Kansas City, MO (PRWEB) January 6, 2006
Hall-of-Famer Dave Winfield will receive the Negro Leagues' John "Buck" O'Neil Legacy Award at their 6th Annual Legacy Award Dinner, Saturday, January 7th at the Gem Theater in Kansas City.
The award, which recognizes "outstanding support of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum," is being given to Winfield, VP/Senior Advisor for the San Diego Padres for establishing the groundbreaking "Salute to the Negro Leagues" held annually in San Diego.
"Dave Winfield and the Padres sent a resounding message that the heritage of the game of baseball should be celebrated," said NLBM executive director Don Motley. "The celebrations in San Diego were the first by a Major League club that had no direct connections to the Negro Leagues -- and other teams have taken notice. The Padres have helped us raise money, consciousness, recognized living players and got the ballpark and community involved."
Winfield, a longtime supporter of the NLBM, recalls playing against former Negro League stars Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, two of the greatest to ever play the game. He also remembers one of the greatest compliments he ever received in his 23-year baseball career: "I had spoken to Satchel Paige once on the phone, but met Buck O'Neil, Cool Papa Bell and a few other Negro League legends at Cooperstown in 1987. As we spoke and traded war stories, I realized that these guys, true pioneers, had never gotten the recognition and accolades they deserved. And they were getting older. My commitment to getting them their proper place in history began back then. I hit a homerun in the exposition game, and was floored when Cool Papa told me, 'Man, you could'a played with us.'"
Winfield continued, "Buck O'Neil has been a friend and an inspiration to me for a long time so I will cherish ths award in his name."