MLB commish Rob Manfred says the Negro Leagues are an important part of "the history of our game and the history of the United States." pic.twitter.com/xaMsk0Zka9— FOX Sports KC (@FSKansasCity) June 21, 2017
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum received a $1 million gift from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and players' union executive director Tony Clark were at the museum in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday to announce the donation that will help with operating costs, expansion plans and educational opportunities.
"Because of the sacrifices and triumphs of the men and women of the Negro Leagues, the museum is an inspirational experience for fans of any age," Manfred said. "We appreciate the museum's contributions to baseball and the role it can play in encouraging young people."
The Negro Leagues had their share of stars, including future Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson -- who broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 -- getting their start on teams.
"The Negro Leagues played an important role in not only changing the game but America, too," said the museum's president, Bob Kendrick.
Clark, the first black executive director of the players' union, said he hopes the grant will help ensure the Negro Leagues and their players are never forgotten.
"Today's players are committed to providing opportunities for underserved populations to play baseball," Clark said, "and we all believe the Negro Leagues' storied history can play an important role in our game's future by inspiring minority youth to play the sport we all love."