Photo credits: Public domain image courtesy of Negro League Baseball
Nearly 60 years behind the shutdown of America’s legendary Kansas City Monarchs franchise from yesteryear’s historic Negro Leagues, a professional baseball team in Wyandotte County, Kansas has renamed itself after the ball club, which made John “Buck” O’Neil a household name.
According to ESPN, the T-Bones, a professional baseball franchise in Kansas City, Kansas (Wyandotte’s county seat), has renamed itself to honor the now-defunct Monarchs of Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Monarchs played their last game in 1965 for a championship in Chicago, Illinois.
Mass racial integration of the Major League Baseball Association (MLB) contributed to the falling popularity of the Negro Leagues, ultimately forcing the national sports entity to close its doors. When all of the former Negro League players started joining the MLB, their predominately black fans followed them there.
However, decades later, the chief operators of Kansas City, Missouri’s official Negro Leagues Baseball Museum just established a new business partnership with MaxFun Entertainment. This company owns the Kansas City T-Bones baseball franchise across the state line Wyandotte County. The new partnership between these two parties has spawned a largely symbolic rebirth of the Negro League’s most prominent team.
Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Museum, released a public statement commending his new T-Bones business partners and expressed his enthusiasm – as a curator of the historical institution of Black baseball culture, which has worked tirelessly to keep the Monarchs legacy alive since 1990.
“This exciting partnership celebrates Kansas City’s rich baseball heritage and becomes an important extension of the work we’re doing to educate the public about the history of the Negro Leagues,” Kendricks said on Thursday (January 21), according to ESPN.
“We are thrilled that the proud legacy of the great Kansas City Monarchs will take the field again and look forward to sharing our story through a myriad of opportunities made possible through this historic alliance,” he continued.
The T-Bones are a sports franchise, which represents the American Association of Professional Baseball (AAPB). The AAPB is an MLB-affiliated development incubator that competitively operates in the so-called minor leagues. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum will enjoy a whole host of cross-marketing perks in its new affiliation with the T-Bones.
At least symbolically, as of late, professional baseball’s gatekeepers in the U.S. are taking steps toward recognizing and restoring the Negro League’s professional and cultural legacy. Black Then was one of many media sources, which recently reported on the MLB’s incorporation of Negro League statistics into its official historic archives.
These national archives classify all-time athletic excellence. They document the team and individual accomplishments of baseball legends throughout major league history. However, the symbolic actions of corporate sports entities will not undo the regressive social engineering, which caused Black America to abandon ownership in favor of spectatorship.
Having full equity in a fledgling Black business establishment is far more liberating than fully trading that equity off in exchange for a bigger check from the oppressor’s major corporation. This same chain reaction brand, unfortunately, led to the demise of every black-owned professional baseball team in the Negro Leagues.
Today, Black professional athletes in all three major sports have faced race-based adversities, which spawned relevant discussions about the need for Blacks to build their own professional sports leagues.