FanDuel - WFBC

January 31, 2010

Negro Leagues museum threatened : The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a unique window into a vital chapter of American history that the late Buck O'Neil helped open 20 years ago, could be in trouble. Attendance and revenues are down, and a decision by new management to distance itself from O'Neil has splintered many of its most loyal supporters. What's more, the recession has cut deeply into donations. After posting its first loss two years ago of about US$30,000, the museum is looking at what one staffer termed “a monster loss” that could approach a quarter of a million dollars when the final accounting for 2009 is complete.

posted by tommytrump to culture at 07:24 PM - 13 comments

That really sucks. I remember learning about the Negro League as a kid, through these great anecdotes and stories in Bill James' books, and from Buck O'Neil in Ken Burns documentary. Rich characters and amazing talents. I loved it.

Call Torii Hunter. He won't let this stand.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:19 PM on January 31

That's pretty sad, considering a quarter-mil is pretty much chickenshit money to the MLB. Hell, to a lot of individual MLB players.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 08:53 PM on January 31

Curious what campaigning they have done among major leaguers.

Likewise curious if a done w Cooperstown has been discussed.

posted by MW12 at 07:35 AM on February 01

That's pretty sad, considering a quarter-mil is pretty much chickenshit money to the MLB. Hell, to a lot of individual MLB players.

A point worth repeating.
It's probably just me, but I think that due to its shameful history of locking out black players in the early days, MLB has an obligation to keep this museum up and running.

posted by NoMich at 07:51 AM on February 01

That's a shame. I was in KC early last year and my gf and I went to the museum. Granted, it was the middle of the day on a Monday, but we were the only people in there; they practically had to power up the exhibits for us. It's actually a really wonderful museum.

That's pretty sad, considering a quarter-mil is pretty much chickenshit money to the MLB. Hell, to a lot of individual MLB players.

Here, here. Isn't that like a week's salary for some players?

posted by MKUltra at 08:18 AM on February 01

It's easy for me to suggest how other people give away their money, but hey, here I go: How about each player on the opening day roster of each MLB team donate $200 (25 x 30 x$200 = $150,000), and each of the teams pony up $5,000 (30 x $5,000 = $150,000) . Ta da, deficit covered. I'm not with the IRS, but it wouldn't surprise me if the donations would be tax deductible.

posted by tommytrump at 08:47 AM on February 01

It's probably just me, but I think that due to its shameful history of locking out black players in the early days, MLB has an obligation to keep this museum up and running.

I'm not saying MLB shouldn't step in and help out if possible, but this sounds like the reparations argument.

It would be nice to say MLB has always taken the point and honered these people who played an integral part in baseball, but the fact is many of them never played in MLB. Despite that fact, MLB has inducted several of the players into the Hall of Fame. Maybe they should make it a larger part of the Hall, but I don't think the onus is on them to keep a seperatel musem going.

And what happens next year, when the museum loses a million dollars, or the next when it loses 30 million ... I do think it would be nice to see some of the players pony up some money, but it's way more complicated than just saying each player should give $500.

posted by Ricardo at 08:58 AM on February 01

I don't know if I would want to donate at this point. It doesn't sound like it is being run well right now.

posted by bperk at 09:43 AM on February 01

This is too bad. The museum is awesome, and in an important area (heart of the jazz era) of KC. Both the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Jazz clubs seem kinda poorly run, or they just don't know what to do with it. It's too important to let it go, but I also don't see it being successful. KC is to remote of a location, and while the "new" Kauffman Stadium is amazing (seriously, one of the best ballparks in the country), it's just not a draw for tourists.

posted by emoeby at 10:35 AM on February 01

As a KC Native I can tell you it's poor planning, not necessarily management. They chose to put it in an economically challenged part of town that is no competition to the Power & Light District which houses the Sprint Center and the largest entertainment area in town. They just can't compete because there is scant anything else in the area. The Negro Leagues Museum isn't something you stumble upon, you have to seek it out.

posted by Tinman at 02:50 PM on February 01

It's probably just me, but I think that due to its shameful history of locking out black players in the early days, MLB has an obligation to keep this museum up and running.

I'm not saying MLB shouldn't step in and help out if possible, but this sounds like the reparations argument.

The Negro Leagues are as much a part of the history of Major League Baseball as the days of independent minor league baseball. It has nothing to do with any sense of obligation, it's a simple matter of recognizing and paying tribute to a part of your heritage.

If, as Tinman points out, part of the problem is the location of the museum, then maybe MLB could devote a significant chunk of revenue toward moving it to a better location. Some promotion during MLB broadcasts would be welcome too, I'm sure.

posted by Howard_T at 03:10 PM on February 01

The Power and Light District was built way after the Negro League Museum was located at 18th and Vine. If Im not mistaken, the idea was to take advantage of the 18th and Vine Jazz District. That never materialized as expected. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time....

posted by yzelda4045 at 10:55 AM on February 02

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