Thank you to the 750+ Kickstarter Backers who helped make this project a reality. Because of you, we are able to use bobbleheads to honor and celebrate the Negro Leagues and so many of its players while educating current and future generations about the triumphs and struggles of the Negro Leaguers.
If you missed out on the Kickstarter, don't worry! You can purchase the bobbleheads at the link above while they last. Kickstarter backers received special pricing and exclusive benefits for their early support of this project, but you can secure the individually numbered bobbleheads now.
How many former Negro League Players can you name? The answer is likely not very many unless you're a baseball historian...but we want to change that! Our goal is to create a series featuring 32 former Negro Leagues players, half of whom have never had a bobblehead. And we want these bobbleheads to educate and inspire generations to come.
In 2020, the Negro Leagues will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary, and bobbleheads are the perfect way to celebrate, commemorate and educate! We are planning to release an average of two bobbleheads per month from December 2018 through February 2020. Unlike today's sports stars, the majority of these players were never honored with a bobblehead.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and Dreams Fulfilled have teamed up to create a series of high quality, officially licensed, limited edition bobbleheads. Each bobblehead in the series will be individually numbered to only 2,020.
Each bobblehead is being made with extreme attention to detail from the design through production. We are consulting with experts and historians to ensure the likenesses, colors, logos and all other elements are accurate representations.
Each bobblehead will come in a custom-designed collector’s box that includes the player's biography. The bobbleheads will serve as a motivation for people to explore deeper into the history of the Negro Leagues and its players.
The goal of the series is to honor and celebrate the league and its players, the majority of whom were never honored with a bobblehead. We think bobbleheads are the perfect way to ensure that the legacy of the Negro Leagues and its players and their vital contribution to baseball and society are remembered forever.
Kickstarter Backers can secure the best pricing by supporting the project before production of the series begins.
If the Kickstarter Campaign is successful, the production process for the remaining bobbleheads in the series will begin and the bobbleheads will be available in the National Bobblehead HOF and Museum’s Online and Retail Stores, Dreams Fulfilled’s website, www.negroleagueshistory.com, the Negro League Baseball Museum Store and other outlets throughout the country.
Below is the full lineup of 30 players, a manager and a team owner selected for the Negro Leagues Centennial Team Bobblehead Series.
If this Kickstarter is successful, the Negro League Centennial Team (1920 – 2020) will be comprised of 30 of the greatest African-American and Cuban players from 1895-1947 plus a manager and a team owner. Each individual will be depicted on a baseball-shaped base with replica of Kansas City’s Paseo YMCA, the site where the Negro National League was organized on February 13, 1920.
Satchel Paige is the first player selected to the Centennial team and his bobblehead has been completed. Paige will be joined by ten additional pitchers, three catchers, five outside infielders (1B, 3B), three inside infielders (2B, SS), seven outfielders, one utility player, a manager and an owner. The selected players were voted on through an on-line poll and supplemented by a selection of five additional, deserving players.
Check out this interactive Google Map to see where the teams and players that will be included in the Centennial Series are located, and click on player and team names below to see a biography about each player from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
- Bill Foster - Cuban Base Ball Club - Havana, Cuba
- Biz Mackey - Philadelphia Giants - Philadelphia, PA
- Buck Leonard - Homestead Grays - Homestead, PA
- Buck O'Neil - Kansas City Monarchs - Kansas City, MO
- Bullet Joe Rogan - Kansas City Monarchs - Kansas City, MO
- Cannonball Dick Redding - New York Lincoln Giants - New York, NY
- Cool Papa Bell - St. Louis Stars - St. Louis, MO
- Cristobal Torriente - Los Elefantes de Marianao - Marianao, Havana, Cuba
- Hilton Smith - Kansas City Monarchs - Kansas City, MO
- J.L. Wilkinson - Kansas City Monarchs - Kansas City, MO
- John Donaldson - All Nations - Kansas City, MO
- José Méndez - Almendares - Havana, Cuba
- Josh Gibson - Pittsburgh Crawfords - Pittsburgh, PA
- Jud Wilson - Philadelphia Stars - Philadelphia, PA
- Judy Johnson - Hilldale Club - Hilldale, PA
- Larry Doby - Newark Eagles - Newark, NJ
- Leon Day - Los Tiburones de Aguadilla - Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
- Martin Dihigo - Las Aguilas de Santiago - Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
- Monte Irvin - Newark Eagles - Newark, NJ
- Mule Suttles - Newark Eagles - Newark, NJ
- Oscar Charleston - Harrisburg Giants - Harrisburg, PA
- Pete Hill - Leland Giants - Chicago, IL
- Pop Lloyd - Brooklyn Royal Giants - Brooklyn, NY
- Rap Dixon - Hilldale Giants - Los Angeles, CA
- Ray Brown - Homestead Grays - Homestead, PA
- Ray Dandridge - Los Azules de Veracruz - Veracruz, Mexico
- Roy Campanella - Baltimore Elite Giants - Baltimore, MD
- Rube Foster - Chicago American Giants - Chicago, IL
- Satchel Paige - Kansas City Monarchs - Kansas City, MO
- Smokey Joe Williams - New York Lincoln Giants - New York, NY
- Turkey Stearnes - Detroit Stars - Detroit, MI
- Willie Wells - St. Louis Stars - St. Louis, MO
Check out this interactive Google Map to see where the teams and players that will be included in the Centennial Series are located.
