that’s all we did every day was learn how to play baseball. For the first month that’s all we did – play and do drills. During that time they were filming us and some of the footage that you see in the movie is actually us learning how to play. After two months we got pretty good. I grew to love the game and love it to this day.
DB: What was it like being the only African-American kid on the set?
EB: I was very lucky growing up in that I was raised around a lot of different races. As long as you were cool with me – I was cool with you and that’s how it was with everyone. To this day we talk, text, Facebook – we became life-long friends. I tell you a funny story. I don’t think growing up that Tatum O’Neal had a lot of black friends. It was just funny because she would sit next to me and just look at me. She didn’t know what to expect – it was funny.
DB: So when you fell in love with the game – who were your favorite players?
EB: I loved JR Richard. It was amazing to see a guy that tall, that intimidating pitching for the Astros. I had the privilege of meeting him years after filming the Bears. He was a freak of nature and there weren’t that many black pitchers in the 70′s. Of course Hank Aaron was a hero of mine. I got to meet him. I was overwhelmed what he and his family went through as he chased Babe Ruth’s home run record. I also love Bo Jackson – maybe because of what he does for people off the field more than the short but amazing career he had.
DB: Did you have any idea how big of an impact the Bad News Bears had on people like me – people everywhere?
EB: I’ve really just started understanding that 4-5 years ago. I meet a lot of different people and I never would have thought we had such big parts in people’s lives – especially black kids and my character. They would tell me that they played baseball because of me We had Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson and in basketball – Kareem (Abdul Jabbar). But when you watch a movie in the 70’s there’s this black kid going to Houston and playing in Astrodome – going to Japan – if this kid can do it then I can to. That’s what they would tell me and still do if we meet for the first time. It’s still hard to wrap my arms around.
DB: So many of your teammates didn’t do much in the entertainment industry after Bears. You and Jackie Earle Haley (Kelly Leak) easily have done the most.
EB: I’m really proud of Jackie. Academy Award nomination and all. He’s so talented. The thing about filming the Bears movies was that it wasn’t like a job at all. It was fun. I miss hanging out like we did then. I’ll tell you – those guys mean so much to me and meant so much to me then. I had the chance to be in a national commercial and made it to the final audition – the part would have been mine. But that final call came on the same day that I was supposed to do a voice over for the Bears. There was no way I was going to miss being with those guys so I acted like I couldn’t act and didn’t get the commercial.
DB: So many kids struggle as child actors. Your career lasted for 11-years and you were in great projects like Car Wash, Happy Days and more.
EB: Man – my Mom kept me grounded. Every Christmas Eve she took me to the Children’s Hospital to sign autographs. She’s the reason that I’ve become the man that I am. It’s not about the how much money you have – it’s about the smiles that you give. That’s what she taught me and that’s how I live life.
DB: So what are you up to these days?
EB: I still do some acting. I’ve had roles in the Sons of Anarchy and The Office. Mostly little stuff. Music keeps me the busiest right now. Even when I was a kid I loved music. I was always buying records. Now I DJ at different events. It’s a lot of fun. I’ve been very blessed to do what I love and that’s entertain people.
Great video of two
legends Satchel Paige and Steve Allen – the game show, pitching and
how to stay young
Jim Crane is a happy man. The owner of the Astros had pushed and pushed since taking over the Houston franchise to be able to host a Civil Rights game in Minute Maid Park. On Tuesday his persistence paid off.
The Astros and Baltimore Orioles will play in the event May 30th next season.
The 8th annual contest is something near and dear to Crane’s heart as he has championed many off the field diversity events and programs and hired the franchises second African-American manager in Bo Porter.
“We made it clear when we got involved a couple of years ago when we bought the team that we were very interested in diversity and we’d be a big supporter of it,” Crane said in the introductory press conference.
The Astros have long been a supporter of minority programs and were the first to open an MLB Urban Academy.
“We want to continue to support these events,” Crane said along side MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. “It’s very important for baseball and very important for the community. The Civil Rights Game is a great way to honor those who have fought for equality and promote diversity in the game moving forward. We’ve really worked hard to promote diversity and looked at everything we can do to help, and you can continue to count on the Astros to do that moving forward. We consider it a great honor to host this event.”
