FORMER PRESIDENTS OBAMA, CLINTON, BUSH AND CARTER TIP THEIR CAPS TO HONOR NEGRO LEAGUES
Barack Obama tipped his cap. So did three other former U.S. presidents and a host of prominent civil rights leaders, entertainers and sports greats in a virtual salute to the 100-year anniversary of the founding of baseball’s Negro Leagues.
The campaign launched Monday with photos and videos from, among others, Hank Aaron, Rachel Robinson, Derek Jeter, Colin Powell, Michael Jordan, Obama and fellow former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter at tippingyourcap.com.
On the receiving end of those tributes are many of the Negro Leagues’ greatest alumni: Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, “Cool Papa” Bell and Jackie Robinson, who began with the Kansas City Monarchs and went on to break the color barrier in the major leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Not long after, with many of its best players gradually following Robinson’s path, the Negro Leagues ceased operations.
Singer Tony Bennett, showing his heart, tips a San Francisco Giants cap. Californian Billie Jean King opts for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Clinton said he chose a Chicago Cubs cap in honor of Ernie Banks, the late Hall of Famer who got his start in the Negro Leagues.
But, Clinton added: “This cap is for Hillary, too, when finally, the Cubs won the championship. Long before that, the Negro Leagues made baseball better and America better.”
The campaign, which is being directed by Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick, moved online when centennial events planned to take place in major league stadiums this summer were canceled due to COVID-19.
“On the centenary of the Negro Leagues, I just want to tip my hat with great respect to all the men who were denied entry into Major League Baseball and prevented from sharing their God-given gifts, hard work, and love of the game with all of America” Colbert said. “Wherever you are gentlemen, play ball!”
Obama wrote that the players’ “brave example, first set 100 years ago, changed America’s pastime for the better — opening it up for new generations of players and fans alike.”