News

2016 NLBM Hall of Game Inductees Announced

April 26, 2016

Former Major League All-Stars Headline This Year’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum “Hall of Game” Class

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (April 26, 2016) – The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) revealed a stellar group of baseball legends who will form its 2016 Class of Hall of Game inductees. The announcement was made during a Hall of Game luncheon held at the NLBM today.


This year’s class includes 1967 National League (NL) MVP Orlando “Cha Cha” Cepeda; eight-time All-Star Andre “The Hawk” Dawson; 1964 American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Tony Oliva; and three-time World Series Champion Tim “Rock” Raines. The four Major League Baseball (MLB) greats will be inducted into the NLBM Hall of Game during ceremonies at the Gem Theater on Saturday, June 11, at 8 p.m. Hy-Vee, Inc. will be the presenting sponsor for the third consecutive year.


Established by the NLBM in 2014, the Hall of Game annually honors former MLB greats who competed with the same passion, determination, skill and flair exhibited by the heroes of the Negro Leagues. The 2016 inductees will join previous baseball greats from the inaugural and second class, which included legends such as Roberto Clemente, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson and Ozzie Smith. In addition to the induction ceremony, Hall of Game honorees also will receive permanent recognition as part of the future Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center being developed by the NLBM at the site of the Paseo YMCA, the birthplace of the Negro Leagues.


“We’re thrilled with the Hall of Game selections this year,” said Bob Kendrick, who has served as the NLBM President since 2011. “These four men played with spirit, passion and hustle, and they truly captivated audiences. They displayed the same heart and soul of the men who made the Negro Leagues so special.”


First-baseman Orlando Cepeda made an immediate impact on the league in 1958, earning National League Rookie of the Year honors after batting .312 with 25 home runs, 96 RBI and an NL-leading 38 doubles. Nine years later and still on top of his game, Cepeda was voted the 1967 NL MVP in a season in which his St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. During his 17-year career, Cepeda appeared in three World Series and seven All-Star games, becoming the first Puerto Rica native to start an MLB All-Star game when he took the field in 1959. The first winner of the American League’s Outstanding Designated Hitter Award in 1973, Cepeda was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.


Eight-time National League All-Star Andre Dawson mirrored Cepeda’s career by earning 1977 Rookie of the Year honors and, 10 years later, being named the NL MVP after leading the league with 49 homers and 137 RBI. Throughout his 21-year, four-team MLB career, Dawson earned eight Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards, batted .300 or higher five times, drove in 100 runs four times and slammed 20 home runs in a season 13 times. An electric baserunner for much of his career, Dawson also stole 30 bases in a season three times. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010, Dawson joins Willie Mays and Barry Bonds as the only three players to earn the combination of 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases in a career.


Three-time AL batting champion Tony Oliva spent his entire 15-year career with the Minnesota Twins from 1962 to 1976. Like Cepeda and Dawson, Oliva earned Rookie of the Year honors (AL) in his first full Major League season, putting together one of the best rookie seasons in MLB history by leading the league in batting average, hits, doubles, extra-base hits, total bases, runs and runs created. That season, he became the first player to win AL Rookie of the Year honors and win the batting title. In his career, Oliva would lead the AL in hits five times. win three AL batting titles and be selected to eight All-Star rosters. He earned one Gold Glove in 1966 before knee problems forced him into the designated hitter role. Known as a consistent positive influence in the clubhouse and on fans, Oliva was honored by the Twins with a retired number in 1991.


Known as one of the greatest leadoff hitters of all time, Tim Raines competed for six teams between 1979 and 2002, earning seven All Star selections, one Silver Slugger award and four league stolen base titles. He captivated audiences as an exciting baserunner, breaking the then-MLB rookie record for stolen bases with 71 in the strike-interrupted 1981 season. The 1986 NL batting champion, Raines was part of two World Series Champion teams as a member of the New York Yankees (1996, 1998), and one as the first-base coach of the Chicago White Sox in 2005. One of the greatest Montreal Expos of all time, Raines owns many of the team’s career records including runs, singles, triples, stolen bases and walks. His number 30 has been retired by the Expos, and in 2013, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.


“These men produced some of the most significant moments in baseball history,” Kendrick said. “Buck O’Neil once said of the Negro Leagues that fans couldn’t go to the concession stands because they were afraid they’d miss something they’d never seen before. That’s the kind of sentiment fans felt about watching guys like Orlando Cepeda, Andre Dawson, Tony Oliva and Tim Raines. They embody that same spirit, and we are delighted to welcome them into our Hall of Game.”