Dave Barr (@daveabarr)
Baseball super fan and friend to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Geddy Lee of RUSH talks baseball, the NLBM and a new RUSH LIVE DVD in this video interview.
Lee has a baseball exhibit named after him in the Negro leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City which houses over 400 autographed baseballs from Negro League players including the legendary Hank Aaron.
Winter baseball leagues from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic have started with major league veterans and up and coming stars. The winter leagues have always been the place to play against the best competition in the off season. It was also a haven for Negro leagues players.
The winter leagues were a place where players were not known for the color of their skin or where they were from. For decades, Negro League players and their brothers from Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela were all equal – playing along side such greats as Roberto Clemente for Santurce in Puerto Rico.
There was one team however that had unparalleled star power.
In 1937, the Ciudad de Trujillo squad was one of the best in baseball history. Negro League greats Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell joined forces with Cuban greats Silvio Garcia and manager Lazaro Salazar to form and unbelievable roster.
Los Dragones called Trujillo, Dominican Republic home.
Dominican Republic dictator at the time – Rafael Trujillo, who thought that a great baseball team would strengthen his popularity, changed the name of the city to Trujillo from Santo Domingo and wanted the best baseball team that he could assemble. Dr. Jose Enrique Aybar, who held a position in Trujillo’s government was also in charge of Los Dragones and paid Paige $30,000 to recruit as many Negro leagues players as he could to play for Trujillo. Paige was supposed to take $6,000 for himself and use the balance to bring other players, Some stories have Paige being held at gunpoint until he agreed. Paige brought five Pittsburgh Crawford teammates which included Sam Bankhead and Bell plus Gibson to the Dominican. The club also starred the father of Hall of Famer and Puerto Rican great Orlando Cepeda – Petrucho Cepeda.
The problem was that the Crawfords and Grays – who Gibson was just traded to were in spring training. Unlike today, Liga Dominicana was not a winter league in 1937. Negro League owners banned the players since they left their teams but it did not stop them from heading to the Caribbean. Just like a lot of Negro leagues history – there is another story about why the players went to the Dominican to play. This one involved Crawfords owner Gus Greenlee defaulting on players salaries. Which story is true – who knows. But the one thing that is certain – this 1937 ensemble would give any team in history a run for it’s money.
It was an interesting experience for the Americans as armed guards followed them everywhere and lined the field during games. In many cases it was like being kidnapped and only allowed to play baseball on the weekends.
The Dragones won the title with Paige winning two-games. Paige led the league with an 8-2 record. Josh Gibson hit .453 for the season and Cool Papa Bell did what Cool Papa Bell did – play a variety of positions as well as anyone ever had.
Despite winning the championship, Dictator Trujillo was not impressed or happy with the return on his $30,000 investment as the Dragones didn’t dominate like he had anticipated. The following season the team and league was disbanded. There would not be organized baseball in the Dominican Republic for the next 12-years.
Dave Barr (@daveabarr)
Every day we celebrate the life of a great man and American – Buck O’Neil.
Today though is very special as the father of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was born on this day in 1911.
Dave Barr (@daveabarr)
The one thing that has truly amazed me since the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum started this blog – and continues to amaze me to this day – is the love that people have for the teams and players that didn’t make millions of dollars. Who weren’t household names and whose history for the most part was forgotten.
Another shining example of that is a homegrown business in Kansas City – Charlie Hustle.
Just like their namesake Pete Rose – Chase McAnulty and crew are cranking out hit after hit and now offer a line of Negro League baseball merchandise that is second to none.
“As purveyors of classic garb, or as most call it ‘vintage’ – working with the Negro League Baseball Museum on this project was copacetic with what we are trying to do as a business, McAnulty said. “We love nothing more than to dive into the archives and find inspiration through history. Many of our current designs are based on a broad range of time honored events in sports and pop culture, so it made complete sense for us to look to the Negro Leagues and bring their stories to life.
