Saturday, September 17, 2011
Ozzie takes up cause for Negro Leagues Museum
By Doug Padilla
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The biggest spokesperson the Negro Leagues Museum might have doesn’t take a dime from the organization.
Ozzie Guillen made his annual visit to the museum on Saturday and the history there still continues to amaze the Chicago White Sox manager.
“It was a little special because my only kid who hasn’t been there yet [Ozzie Guillen Jr.] took a look about it,” Guillen said. “It was a nice conversation. We appreciate what we have after we see all that stuff and how much easier we have it and how much people work to make us have the life we have in baseball.”
Guillen has said the collection of memories should be viewed by every major-league player, regardless of race. He has even gone as far as saying that Major League Baseball should make a visit mandatory by players but knows that a mandate would be an awkward way to go about things.
With the All-Star Game set to be played next year in Kansas City, Guillen is confident the Negro Leagues Museum will get the attention it deserves. It is located alongside the American Jazz Museum.
“Oh, it has to be [a focus of MLB],” Guillen said. “That would be a no. 1 priority. It was last night because I see [on the videoboard] Royals players take those kids to the museum.”
Guillen said the museum is on better financial footing than it was just a few years ago. And if it needed more financial stability he would do what he could to help. On Friday afternoon Guillen participated in an off-site luncheon and fundraiser.
“I learned that at some point they were making more money in the winter leagues than they were making here,” Guillen said. “I read a couple comments some guy made that they went from Kansas City [to St. Louis] to Chicago and they can’t stop to eat because they don’t have a place for them to eat. They go all night without eating because they can’t find a spot.
“You look here, we eat here and then go to the airplane and we eat on the airplane and go to the next city. It’s so different and sometimes you shake your head at what these guys went through all this stuff for baseball to be better now than then.”