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Jazz & Jackie
While many are aware that Jackie Robinson courageously broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, few know that his pioneering professional baseball career began in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. On May 6, 1945, Robinson played his first game with the Monarchs. A few months later, he would be signed into the Dodgers organization and took the field with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947. That monumental event would change the game and America forever. In 2016, the NLBM launched “Jazz & Jackie” to annually celebrate Robinson’s Kansas City roots and his love of a musical art form, jazz, that got its soul in Kansas City.
Salute to the Negro Leagues & Dressed to the Nines
How popular were the Kansas City Monarchs? So popular that Black Churches would move their Sunday service time back an hour so that fans could attend the game. Fans left church, “Dressed to the Nines,” headed straight to the ballpark to see their beloved Monarchs play. In 2013, the NLBM teamed with a group of local Kansas City Royals baseball fans to recreate that spirit by putting on their “Sunday Best” to watch a Royals game. A new tradition, “Dressed to the Nines,” was born. The stylish event is now paired with the Royals annual “Salute to the Negro Leagues,” and has easily become the most fashionable day in baseball.
Heart of America Hot Dog Festival
To Celebrate the historical connection between our national pastime and the hot dog, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in partnership with Hy-Vee, Pepsi and Farmland established the “Heart of America Hot Dog Festival” in 2013 to rave reviews. The family-friendly Festival includes live entertainment, mascots, games, autograph sessions, and trivia along with admission to the NLBM. In 2018, the festival has attracted more than 10,000 hot dog lovers.
Buck O'Neil Golf Classic
Held annually in August, the Buck O’Neil Golf Classic attracts an All-Star roster of baseball and sports legends who tee-it-up in support of the NLBM.
For More than a decade, the late, great John “Buck” O’Neil used his birthday to raise awareness and funds in support of the NLBM. After his untimely death in 2006, the NLBM continued the tradition of celebrating the life of the Negro Leagues legend and beloved baseball ambassador. In 2018, the NLBM hosted a three-day celebration that included the 2nd Annual Rock the Vine Fashion Show; Buck’s Bash and concluded with a Gospel Salute to Buck.