The passing of Coach Myles on May 14 marked 100 years and 10 days since the playing of the very first Negro National League Baseball Game.
David Von Drehle has a very nice column in today’s Washington Post (link below) on the elaborate celebrations that Major League Baseball had planned to commemorate the 100th Year Anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City Missouri. Like many things now, it is so sad the Covid Virus derailed what would have been the many glorious tributes and celebrations he details were planned.
Readers of Myles Traveled will know the historic roles that the Paseo Y and the Negro Leagues played in shaping the future life of a young Billy Myles. David Von Drehle sets the stage for his Post column in the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City. It took me back to the fond memories of the time Jenny and I spent in Kansas City with Bill and Lorita, and our visit to the Museum.
We were sitting in the lobby of the museum on a Saturday morning. The was a special commemoration planned that day at the KC Royals baseball game and the museum was humming. I was listening to Bill and Don Motley, Coach Myles’ high school baseball coach and a former Executive Director of the Museum, as they spun yarns about the “good ole days” when Bill was a young ballplayer, Don was his coach, and the KC Monarchs were in their prime.
Directly a very elderly gentleman strolled over and corrected Bill and Don on an obscure fact or a stat they had a bit wrong. When he did this about the third time, it dawned on us, and he confirmed, that yes, he was a former Negro Leagues player.
The man joined in the yarn spinning, and as he, Don, and Bill sat there and held court, strangers going into the Museum began to overhear them. I watched spellbound as folks would first bend their ear, then edge a little closer. One at first, then two, then three… soon there was a small crowd circling us and eventually a bigger group, all leaning in to hang on every word as Bill and Don and the Gentleman schooled them in Negro Leagues History.
Eventually the stories ran out, it was time for the Gentleman to head to his rendezvous, and us to tour the Museum. But for a few delightful moments, we all had been transported back in time, to the magic of Jackie and Satchel and Willard and Cool Papa Bell.
If you ever pass through Missouri, you owe it to yourself to visit the Museum. And you also should read David’s column and his tribute to the Negro Leagues. You will find it most enjoyable at: