KANSAS CITY -- Even though he's gone, Buck O'Neil's legacy of love for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum continues this month with a celebration of his 101st birthday anniversary.
The NLBM is trying to raise $101,000 to support the Kansas City museum and its programs with three days of events, including a run/walk and a musical salute under the banner "Celebrating an American Classic."
For starters, until Nov. 30 anyone can make a donation of $10 or more by texting the word "BUCK" to 49798 or going online to www.nlbm.com.
"A small donation can make a big difference," NLBM president Bob Kendrick said. "Our goal is to mobilize as many people as we can and encourage them to make a small contribution in memory of Buck. Coming off the heels of a successful All-Star Game celebration, awareness of the museum is at all-time high. Hopefully by utilizing social media and other channels we can parlay that heightened awareness into support."
A 2.2-mile run/walk family event will start the O'Neil celebration at 8 a.m. CT on Saturday, from the Paseo YMCA to the museum at 18th and Vine (register at www.nlbm.com). That will be followed at 11 a.m. by a Monarchs and Royals autograph session featuring Negro Leaguers Jesse Rogers, Ulysses Hollimon and Bob Motley; ex-Royals Willie Aikens and Jaime Bluma and former Major Leaguer Diego Segui.
The first of three musical events at the Gem Theater across the street from the museum will be at 8 p.m. Saturday -- "The Soul of Baseball" with the R&B group After 7. Tickets can be reserved by calling NLBM at 816-221-1920.
The second annual "Gospel Salute to Buck" with area choirs will be held at 3:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, Nov. 11, and is free to the public.
On the occasion of Buck's actual birthday, Tuesday, Nov. 13, "It's All Jazz" featuring bass guitarist Julian Vaughn with singer Avery*Sunshine will be held at 7 p.m., also at the Gem.
"No matter what the musical art form was Buck would simply say, 'It's all jazz,'" Kendrick said. "We felt a musical salute influenced by the prevalent sounds of Buck's life would be a fantastic way to remember the baseball legend."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.