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MLBPA, MLB Announce Expansion of Support Programs to Living Negro League Players

 Leif Skodnick  |    May 29th, 2024 4:35pm EDT

Alexander Austin’s mural of Negro League baseball players ‘The Kansas City Monarchs’ in Kansas City, Missouri on August 12, 2017. MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Sixty-four years after the last vestiges of the Negro Leagues, more of the surviving players from those leagues will receive financial assistance from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The MLBPA, along with MLB, announced on May 22 that players who played fewer than four seasons in the Negro Leagues would be eligible to receive financial benefits for their time as players.

“Although long overdue, it is gratifying that these former players who meant so much to our game will finally receive a retirement benefit to help them through their senior years,” said MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark in a press release announcing the program.  “This is another example of players using their collective voice to bring about progress.”

The MLBPA noted that additional financial benefits are available to Negro Leagues players from the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.), an independent nonprofit designed to help members of the Baseball Family who are in need of emergency financial, medical, and other assistance.
After Major League Baseball was integrated in 1947, the Negro Leagues declined as the best Black players moved to Major League Baseball. The Negro National League folded a year later, and the Negro American League folded in 1958. The last remaining Negro League team, the Indianapolis Clowns, continued as a barnstorming team until 1989.
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Leif Skodnick