PAOLA — To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, the Miami County Historical Museum is asking residents to share their stories, photographs and memorabilia from the Kansas City Monarchs for a local exhibit in April.
The Monarchs played exhibition games in Paola and Osawatomie and other parts of the county during their barnstorming days.
Mike Hursey, a museum board member, said it would be great to share some of the local history about the Monarchs with a special display at the museum here in Miami County.
April is the perfect month to celebrate the Monarchs, Hursey said, with the start of the Major League Baseball season.
The Kansas City Monarchs, formed in 1920, were one of the most famous Negro League teams. Kansas City was also the longest running team in the Negro Leagues, playing for 45 years from 1920 to 1965.
The Kansas City Monarchs won 11 league championships and defeated Hillsdale in the first Negro Leagues World Series in 1924 five games to four with one tie.
The Kansas City Monarchs produced such stars as Jackie Robinson and Leroy Satchel Paige.
Other Negro League players to make their mark on Major League Baseball include Buck O’Neil the first black coach, who coached for the Chicago Cubs; Larry Doby, a seven-time all-star to play for the Cleveland Indians and the first black man to play in the American League; Roy Campanella, a three-time National League MVP for the Brooklyn Dodgers; Minnie Minoso, an 11-time all-star, thought to be the oldest man to ever play in a Major League game; Monte Irvin, an all-star with the New York Giants; pitcher Don Newcomb of the Dodgers, rookie of the year, all-star and Cy Young Award winner and MVP; Willie Mays, the “Say Hey Kid,” an all-star 24 times for the New York Giants, rookie of the year and two-time MVP; Ernie Banks, 14-time all-star and two-time MVP for the Chicago Cubs; and “Hammerin Hank” Henry Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record with No. 715 in 1974.
O’Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs. He was also a player-manager for the ball club. He was a coach for the Chicago Cubs and longtime scout for the Cubs and later the Kansas City Royals.
To inquire about the museum or loaning items for the exhibit, contact Hursey at (913) 294-4940.