Black History Month: Sporting KC players visit Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

At the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, America’s pastime is on vibrant display, albeit through a different lens.

Located in the historic 18th and Vine District, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum pays homage to the hundreds of Black baseball players who led a defining cultural movement from the 1920s to the 1950s. Featuring a wealth of interactive exhibits, informative placards and treasured artifacts, the museum has served as a crown jewel of American history in Kansas City.

On Thursday, several Sporting Kansas City players paid a visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as part of a teamwide celebration of Black History Month. Guiding the nine players on the tour was museum president Bob Kendrick, who provided remarkable insight on the challenges that Black baseball players faced for decades.

“Being able to come here and learn about Black history was really special to me,” said Sporting goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, who joined the club this offseason. “It’s always awesome to see where you come from. I really enjoy hearing about my culture and hearing about my past. Being able to learn so much (is) really inspiring.”

McIntosh and Sporting teammates Gianluca Busio, Amadou Dia, Cam Duke, Jaylin Lindsey and Khiry Shelton are all members of Black Players for Change, a player-led organization working to bridge the racial equality gap in the United States. All six players were in attendance at the museum, gleaning insight from Kendrick’s inspirational stories about the players who competed in the spirit and signature style of the Negro Leagues.

“You can feel the history (here), and we were lucky enough to have the president show us around—show us and tell us what these (Black athletes) had to go through for them to be so great at the game they played and the game they loved,” Dia said.

Black Players for Change was selected as the 2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, making a significant impact in the soccer community and beyond by announcing a mini-pitch initiative with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and partnering with numerous groups to lead the charge on civic engagement. Black Players for Change is only getting started, however, and experience that McIntosh enjoyed with his teammates last week has only reinforced his drive to evoke positive social change.

“The more that I can learn about myself, about the past and about Black culture, the better position I’ll be in to make an impact moving forward,” he said.