For years, the old YMCA building was an eyesore at the entrance of the 18th and Vine District. But over the last few years, the façade has been restored and the windows replaced. And, on the south wall, a giant mural has gone up of the legendary baseball player, coach and keeper of the Negro Leagues flame Buck O’Neil.
The Negro Leagues got their start in Kansas City, when eight independent black baseball teams met at the Paseo YMCA in 1920. Buck O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs, and had a major role in opening the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Kansas City's role in the integration of baseball is a popular subject these days. The recent release of 42, the movie about Jackie Robinson's integration into Major League Baseball premiered in Kansas City, home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, this month. UMKC Theatre is also tackling the subject with the debut of its play Kansas City Swing.
The movie “42” tells a story of baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who once played for the Kansas City Monarchs. He broke the color barrier with his entry into Major League Baseball. A recent sneak preview of the movie in Kansas City featured an appearance by iconic actor Harrison Ford and a handful of his co-stars.
Actor Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey in "42," the movie on baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson to be released next month. Rickey is the former general manager who signed Robinson to break the color line in Major League Baseball. Ford will be in Kansas City next month for a special screening.
Kansas City, Mo. – For the past twelve years, Bob Kendrick has been a passionate voice on behalf of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum at 18th and Vine. As marketing director, Kendrick worked closely with the late Buck O'Neil to promote the legacy of black baseball. But last year, in a controversial move by the museum's board, he was passed over when they selected a new president.