Donald Trump Rescued the Negro leagues fifth reunion after over-coming financial problems.
The annual reunion of black former baseball players from the old Negro leagues started in Ashland Wednesday and will continue through today. The event reunited a number of players who were banned from white professional baseball during the first 4 1/2 decades of the century. Previous reunions had been held during the summer, but this year’s was delayed because of financing problems.
A banquet last night was expected to feature Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Monte Irvin, Bob Feller, Buck Leonard and Judy Johnson. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and A. B. “Happy” Chandler, the former baseball commissioner and governor of Kentucky, were also expected, as were more than 40 baseball stars of yesteryear. The reunion was made possible through underwriting by the Alcoa Foundation, the Donald Trump Foundation and the Ashland Oil Foundation.
The annual reunion of former black baseball players from the old Negro leagues will be held again in Ashland, and outgoing commissioner Bowie Kuhn is expected to show up. The Nov 24 event will reunite players who were banned from white professional baseball during the first 4 1/2 decades of the century because of race. Previous reunions had been held during the summer, but this year’s was delayed because of funding problems.
Harry Wiley, an Ashland Oil Inc. executive who has worked with the event in the past, said the problems arose when the Schlitz Brewing Co. withdrew its support.
“We were discouraged when the people who funded it for the last two years weren’t able to continue,” Wiley said. “It has taken us this long to find new sponsors ” Wiley said Monday in a telephone interview that money has been contributed by the Alcoa Foundation, the Donald Trump Foundation and the Ashland Oil Foundation. He said the later date would enable modern players who are interested to attend.
Besides Kuhn, others expected to attend are former commissioner A.B-(Happy) Chandler and Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Buck Leonard, Judy Johnson and Monte Irvin, now an aide to Kuhn. Chandler, a former two-term governor of Kentucky and former United States Senator, was commissioner when Jackie Robinson broke the color line of the major leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Wiley said there will be a special honoree this year, but he doesn’t know who it will be.
The reunion will begin with a showing of the documentary film about life in the old Negro leagues “There was Always Sun Shining Someplace.” The movie was broadcast by the Public Broadcasting System last summer.