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Press Release — July 20, 2000


(COOPERSTOWN, NY) — The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum today announced that is has been granted $250,000 from Major League Baseball in order to initiate a comprehensive study on the history of African-Americans in Baseball, from 1860-1960. The funds will allow the Museum to expand the scope and depth of its historical collection on Baseball and American culture.

"We are indebted to Major League Baseball for its support of this extremely important initiative," said Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey. "The documentary record of the African-American contribution to our National Pastime is incomplete and this endeavor will go a long way toward filling those gaps. This is an extremely important research project, allowing us to further our mission as an educational institution. The Baseball Hall of Fame has always maintained a wonderful relationship with Major League Baseball."

This is the first time in the Museum's 61-year history that an academic research study has been sponsored. A request for proposals will be disseminated throughout the academic and research community. Researchers, to be led by a Ph.D.-level individual, will submit bids to an advisory committee, which will select the final team to conduct the study. This project is expected to be a multi-year effort with final due dates to be determined by the advisory committee. The committee consists of former Major Leaguer and National League President Bill White, longtime journalist and editor Sam Lacy, Hall of Fame Chairman Ed Stack, Major League Baseball President Paul Beeston, and former executive John McHale. McHale, Beeston and Stack are Hall of Fame Board members.

Once completed, the project will provide a comprehensive, objective and properly documented historical narrative on the history of African-American baseball between the years 1860 and 1960; a compilation of reliable and documented statistical data on the various leagues, teams and players; a compilation of biographical essays on members of the African-American community who participated in or contributed to this baseball experience; a comprehensive bibliography of resources, and a comprehensive resource guide to these sources; the identification of artifacts which may be available for exhibition or display by the museum; and the creation of an oral history collection in support of this study.

In conjunction with the award, the Hall of Fame also announced that everyone attending a Major League game on July 23rd, or for those teams not home on July 23rd, their next home game, may present their ticket stubs in Cooperstown in 2000 to gain free admission to the Museum.

"The Hall of Fame Library has the most complete Baseball archive in the world, with more than 2.5 million documents," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Allen H. (Bud) Selig. "Just like all great research facilities, the quest for greater knowledge is ongoing. The Hall of Fame's collections on the history of African Americans in Baseball is unsurpassed, but there is a lot about this subject that is not known — information that needs to be professionally researched and documented. What's learned over the next few years will greatly expand our knowledge about African-American Baseball history."

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