The line – perfect for the holidays – offers everything a baseball fan would want in retro apparel. This collection is inspired by Charlie Hustle’s knowledge and passion for vintage baseball t-shirts matched with the teams and players of Negro League baseball.
“Of course, there are the Kansas City Monarchs and Homestead Grays,” McAnulty said as he counted his fingers remembering all of the teams in the project. “But what about teams like the Indianapolis Clowns? A barnstorming team that was a collective mix between show business and actual talent. They were the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball. While fielding a legitimate team, respected enough to be a part of Negro League baseball, they also toured from town to town bringing comedy to the sandlot, entertaining thousands. Or what about the Million Dollar Infield for the Black Sox of Baltimore a nickname given to them by the media because of their prospective worth at the time had they been white ball players. The Negro Leagues have plenty of stories to tell and you’ll experience that throughout our line of t-shirts. They are conversation pieces.”
Much like the mission of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – who McAnulty and Charlie Hustle work closely with to ensure the accuracy of the logos – it’s all about educating baseball fans young and old about a time in baseball before Jackie Robinson where Satchel Paige, Oscar Charleston and Josh Gibson roamed the diamond.
“It’s the most important part of what we are doing,” McAnulty said with a smile. “Our brand is built off of what inspires us and what can bring us back to our childhood. It’s a 50/50 split between memory and design, without one of these it has no soul, and soul is what gives value to the consumer. Therefore it’s important to give it the due diligence it deserves in order for us to provide that value. That kind of passion goes hand in hand with the products we put to market. I feel like we as business owners are educating ourselves on the Negro Leagues daily and the more we get entrenched in the history the more we want to share it with the world. Being able to teach a younger generation about what the Negro Leagues goes beyond baseball. It’s another way of learning history through sport.”
One of the very cool parts of the Negro Leagues line is the fact that it financially helps the Museum.
“Absolutely – just like any museum, it needs constant funding and watering if you will to stay alive and expand. Being from Kansas City myself, this is where the museum belongs and it’s up to the people of our community to make sure it stays here, “ McAnulty continued. “ We take great pride in being able to help benefit the museum and will do everything we can to educate and help it to grow. The Negro Leagues are a huge part of the history of America’s greatest pastime and Kansas City was the hub for it. One line that reads on a poster in the museum is -
“It was the ambition of every black boy to be a Monarch, as it was for every white boy to become a Yankee..”
“While Kansas City is known for its mouth-watering BBQ and cool Jazz, as well as being home to the NLBM, it’s also an amazing city for entrepreneurs. We embody a spirit that resounds metaphorically with the Negro Leagues. It’s more than just t-shirts and being able to give back to our community in general while doing what we love to do is definitely…very cool!”
As a Kansas City native and baseball fan, McAnulty and his two partners and crew at Charlie Hustle are fans – yes there will always be a business aspect but at the heart of it all is a passion and appreciation for baseball now and of the Negro Leagues.
“I think the basis behind Charlie Hustle is to tell those great Negro Leagues stories using the t-shirt as our canvas,” McAnulty said. “The more you learn you can’t help but want to know more and in turn do more. Working with the Negro League Baseball Museum allows me to do that as a fan and as a business owner. I think it’s giving me a greater appreciation for the history of baseball and it’s evolution we see today.”
For more information about the Charlie Hustle Negro Leagues Project – check out this video from Kickstarter.
Stay tuned for ways that you can win Charlie Hustle Negro Leagues gear right here at Monarchs to Grays to Crawfords!
Dave Barr (@daveabarr)
The 1942 Negro Leagues World Series was a baseball dream come true.
It had everything that you would ask for from a Fall Classic. In total, seven Hall of Famers took to the diamond. You want a great match-up between a pitcher and hitter? 1942 had that with Satchel Paige versus Josh Gibson. You want controversy? 1942 had that too. Try this one on for size. One team is getting manhandled and so what do they do? They recruit players from other teams to come play – no joke! Want another one? Five different stadiums opened their gates and not one official win was recorded in Kansas City.
