“I’m Bob Kendrick,” he said. “I’m the president of the museum.”
Five years ago, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a privately funded nonprofit organization, was on the verge of a collapse. Its finances were in disarray, and many of its longtime donors and board members were dissatisfied. Some corporate sponsors said they felt alienated, and the stream of visitors had slowed to a trickle. Even supporters wondered whether the museum would survive, and the recession did not help.
Many museum officials and supporters said they felt the museum had lost its way after the 2006 death of Buck O’Neil, a first baseman and manager in the Negro leagues, mostly with the Kansas City Monarchs. O’Neil had become the face of the museum as its most ardent promoter. Kendrick, a close friend of O’Neil’s and the museum’s marketing director for 12 years, left in 2010, a year after being passed over for president.
But Kendrick has returned, and attendance has increased, to almost 60,000 visitors last year. Relationships with community leaders have been repaired. And the museum, the only major one of its kind in the United States, had a $300,000 profit in 2012, its most successful year since 2007.
Posted: August 24, 2013 at 03:42 PM | 40 comment(s)
negro league baseball museum