August 22, 2002Posted on Thu, Aug. 22, 2002
Former Monarch upset at Negro League Museum
By JEFFREY FLANAGAN
Columnist -- THE KANSAS CITY STAR
Herman "Doc" Horn is one of those players from the Negro Leagues who didn't qualify for the pension plan set up by Major League Baseball back in 1997.
And he's steaming mad about it.
To qualify, players had to have played in the Negro Leagues for at least four years, and, here's the kicker, before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.
Horn played for the Kansas City Monarchs after the color barrier was broken during 1949-54. Horn is one of about 150 players who are hoping that legislation proposed by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson will pass and expand the pension qualifications.
But what really sets Horn apart from some of the other Negro Leagues players is the focus of his ire. He is accusing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of doing nothing to help his cause.
"The people running that just do a lot of talk, and they don't help players like me," said Horn, 75. "It's ridiculous. We're a part of that history, and we don't get a nickel.
"Guys like Buck O'Neil get all the attention, but they don't care about the rest of the players. We were there, too, and we're just forgotten."
Bob Kendrick, director of marketing for the museum, said Horn's anger is misdirected because the mission of the museum is to protect the history of the Negro Leagues, not lobby Congress.
"Buck's heard it all before from Doc," Kendrick said. "What would he have Buck do that Buck hasn't already done? And the thing is, we're not in charge of finances for these players. That's for the Negro Leagues Players Association.
"Some players simply envy other players. They envy Buck because he's become the national spokesman, but Buck doesn't receive a penny from the museum even though he's chairman. And he still lives in the same house he's had for 50 years. Has he made money off appearances? Yes. But he's not exactly gotten rich."
Horn said he's heard it all before, too.
"They say the same thing all the time," Horn said. "They pick and choose who gets what. But I will get a lawyer, and I will get what I deserve."