07/01/07 4:52 PM ET
Royals celebrate Negro Leagues Day
Club dons throwback uniforms of the Kansas City Monarchs
By Conor Nicholl / MLB.com
Royals manager Buddy Bell wore his Monarchs jersey during the game. Bell, a long-time baseball man who grew up around the game, has been to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City before. He understands the history of baseball, understands the importance of the Negro Leagues.
"It is kind of sad and impressive at the same time, just because it has taken so long for us to come to our senses," Bell said.
Bell learned about the Negro Leagues from his father, Gus Bell, who played in the '50s and '60s against many former Negro League athletes.
Few others, though, have enjoyed Bell's experience or understanding of the game's past. Even with celebrations such as Sunday's, Bell doesn't believe players know the significance of the Negro Leagues or its rich history.
"They don't understand the history of the Negro Leagues, but also baseball in general," Bell said. "Funny story: When I was in Detroit, my first year as a manager, Al Kaline would dress up every day and hit fly balls and do stuff. He is one of the greatest players of all time, and four or five of our [players] asked who he was.
"It's not really a reflection on the players themselves, because there are so many other things growing up that there was to do," he added. "When I was growing up, you would either go swimming at the [YMCA] or play ball. There are so many more things to do now other than just baseball."
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.