A special presentation on the historic Kansas City Monarchs baseball team and how they revolutionized baseball as a founding member of the National Black League will be an event to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Hiawatha, Kansas .
Author and historian Phil S. Dixon will speak about the Kansas City monarchs during a special presentation at 6 p.m. on Monday, January 17 at the Fisher Community Center in Hiawatha. It will spotlight great players such as Wilbur “Bullet” Rogan, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, connecting the spirit of the Monarchs to the many Kansas communities in which they have played.
The free event is co-sponsored by the Morrill Public Library, Brown County United and McPeak Optometry. Masks will be required at this event, which will also be streamed live on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/groups/BrownCountyUnited.
Dixon interviewed over 500 players and their wives and children for a unique perspective on the American and Black League baseball experience. He is best known for his seven non-fiction books, including “The Negro Baseball Leagues A Photographs History, 1867-1955”, winner of the Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year in 1992.
According to the Major League Baseball website archives, the Kansas City Monarchs were one of the most famous and successful clubs in the Black Leagues, winning 10 league pennants, in addition to several flags in the National Black Leagues and American.
The Kansas City Monarchs, formed by white businessman JL Wilkinson in 1920 from his barnstorming All Nations team, have suffered only one losing season in their entire association with the Negro Leagues. The Monarchs were the first Black League ‘world champions’ after defeating Hillday in the organization’s first World Series in 1924 and won their second world championship with a victory over the Homestead Grays in the first edition of the World Series reestablished in 1942.
The KC Monarchs have visited the Midwest, West and even parts of Canada. The Monarchs were a founding member of the newly formed Black American League in 1937 and it was after this that the team signed superstar pitcher Satchel Paige. He was recovering from an arm injury that nearly ended his career and became the Monarchs’ top player in the early 1940s.
The Major League Baseball Black League Archives contributed to this article.