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Negro Leagues
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Negro Leagues Legacy

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People from Major League Baseball show their appreciation for the Negro Leagues
MLB.com


Jimmy Rollins is the co-recipient of the 2001 Cool Papa Bell Award from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Rollins led the National League in stolen bases last season.
"In a way, my attitude and the way I approach the game is something I've taken from (the Negro League players). You always want to be a personality. It's more than just baseball. You always heard the stories about the Negro League players like Cool Papa Bell, who was so fast he could flip the light switch and be in the bed before the room got dark, or you heard about Satchel Paige going out on the mound talking to batters and telling them what pitch was coming. I think personality was a big part of the Negro Leagues. That's something I want to bring with me to the game. When I'm (on the field), I'm pointing up to the sky, or I'm talking on the field. I'm trying to bring more than just baseball to the field."
-- Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies and co-recipient of the 2001 Cool Papa Bell Award from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

"I think you have to say the Negro Leagues had a positive impact on baseball because without those guys there would be no "us" in the game. Just (reading) all the stories, reading all the documents and listening to the guys ..., it's great how they went about their business. They could have quit because it wasn't like they were getting paid a lot of money or playing on the big stage, but they just loved to play the game. They just wanted the opportunity to play along side the greats like Babe Ruth and some of those guys never got the opportunity. I look around now and see that I have the opportunity to play against Derek Jeter and some of the greatest players in the game, and you really have to appreciate the sacrifice many of the Negro League players made for us today."
-- Outfielder Matt Lawton, Cleveland Indians

"I learned a lot more about (the Negro Leagues) once I got to the Major Leagues. I got to meet a lot of the guys like Buck O'Neil. Those are guys that really command respect, and we feel honored as baseball players, especially as African-Americans, to shake hands and learn more about the Negro Leagues as we play each and every year. I had a chance to go to Kansas City to play the Royals and go to the (Negro Leagues Baseball) Museum there. I think there's great history there."
-- Second baseman Eric Young, Milwaukee Brewers

Video

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Feature Lineup
Schedule/ Archive
Award winners
Jimmy Rollins and Juan Pierre accepted Legacy Awards last week from the employees at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. More>>

The motives
Branch Rickey had several reasons for signing Jackie Robinson to a pro contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Historian Steve Goldman has the details. More>>

Segregated Baseball: A Kaleidoscopic review
While the very existence of the Negro Leagues was necessary because of the racial divides in the United States, black baseball not only survived -- it excelled. More>

Traveling show
Barnstorming was common place in the Negro Leagues. More>


"Who was the best player in the Negro Leagues? Josh Gibson? I don't know, but ... baseball fans missed out on (watching) some pretty great players."
--Pitcher Dave Veres, St. Louis Cardinals

"(The Negro Leagues) stand for a lot of pride to me. (The players) met adverse times with very little bitterness and a love for the game and each other. ... I really wish someone would talk to these guys while they're still around. They're like the old blues players -- when they're gone, they're gone."
-- Manager Dusty Baker, San Francisco Giants

"I've met a lot of people that played baseball in the Negro Leagues and was very fortunate to meet Jackie Robinson. I think the Negro Leagues showed how much more organized they really were. They traveled on a bus and -- society wise -- they were not treated real good. But they loved to play and people came out to see them play. I think once Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Major League Baseball took notice and started scouting the Negro Leagues for talent. I think once the color barrier was broken baseball really took off."
--Manager Charlie Manuel, Cleveland Indians

"It's only been recently that I've come to appreciate the enormous skills that came out of the (Negro Leagues). I think it's great that we have an event surrounding (the league), with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. And we have two Philadelphia Phillies being honored (Jimmy Rollins won the Cool Papa Bell Award, Larry Bowa won the C.I. Taylor Award for NL Manager of the Year)."
-- David Montgomery, Phillies President and CEO

"It's really amazing when you think about it. Completely rejected by Major League Baseball, black players -- some of the greatest players in the history of the game -- endured incredible hardship and built an independent, thriving league. Negro League baseball became one of the two or three biggest African-American industries in the country. Their success -- drawing 50,000 fans to All-Star Games, beating white All-Star teams on a regular basis -- demanded the attention that eventually led to the integration of the game. Former Negro League players deserve the credit for beating down the door."
-- Theo Epstein, Director of Baseball Operations for the San Diego Padres

"I think the Negro Leagues proved that they could compete on the same level once they got the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues. And I think that is the same thing from the front-office standpoint. Once given the opportunity I think more people will find out what individuals are capable of doing."
-- Tye Waller, Director of Player Development for the San Diego Padres

"The Negro Leagues played a very important role in my life. My dad was actually a pitcher on a team that would practice against the official Negro League teams like the Homestead Grays. He would play every weekend and when I was young, I would run out on the field during the game and try to imitate him on the first-base line. The Negro Leagues are full of great history and whenever I go to Kansas City, I make sure to stop in the (Negro Leagues Baseball) Museum. I still talk with Buck O'Neil throughout the winter."
-- Manager Jerry Manuel, Chicago White Sox

The Negro Leaguer I know best is Buck O'Neill, and after listening to his stories about the Negro Leagues, it is disappointing that they didn't get a chance to play in the big leagues. Our society was messed up back then. I admire players like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell and I'm disappointed they don't get recognized. Their careers were never truly honored as they should be.
--Manager Buck Martinez, Toronto Blue Jays

"I only began to have a true appreciation of who they were in the Negro Leagues and the stars they were when I signed with Cincinnati in 1963. That's when I began to really pay attention to players like Jackie Robinson and Monte Irvin. I got the sense of regret that the whole country didn't get to see more players like them earlier."
-- Coach Tommy Harper, Boston Red Sox

"Having the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City gives everybody the opportunity [to know more about the Negro Leagues]. It's out there for (everbody) to learn."
-- First baseman Kevin Young, Pittsburgh Pirates