The Kansas City Monarchs came into the World Series from the West and the Homestead Grays from the East. It was the first time since 1927 that the East and West met after the collapse of the Colored Eastern League. Sometimes you don’t always get the best two teams playing for a championship. That was not the case in 1942.
Kansas City was good. I mean GOOD. Kansas City won more than 70-percent of their games in 1942 and won their fifth Negro American League tile in six seasons.
“…1942 was my favorite year…the best team I ever played with. Someone once asked Newt Joseph who he would take with him if he could play in the majors, and Newt replied, ‘The whole Monarchs team.’ That’s the way I felt about the ’42 Monarchs. I do believe we could have given the New York Yankees a run for their money that year.” –Buck O’Neil, I Was Right On Time.
Not to be outdone, the Grays fielded a team loaded with huge bats and names. Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard led Homestead who had beaten Monarchs ace Paige twice in extra innings in the preseason.
Kansas City jumped out to a quick one game to none lead in the series after getting great pitching performances from Jack Matchett and Satchel Paige holding the powerful Grays to just two hits en route to an 8-0 win. The Monarchs scored runs every inning from the sixth frame on aided by six Homestead errors.
Paige took the mound in relief again in Game 2. The Monarchs led 2-0 and would increase that bulge to 5-0 before the Grays would get on the board for the first time in the series scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Kansas City would tack on three more runs in the ninth and would increase it’s World Series lead to 2-0 with an 8-4 win. What many remember from this contest was the crafty Paige getting out of a bases loaded jam by striking out Gibson on three-pitches.
Game three in New York’s Yankee Stadium saw a role reversal. Satchel Paige started the game but was relieved by Matchett after just nine-batters and giving up a two-run blast to Howard Easterling. It was the first Gray lead of the series. Kansas City went on to score nine runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series with a 9-3 win.
Things would get odd- to put it lightly – before Game 4 would officially get in the books. Seventy-one years later, it’s still difficult to believe or describe.
Here goes – it was common practice to schedule a second game to form a doubleheader as weather, stadium availability and other factors came in to play. So Game 4 would be played right after the Monarchs Game 3 win. It would be counted as an exhibition and the Monarchs won easily 5-0. I don’t understand it to this day. A game that doesn’t count in the middle of a World Series just seems crazy.
You thought that was nuts? A WEEK later (and you thought TV schedules extended series these days!) the Grays and Monarchs would battle once again. This time in Kansas City’s Ruppert Stadium as the home team tried to wrap things up in front of the home crowd.
The Grays were a MASH unit with several players banged up. So Homestead signed players from the Philadelphia Stars and Newark Eagles – namely pitcher Leon Day to play for the Grays the remainder of the series. Kansas City played the game under protest and day held them to just one run as Homestead won their first game of the series 4-1. But in going with this story, it did not count and another game was scheduled as a committee formed by members of both leagues upheld the Monarchs protest.
Monarchs secretary and business manager William “Dizzy” Dismukes stated “We didn’t play the Homestead Grays. We lost to the National League All-Stars.”
The final game of this most unusual and talent laden series took place in Philadelphia after originally being scheduled in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Weather moved the contest to Shibe Park and the Monarchs starting pitcher Satchel Paige was MIA. Once again Joe Matchett was called upon to start the game and struggled giving up five unearned runs in 3 2/3 innings. Paige, after being stopped for speeding (can’t make this stuff up) immediately relieved Matchett once he arrived at the stadium. Paige held the Grays scoreless the rest of the way as Kansas City would battle back finally taking the lead with two-runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth to win the game 9-5 and the series four games to none.
The 1942 title would be the last for the Monarchs while the Grays would return to the World Series the next two seasons winning the both.
Top that with your pick off’s and obstruction calls Cardinals and Red Sox!
Dave Barr (@daveabarr)
The Negro Leagues had color in every way – from uniforms, to personalities to the color of their skin.
As teams particularly around Minor League Baseball, effort to discover the newest in unique team nicknames like this week’s announcement of baseball returning to El Paso, Texas in the form of the Chihuahuas – I thought we would look back at some of the best team nicknames in Negro Leagues history.
Atlanta Black Crackers
The Black Crackers began play as the Atlanta Cubs but changed their name as many fans were already calling them the Black Crackers after an all-white baseball team in Atlanta named the Crackers in 1919. The teams were connected in many ways including both playing in the same Ponce de Leon Park and in 1920 when the Black Crackers joined the Negro Southern League – they equipment and uniforms were donated by their white counterparts.
For most of the clubs history it played as a minor league or independent team. But in 1938, Atlanta joined the newly formed Negro American League. Because of various problems on and off of the field – the team was relocated to Indianapolis and became the ABC’s.
Kansas City Monarchs
Widely thought of as the most successful organization in Negro Leagues baseball – the Monarchs were formed in 1920 by white businessman J.L Wilkinson (the first of an established team in Negro Leagues history). Kansas City was an organization on the cutting edge using portable lights to play night games way before the Major Leagues did.
The Monarchs sent more players to the big leagues than any other Negro Leagues club including Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, Elston Howard and Hank Thompson.
Kansas City won 10 pennants, two Negro leagues World Series (1924 and 1942) and were the longest running Negro Leagues organization disbanding in 1965.
The Grays were the most dominate Negro Leagues team in the 1940′s.
The Grays were formed in 1912 and originally based in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Because of the enormous popularity of their, they moved to Pittsburgh in 1929 making the Steel City arguably the capital of Negro Leagues baseball as both the Grays and Crawfords called it home. TheGrays played in the legendary home of the Pirates, Forbes Field and shared Greenlee Stadium with the Crawfords, Homestead would eventually also play in the nations capital. By 1943 playing the majority of their games in Washington DC.
The Grays would go on to win 11 league titles and three Negro Leagues World Series (1943, 1944 and 1948) as well as sending 12-players to baseball’s Hall of Fame including arguably the greatest Negro Leagues player of all-time Josh Gibson.
Birmingham Black Barons
For 26-years the Barons entertained the negro Southern league at historic Rickwood Field usually out drawing their white counterparts the Birmingham Barons.
The Barons won three pennants (1943, 1944 and 1948) losing all three times to the Homestead Grays. The Barons and Grays formed the best rivalry in Negro Leagues baseball history. In that last World Series matchup- Birmingham was led by a 17-year old outfielder named Willie Mays.
Hilldale is interesting because they officially never had a nickname. The Daisies and Clan Darbie were loosely given. Clan Darbie because they were originally the Hilldale Athletic Club in Darby, Pennsylvania. Hilldale was formed in 1910 but it’s most successful seasons came in 1924 and 1925 as they played in the Negro Leagues World Series in both years – against the Kansas City Monarchs both years – splitting the two revenging a previous loss in 1925.
Six different Hall of Famers played for Hilldale during the organization’s life including Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston and the greatest Latin American player in Negro leagues history Martin Dihigo.
New York Cubans
There were actually two Cuban Stars teams, owned by different people and neither employed Cuban players exclusively as the nickname would suggest. One Stars squad played in the New York area while the other played in the Midwest. Both teams would eventually fold opening the door for one team called the New York Cubans. The Cubans had players from all over Latin America including Puerto Rican born Perucho Cepeda, father of baseball great Orlando Cepeda. Only the Indianapolis Clowns fielded more international players than the Cubans did during that era.
The Cubans won one league and World Series title. It came in 1947 with greats like Luis Tiant Sr., Martin Dihigo and Minnie Minoso defeating the Cleveland Buckeyes.
Dave Barr (@daveabarr)
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum will host a three-day, community-wide birthday celebration in memory of the lifeworks of the baseball legend and its inspirational leader.
Kansas City, MO – The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) will remember the lifeworks of John “Buck” O’Neil with a three-day, community-wide celebration in recognition of the baseball legend’s 102nd birthday. This year’s theme is “The Power of Love,” which reflects on O’Neil’s inspirational example of unyielding love, humility, tolerance and respect for others that he openly demonstrated to the world.
