Negro Leagues Field of Legends Bobbleheads Unveiled
MILWAUKEE –This morning, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) and NegroLeaguesHistory.com unveiled the first officially licensed, limited edition Negro Leagues Field of Legends Bobbleheads. The bobbleheads replicate the 13 life-size statues featured at the NLBM on the museum’s Field of Legends. The bobbleheads are available individually or as a puzzle set, which is a full replica of the Field of Legends, including the outfield walls and scoreboard, at the NLBM in Kansas City, MO. The NLBM, which is located at 1616 E. 18th St. in Kansas City, Missouri, will be the site of the ceremonial unveiling which is taking place today at 2:00pm Central Time.
The Field of Legends Puzzle Set is individually numbered to only 200 and is $625 while the individual bobbleheads are $35 each or $400 for the set of 13. The puzzle set features 13 bobbleheads that fit together at the bases to form a replica of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s Field of Legends. The individual bobbleheads feature each player on a baseball shaped base with their name on a plaque on the top of the base. The bobbleheads were produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in conjunction with the NLBM and Negro Leagues History. Sales of the bobbleheads support the NLBM and its mission.
The NLBM is a privately funded museum dedicated to preserving the history of Negro League baseball in America. The NLBM was founded in 1990 in Kansas City in the historic 18th and Vine District, the hub of African American cultural activity in Kansas City during the first half of the 20th century. The NLBM shares its building with the American Jazz Museum.
An impressive aspect of the NLBM is the Field of Legends. Accessible only at the end of the tour, one can walk onto a field adorned by nearly life-sized bronze statues of 13 figures form Negro Leagues history. Crouching behind the plate is catcher Josh Gibson, one of the most prolific hitters in baseball history. At first base is Buck Leonard, a teammate of Gibson’s with the Homestead Grays. Pop Lloyd is at second base, Judy Johnson monitors shortstop, while Ray Dandridge holds down third base. In the outfield are Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, and Leon Day. On the mound is Satchel Paige, perhaps the most famous Negro Leaguer of all time. At the plate is Martin Dihigo, the only man to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in four countries – Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the United States.
Other statues commemorate Rube Foster, the founder of the first Negro National League, Buck O’Neil, a former player and manager with the Kansas City Monarchs and a member of the museum board until his death on October 6th, 2006, and umpire Bob Motley. The statue of Motley behind home plate was added in November of 2017 – two months after his death. All 10 players as well as Buck O'Neil and Rube Foster are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil are wearing their Kansas City Monarchs uniforms; Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, and Josh Gibson are featured in Homestead Grays jerseys; Oscar Charleston and Judy Johnson are wearing their Pittsburgh Crawfords jerseys; Leon Day and Ray Dandridge are in Newark Eagles uniforms; Pop Lloyd is wearing his New York Lincoln Giants jersey; and Martin Dihigo is wearing the Cuban Stars uniform. From the late 1930s through the 1940s, the Grays played their home games at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field, which was the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, during this same period the club adopted the Washington, D.C. area as its "home away from home" and scheduled many of the team’s games at D.C.'s Griffith Stadium, the home park of the Washington Senators. During these games, they were referred to as the Washington Grays or Washington Homestead Grays.
Since moving into its 10,000 square-foot home in November of 1997, the NLBM has welcomed more than two million visitors and has become one of the most important cultural institutions in the world for its work to give voice to a once forgotten chapter of baseball and American history.
"We’re thrilled to be releasing the Negro Leagues Field of Legends Bobbleheads today to celebrate Black History Month,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “The Field of Legends is a remarkable feature of the NLBM and now people can have their own full or individual replicas in bobblehead form. The Negro Leagues Bobbleheads are a great way to keep the legacy of the league and its players alive and we think this is the perfect bobblehead series to accomplish that mission.”
“The Field of Legends is the centerpiece of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and is one of the most amazing displays in any museum anywhere in the world,” said Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “We’re thrilled to partner with the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and NegroLeaguesHistory.com to give fans an opportunity to have this collectible replica of this amazing display,” Kendrick said.
“The full replica bobblehead of the Field of Legends is our most complex bobblehead to date. We are fortunate it comes shortly after Buck O’Neil was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Jay Caldwell, founder of NegroLeaguesHistory.com.
The Field of Legends Bobbleheads join previously released bobbleheads celebrating the Negro Leagues. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has collaborated with the NLBM and Negro Leagues History to produce nearly 140 different bobbleheads since the Negro Leagues’ Centennial Celebration in 2020 which has resulted in over $35,000 in contributions to the NLBM. This includes the Centennial Series, a series of Vintage Team Bobbleheads, several Special Edition Bobbleheads, and bobbleheads featuring Hank Aaron.
About the Negro Leagues:
The first successful Negro League was founded by Rube Foster on February 13, 1920, at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City. Foster believed an organized league structured like major league baseball would lead to eventual integration of the sport and racial reconciliation. Foster did not live to see his dream come true. Others picked up his cause, and in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line.
About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located at 170 S. 1st St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opened to the public on February 1st, 2019. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for retail sale as well as organizations, individuals, and teams across the country. Visit us online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum:
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America. The NLBM operates one block from the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster founded the Negro National League in 1920. In 2006, the NLBM was designated as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” by the United States Congress.
About Dreams Fulfilled:
Dreams Fulfilled was organized to promote the Negro National League Centennial in 2020. Its founder, Jay Caldwell, was selected by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as the primary exhibitor for an art and artifact exhibition at the museum between February 1 and May 31, 2020. Dreams Fulfilled works with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to create a traveling exhibit featuring nearly 240 portraits of Negro Leagues players painted by Graig Kreindler. Visit us at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com or www.facebook.com/NegroLeaguesHistory.