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Yogi Berra Museum hosts Negro Leagues exhibit

@ladsonbill24
February 10, 2020

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. -- The history of the Negro Leagues is fascinating. It had its share of great players from Josh Gibson to "Cool Papa" Bell. To learn more, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center currently has a great photo exhibit on the Negro Leagues called "Discover Greatness: An

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. -- The history of the Negro Leagues is fascinating. It had its share of great players from Josh Gibson to "Cool Papa" Bell.

To learn more, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center currently has a great photo exhibit on the Negro Leagues called "Discover Greatness: An Illustrated History of Negro League Baseball." The photo display is on loan from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

There are 90 photos, including one of Rube Foster, who started the Negro Leagues in 1920, and another of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the Major Leagues in 1947. There is also a display of all the Negro League players who made it big in MLB from Robinson to Willie Mays.

All of the photos are in black and white, but viewers can also see some of those images in color thanks to a reality app and tablet put together by the museum. Imagine seeing Satchel Paige throwing that blazing fastball in color.

The exhibition will be open to the public until June 20, but the museum is trying to extend it until the end of the year.

“We sent the exhibition to the [Yogi Berra Museum] last year, and it is great,” Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick said. “They have done a tremendous job of playing host. Even more so than playing host is how they activated the exhibit, and it’s incredible. They are moving a ton of students through the exhibit. They created some technology that helps bring the old black-and-white photos together. The students have found it fascinating, just like we have.”

During his 18 years with the Yankees, excellence and teamwork were two words that best described Berra. The Baseball Hall of Famer was a 10-time World Series champion and an 18-time All-Star.

Yogi Berra Museum director Eve Schaenen believes the Negro Leagues stood for what Berra believed in.

“We are focused on making sure the story we tell [has inclusiveness],” Schaenen said. “When Yogi was playing, part of the story in baseball was the segregation of the sport. To give that backstory [of the Negro Leagues] the same way we talk about Yogi’s history as an immigrant, I felt it was necessary and vital. And it has been incredible to see the response from young people to people who went to those Negro League games.”

On Thursday, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Negro Leagues with a special ceremony and press conference to be held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City at 11 a.m. CT. The Negro Leagues were established by Foster on Feb. 13, 1920, in a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA, which will now turn into the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.