In addition to the Hall of Game inductions, the NLBM also will be presenting the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award for “career excellence in the face of adversity” to Tony Clark, Executive Director of the MLB Players Association (MLBPA). A 15-year MLB veteran, Clark served as a union representative while he was a player and joined the MLBPA staff in 2010 after his retirement. Prior to being named executive director, Clark served as deputy executive director to Michael Weiner and was appointed into the role upon Weiner’s death in 2013. The first former player to hold the position and first African American to lead MLB’s labor arm, Clark now works to shape the game on behalf of its current and future players.


“Tony Clark has one of the most important jobs in all of baseball,” Kendrick said of Clark, who made his MLB debut in 1995, just 13 months after the 232-day player strike that was, at the time, the longest strike in American professional sports history. “He’s seen a lot in his career as a player and now as an executive, and instead of just talking about the way things should be done, he’s doing something about it. He’s a man of decisive action and one who wants to protect the game and its players. His courage and bravery are characteristics that Jackie Robinson displayed in critical times, and we believe that he would be honored to have Tony receive this award.”

The establishment of the Hall of Game and its annual celebration event holds two purposes: 1) to provide an avenue for the NLBM to continue garnering attention for one of the greatest stories in American history, and 2) to serve as a significant fundraiser to increase the NLBM’s ability to stay relevant with technology and community programming, and to complete the Buck O’Neil Education Center. A committee of the city’s most prominent business and civic leaders has been established to create awareness of and sponsorship for this exclusive event, with Bob Page, President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Kansas Hospital, serving as chair.


“It’s an honor to serve in this role and to have the chance to team up with the NLBM,” said Page, now in his third year as committee chair. “The museum is more than just an important part of our city; it’s an important part of our country’s history. And with the inception of the Hall of Game, we have the opportunity to keep the spirit of the Negro Leagues alive and to celebrate it through the achievements of those who took center stage after baseball’s integration.”


The June 11 induction event will include a full day of activities including a press conference, VIP meet-and-greet, reception and dinner at the NLBM followed by the Hall of Game ceremonies at the Gem Theater. The event will be produced by Kansas City-based sports agency Premier Sports Management.


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CONTACT: Bob Kendrick
(816) 221-1920

THE NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL MUSEUM
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and illuminating the rich history of black baseball. The museum, built in conjunction with the adjacent American Jazz Museum at the famous 18th & Vine Jazz District, has become an iconic piece of Kansas City’s social and entertainment culture. The NLBM is a privately funded, 501c3 not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1990. The museum’s inception brought together the vision of a group of Kansas City business leaders, historians and former baseball players, headed by the legendary John “Buck” O‘Neil. For more information, visit http://www.nlbm.com, and follow the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Twitter @nlbmprez.


HY-VEE
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 240 retail stores in eight Midwestern states with sales of more than $9.3 billion annually. Hy-Vee ranks among the top 25 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the United States. Supermarket News, the authoritative voice of the food industry, has honored the company with a Whole Health Enterprise Award for its leadership in providing services and programs that promote a healthy lifestyle. Hy-Vee is a proud sponsor of several major sporting events and teams, including the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs. For more information, visit http://www.hy-vee.com


PREMIER SPORTS MANAGEMENT
Premier Sports Management is a full-service sports and entertainment marketing agency based in Kansas City. The agency partners with organizations and consumer and B2B brands to strategize, develop and implement a wide variety of marketing programs, sponsorships and events. For more information, visit http://www.premiersportsonline.com and follow Premier on Twitter @PremierKC.

Hall of Game, Class of 2016

Orlando Cepeda
• Baseball Hall of Fame, Class of 1999
• 1958 NL Rookie of the Year
• 7-time MLB All-Star
• 1967 NL MVP
• 1961 NL home run leader and 1961 and 1976 NL RBI leader
• First player from Puerto Rico to start an MLB All-Star game
• Earned 2,351 career hits, 379 home runs and 1,365 RBI

Andre Dawson
• Baseball Hall of Fame, Class of 2010
• 1977 NL Rookie of the Year
• 1987 NL MVP
• 8-time MLB All-Star
• 8-time Gold Glove winner
• 4-time Silver Slugger
• One of only three players to earn 400 career home runs and 300 stolen bases

Tony Oliva
• 1964 AL Rookie of the Year
• First player to win AL Rookie of the Year and AL batting title in the same season
• 8-time MLB All-Star
• 3-time AL batting champion (1964, 1965, 1971)
• 1966 Gold Glove winner
• 3-time AL hits leader
• No. 6 retired by the Minnesota Twins

Tim Raines
• 3-time World Series champion (two as a player, one as a coach)
• 7-time MLB All-Star
• MLB All-Star Game MVP (1987)
• 4-time NL stolen base leader
• 1986 NL batting champion
• 1986 Silver Slugger
• 2,605 career hits, 170 home runs, 980 RBI and 2,502 games played
• No. 30 retired by the Montreal Expos