The Kansas City Royals will hold their annual “Salute to the Negro Leagues” event this Saturday, September 16th, when the Houston Astros come to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
As part of the festivities, the Royals will don the home uniforms of the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs, while the visiting Astros will play wearing the road set of the 1950 Houston Eagles.
“I just talked to [Astros manager] Dusty Baker this morning,” Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, told SportsLogos.Net in a phone call earlier this week. “He is super excited about his ballclub putting on that uniform to pay tribute to not only Houston’s connection to the Negro Leagues but the Negro Leagues in a broader capacity and spectrum.”
The Salute to the Negro Leagues event not only helps educate and pay tribute to those who played in the league, but it also raises funds and awareness for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum located in Kansas City. Game-worn items – such as jerseys, helmets, and ballcaps, are auctioned off after the game, with all proceeds going directly to the museum.
“These events are tremendously helpful to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on several levels,” explained Kendrick. “There is a tremendous awareness that is generated each year when not only the Kansas City Royals but other Major League teams acknowledge the significance of the Negro Leagues as we continue to try and raise the consciousness of baseball fans about the history of the Negro Leagues.”
“Kansas City’s baseball story is tremendously rich, and the Royals are at the forefront of these celebrations and have continued doing them for decades. The awareness side of it is tremendous, but the funds generated through these annual celebrations with the auction of not only the uniforms but other game-used items like bats and caps raise tremendous support for museum operations and programs.”
Kendrick and the museum assist the Royals with the planning of their Salute to the Negro Leagues event each year, including helping with the choosing of the uniforms that the two clubs wear.
“We always do a great job of working with the Royals on which uniforms they’re going to wear; of course, a lot of this is dictated by Nike’s ability to create, but you know they will be historically accurate.”
As mentioned earlier, the Royals will be wearing the home uniforms of the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs, the season during which Jackie Robinson played for the club. This uniform is cream-coloured with blue pinstripes, large red piping trimmed in blue down the front and around each arm, and a giant “KC” in red on the chest. The caps and batting helmets are cream with large red pinstripes and this same “KC” mark on the front.
Houston will counter with the 1950 Houston Eagles road uniforms, a relatively subdued design compared to the Monarchs with grey tops and “Eagles” scripted in navy blue. Player caps are navy blue with a white “E” on the front, and the top left pant leg will also show the player’s number in navy blue.
This 1945 Monarchs uniform had been worn before by the Royals, but for a moment, they did consider another design.
“We tried to do the 1953-54 Monarchs uniform this year, which is a beautiful uniform, and we just couldn’t get it turned in time,” Kendrick said. “So we went back to the 1945, which we had worn previously.”
As for Negro League throwback uniform designs that haven’t been worn yet, Kendrick has one in mind that he hopes will see a Major League ballfield once again.
“The Chicago American Giants, particularly their checkerboard uniform, is just a wonderful uniform; I would love to see the White Sox wear that at some point. It’d be great if it would be the White Sox and the Royals in that annual Salute, and to see them in that Rube Foster-inspired Chicago American Giant checkerboard uniform – absolutely magnificent.”
This, of course, would depend on Nike’s ability to produce a checkerboard uniform, a challenge which Kendrick responded to with three simple words, “Just Do It.”
The Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros will meet up wearing the throwback Negro League uniforms this weekend, on Saturday, September 16th, 2023, first pitch is set for 6:10 pm local time. Interested fans can bid on the game-worn jerseys, caps, helmets, and more (with all proceeds benefiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum) starting on game day royals.com/auction and astros.com/auction.
Fans in the area looking to attend the game can also purchase a special ticket that will include a donation back to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum using this link https://fevogm.com/event/Negroleagues. The first 10,000 fans to enter the stadium will receive a Kansas City Monarchs jersey at the gates.