To increase recognition of athletes of color in baseball and bring their legacies to life through art, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and Dreams Fulfilled established a Kickstarter campaign on December 12 to produce series of officially licensed, limited-edition bobbleheads of 30 black and Hispanic players from baseball’s former Negro National League in honor of the league’s upcoming centennial in 2020.
"The Negro League Centennial Team series will bring long overdue recognition to players who were not only among the best to play the game, but also early civil rights pioneers who helped pave the way for integration in baseball and the country," Dreams Fulfilled founder and baseball historian Jay Caldwell recently stated.
Last month, Caldwell and Negro League Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick announced those African American and Hispanic players selected to the Negro League Centennial Team. The selected players competed between 1895 and 1947 — the year when the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs shortstop, Jackie Robinson, joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball.
With an initial fundraising goal of $10,000, the campaign has raised over $71,000 from over 700 backers. Campaign organizers are on a mission to educate fans across the country about the history of notable baseball players who thrived despite racial segregation during the post-Civil War era. Pending the success of the campaign, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum plans to continue producing bobbleheads of each player through February 2020.
Monarchs pitcher Satchel Paige is among five Monarchs players selected to the Centennial Team. Paige’s bobblehead has already been produced and sits on display at the YMCA in Kansas City where Hall of Famer Andrew "Rube" Foster founded the Negro National League on February 13, 1920. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has already confirmed production of several other bobbleheads as well, including Effa Manley, the only female in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As the The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum produces the collectibles, they will be available for purchase at various locations, including the museum’s onsite and online stores, as well as the Dreams Fulfilled website and the Negro League Baseball Museum store. A portion of proceeds from each bobblehead will benefit relatives of the players and the Negro League Baseball Museum.
Among other incentives, contributors to the Kickstarter campaign receive discounts on bobbleheads and on tickets to the forthcoming Negro Leagues Centennial Exhibition in 2020. Learn how you can support the campaign HERE.