Legacy Awards takes to bigger stage
Saturday's 10th annual event honors baseball's best
KANSAS CITY -- It's showtime for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's 10th annual Legacy Awards on Saturday night at the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.
Not only will several Major League players receive awards but the entertainment will center around Roy Firestone who, in addition to being an Emmy-award-winning broadcaster, is an energetic comedian and song-and-dance man. He kept the house jumping at last year's event.
ESPN baseball analyst Joe Morgan will be on hand to receive the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, ESPN's Claire Smith will receive the Sam Lacy Award as baseball writer of the year.
Players scheduled to appear and receive awards are Tampa Bay slugger Carlos Pena, Houston speedster Michael Bourn, Texas rookie flash Elvis Andrus, Los Angeles Angels closer Brian Fuentes, and former Milwaukee and now Boston outfielder Mike Cameron.
Kansas City's Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke, will not attend but received his Bullet Rogan Award as the American League's top pitcher last week at the Museum and his acceptance will be shown on videotape.
The Museum was still waiting for word from the National League MVP, St. Louis' Albert Pujols, to see if he'd attend.
"What really excites me this year is that we have three Spanish-speaking recipients coming to accept awards and if Pujols comes, that's four," said Bob Kendrick, NLBM vice president of marketing. "That is as much a validation for the importance of this award and the recognition it is starting to gain in the baseball community as anything."
Part of the Museum's story is how the Negro Leagues also helped pave the way to the Major Leagues for Hispanic athletes as well as African-Americans, Kendrick pointed out.
"That's why we're excited about Elvis Andrus, Carlos Pena and Brian Fuentes being here," he said.
Commissioner Bud Selig, winner of the Buck O'Neil Award for outstanding support of the NLBM, will be represented by Wendy Lewis, MLB's senior vice president of diversity and strategic alliances.
Other honorees who will be absent are Joe Mauer, Chris Carpenter, Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Scioscia, Jim Tracy, Andrew McCutchen, Heath Bell and Dan O'Dowd.
Jack Zduriencik, Seattle's general manager, will attend to receive the Rube Foster Award as the AL Executive of the Year.
Other celebrities will include Hall of Famer Lou Brock of the Cardinals and former Royals star Frank White. White, his wife Teresa and Julia Irene Kauffman of the Royals are honorary chairs of the Museum's year-long 20th anniversary celebration.
This is the first Legacy Awards at the Kansas City Convention Center.
"We've normally done it right at the Museum and the Gem Theater, but the officials planning this thought that with the 10th anniversary, there was a chance to reach more people," Kendrick said. "Gem's capacity was 500, so with the 10th anniversary an extra special occasion, we decided to move it to the Convention Center and we're targeted to be near 800."
Tickets are still available by calling the Museum at 816-221-1920. The $150 cost includes a one-year membership to the Museum. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.