Negro League Baseball Museum President, Bob Kendrick on the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues
Andrew “Rube” Foster. Josh Gibson. Cool Papa Bell. Those names are synonymous with the heroes of the Negro Leagues. Baseball players of legendary status whose extraordinary talents were ignored by the mainstream and barred from joining Major League baseball during their primes due to racial discrimination. Despite that, these remarkable athletes were at the heart of a thriving league that broke barriers, displayed incredible skills on the diamond, and helped innovate the game of baseball. This week we spoke with Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro League Baseball Museum about the legacy of the Negro Leagues and the players who made them great.
The NLBM is pretty much the only place in the world dedicated to telling the story of the Negro leagues. The leagues that gave rise to players Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige and the many hall of fame worthy players who were never allowed to play Major League Baseball. At the height of its popularity Negro League, games were huge attractions, often outselling major league games played at the same stadiums. Long before Major League Baseball broke the color barrier with the arrival of Jackie Robinson, Negro League players were crossing the country playing integrated barnstorming games and traveling to foreign countries playing showcases to introduce the world to America’s favorite pastime.
Bob talks with Bullseye about how the Negro Leagues gave the Major Leagues some of their most legendary players, how African-American press and local Black economies were intrinsically tied to the success of the Negro Leagues, and how the Negro Leagues offered players a refuge from a world of ever present discrimination. Plus, Bob shares how the Negro League Baseball Museum is honoring the 100th anniversary of its founding this year. All that on the next Bullseye!
About the show
Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
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