The Negro Leagues Hall of Fame hasn’t been the same since the death of its #1 supporter. Will the big names who have benefitted from the old timers’ sacrifice be willing to step up to the plate?
They’re among the biggest names in baseball history. The last four living Hall of Famers to have spent time in the Negro Leagues. Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier, but segregation in baseball was still a new phenomenon.
Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Monte Irvin and Ernie Banks knew how fortunate they were that they’d been born just late enough not to have missed a shot at the big leagues.
They still do.
They support the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame in Kansas City, but it may take more than just the occasional check or word of support to keep the Museum alive.
Since the death of Buck O’Neill, the Kansas City attraction has struggled to move forward. With its future at stake, one writer tracked down the elder statemen–and Ken Griffey Jr.–to see if they’d be willing to get behind a move to preserve the Hall’s memorabilia and its stories for another generation.