The longest-running team in the storied history of Negro Leagues has been revived in the form of a team in the independent American Association. The Kansas City T-Bones, who have played in Kansas City, Kansas, since 1993, made the surprise announcement today that in partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, the team would rebrand as the Monarchs.
“It’s in good hands, and was done with heart and good intentions,” tweeted Kiona Sinks, who is responsible for all things community engagement and digital strategy at the museum. “All of this is bigger than baseball. Generations now will be educated on the rich history of our city and community.”
“It was not easy to turn over the Monarchs name … of course not, that’s our baby,” said the museum’s president Bob Kendrick at an unveiling event. “For any museum, and particularly history museums and cultural institutions like ours, it is all about, how do you make history relevant? And that’s exactly what we’re doing. When those young players put on Monarch pinstripes, the legacy of Satchel Paige, Buck O’Neil, Hilton Smith, they play on, and that spirit lives on.”
While the new iteration of the baseball team and the museum are across the state line from one another, they are both part of the larger Kansas City community.
“This exciting partnership celebrates Kansas City’s rich baseball heritage and becomes an important extension of the work we’re doing to educate the public about the history of the Negro Leagues,” Kendrick said. “We are thrilled that the proud legacy of the great Kansas City Monarchs will take the field again and look forward to sharing our story through a myriad of opportunities made possible through this historic alliance.”
The original Kansas City Monarchs, charter members of the Negro National League and the first baseball team in any league to use portable lighting, were founded in 1920 and disbanded in 1965 after the integration of Major League Baseball caused the demise of the Negro Leagues.