July 24, 2006

Posted on Mon, Jul. 24, 2006

National designation for Negro Leagues museum is official

WASHINGTON - It's official: Kansas City's tribute to Negro Leagues baseball is now America's National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

The House on Monday approved a resolution designating the 15-year-old museum as the nation's official tribute to the sports league created during segregation era.

National recognition gives the museum more leverage to obtain memorabilia and collectibles for its exhibits.

A similar resolution, introduced by Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., passed the Senate earlier this year. The House action, led by Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, makes the designation official without the president's signature.

"The museum is a national destination for anyone seeking to enrich their understanding of this period in America's history," Talent said. "Whether you are a baseball fan or not, you will be moved by what you see there."

Museum officials say they hope the designation helps draw bigger crowds and raise money to preserve its collections and display exhibits.

"As America's only public museum dedicated to the history of the Negro Leagues, we are thrilled with this important recognition," said Buck O'Neil, the legendary player and museum chairman.

More than 60,000 fans visit the museum each year to learn the story of the league formally organized in Kansas City in 1920.