For nearly a decade, O’Neil, who was born Nov. 13, 1911, used his birthday to raise money and awareness for the NLBM (1616 E. 18th Street, KCMO), that selfless act resulted in excess of $1-million in support. Seven years after his death (Oct. 6, 2006), the NLBM continues the tradition of celebrating O’Neil’s illustrious life. Events are planned for Nov. 9, 10 and 13 with a goal to raise at least $102,000 in support of the NLBM.
“All Buck ever wanted for his birthday was for people to visit and support the museum that he helped create, said Bob Kendrick, NLBM president. “For 16 years, Buck gave his all to build an institution that would pay rightful tribute to America’s unsung baseball heroes and worked tirelessly until the very end of his life to help our nation understand the importance of the Negro Leagues and its important place in American history.”
The celebration gets off to a running start at 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 9 with the Buck O’Neil 2.2 Mile Run/Walk. The family fun event will have participants blazing a trail through the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. The race culminates at the NLBM for a post-event party and award presentations. The unusual race distance is derived from O’Neil’s Monarchs jersey number 22. The entry fee is $22 and includes a commemorative Buck O’Neil long-sleeve Monarchs t-shirt and free admission to the NLBM.
After the race, two of O’Neil’s favorite baseball players, George Altman and Willie Wilson, will “take the field” to discuss their stoic careers and sign copies of their new books beginning at 11 a.m. The program is free with paid admission to the NLBM. Altman, who was managed by O’Neil as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs in 1955 before embarking on a nine-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets, is the co-author of his biography, “My Journey from the Negro Leagues to the Majors and Beyond.” Wilson, a Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer and one of the fastest men in baseball history, is the co-author of the new book, “Inside the Park.” Both books will be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the NLBM. Altman and Wilson will sign one additional item with the purchase of a book.
No one loved a good party more than O’Neil, and it’s in his spirit of love and fun that his annual Birthday Bash continues at 8 p.m., Sat., Nov. 9 at the Gem Theater (1615 E. 18th Street, KCMO). The event features “The Power of Love,” a soulful tribute to Buck inspired by the music of the late, great Luther Vandross and a post-event concert with R&B legend Howard Hewett. To reserve tickets, call the NLBM at (816) 221-1920.
On Sun., Nov. 10, area gospel choirs, and other performers, will raise the rafters of the Gem Theater at the 3rd Annual Gospel Salute to Buck. For years, O’Neil led a cross-country crusade preaching the gospel of the Negro Leagues and the virtues of the NLBM to a legion of fans. The gospel music extravaganza takes place at 3:30 p.m. and is free to the public.
Events associated with O’Neil’s 102nd Birthday Celebration conclude on Wed., Nov. 13 with the presentation of the Buck O’Neil Legacy Award given annually in recognition of “outstanding support of the NLBM.” This year’s recipients are University of Kansas Hospital president/CEO Bob Page and former Major League great and current ESPN broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe. The awards will be presented in ceremonies at the Gem Theater beginning at 7:30 p.m. and followed by a performance of Sati Word’s critically acclaimed, one-man play inspired by O’Neil’s life entitled, “Baseball Music: The Sweetest Sound.” Word, a Chicago-based actor, wrote the play that was directed by Chuck Smith and produced by Legacy Creative Arts Company.
“The NLBM is committed to making sure Buck’s contributions to baseball and our nation are never forgotten. This celebration is simply our way of honoring a man who gave so much to so many,” Kendrick said.
THE POWER OF lOVE:
Buck O’Neil’s 102nd Birthday Celebration
Schedule of Events
Saturday, Nov. 9:
9 a.m.: Buck O’Neil 2.2 Mile Run/Walk (Register at http://www.nlbm.com)
11 a.m.: George Altman and Willie Wilson discussion and book signing (NLBM)
8 p.m.: Buck’s Bash: The Power of Love featuring Howard Hewett (Gem Theater)
Sunday, Nov. 10:
3:30 p.m.: 3rd Annual Gospel Salute to Buck (Gem Theater)
Wednesday, Nov. 13:
7:30 p.m.: Buck O’Neil Legacy Award presentation (Gem Theater)
8 p.m.: Baseball Music: The Sweetest Sound
For tickets or more information, call the NLBM at (816) 221-1920 or visit www.nlbm.com