We were blown away by the support from people across the world who wanted to see the Negro Leagues Centennial Bobblehead Series produced! All of the backers made this project a reality and validated our belief that this bobblehead series is important to honor and celebrate the Negro League legends and keep their legacy alive.
Although we were thrilled to reach our initial goal within 24 hours, we couldn't stop there! The full cost of producing 500 of each legend featured in the Centennial Series is over $100,000, and a production run of at least 500 enables us to offer the bobbleheads at a reasonable retail price so more people can afford them.
The organizers agreed to take on this risk if the Kickstarter reached the $10,000 goal, but going over the goal helped alleviate this burden, enabled us to produce additional bobbleheads featuring other teams and players, and allowed us to promote the series more broadly. Because of this, we added several stretch goals throughout the course of the campaign.
Stretch Goal #1 - $40,000 - Since we hit the $40,000 mark, we committed to producing a bobblehead of Effa Manley. This will be the first bobblehead of Manley, who is the only female member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Any backers were able to select Effa as one of their bobbleheads or increase their pledge to receive the bobblehead. This bobblehead will be numbered to only 1,000, and Kickstarter Backers have the first chance to get one and receive a significant discount! Here's a look at the initial rendering:
Stretch Goal #2 - $60,000 - Since we hit the $60,000 mark, we committed to producing the first Milwaukee Bears bobblehead and also provide a commemorative ticket to the Negro Leagues Centennial Exhibition to all backers! The bobblehead will be a limited edition variation of the Pete Hill Negro Leagues Centennial bobblehead. Hill, who is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, was a player-manager for the Milwaukee Bears during the team's only year in the League. This bobblehead will be numbered to only 500, and Kickstarter Backers have the first chance to get one and receive a significant discount!
We chose the Milwaukee Bears bobblehead as the next stretch goal for a few reasons:
- Going over the goal will enable us to feature more teams (like the Milwaukee Bears), players and others (like Effa Manley - Stretch Goal #1) who were instrumental in the Negro Leagues.
- Like many of the Negro League teams, the Milwaukee Bears struggled to survive, as this article about the team details. In recent years, the Milwaukee Brewers have honored the Bears by wearing throwback Bears jerseys, and we hope this bobblehead will spark more interest in the Bears and other lesser-known teams.
- The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Milwaukee, and when we realized that no Milwaukee Bears bobblehead had ever been made, we wanted to change that!
We'll also be providing a commemorative ticket only available to our Kickstarter Backers which gives backers a $2 admission discount to the Negro Leagues Centennial Exhibition that is being held at the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, Missouri from February 1st through May 31st, 2020. The ticket design is below and we'll be including the commemorative tickets with the bobbleheads when they ship. The number of tickets will increase based on the amount you pledge: Up to $35 will receive 1 ticket, $35-$100 will receive 2 tickets, and over $100 will receive 4 tickets
Stretch Goal #3 - $70,000 - Since we hit the $70,000 stretch goal, we committed to producing the Ciudad de Trujillo bobblehead series and we will be displaying a plaque during the Negro Leagues Centennial Exhibit at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum that recognizes all Kickstarter Backers:
1. Ciudad de Trujillo has been called "the best baseball team you've never heard of" and has an amazing story, which you can read about below and at the link. Since we hit the $70,000 stretch goal, the Ciudad de Trujillo bobbleheads became available at the following levels: $30: Your choice of Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson or Satchel Paige as a member of the Dragones team. $50: Your choice of any two players (Bell, Gibson, Paige) as members of the Dragones team. $60: All three players. The Dragones used three different uniforms in 1937. Each player will be depicted in a different uniform allowing you to display all three players and uniforms for a $60 contribution. The bobbleheads will have interlocking bases so they can be displayed individually or as a set.
2. In addition to receiving recognition at NegroLeaguesHistory.com and at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, we will have a special display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum during the 2020 Art and Artifacts Centennial Exhibition from February 1 - May 31, 2020 that features all Kickstarter Backers' names!
Stretch Goal #4 - $75,000 - Since we hit the $75,000 stretch goal:
1. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum committed to hosting a Negro Leagues Centennial Special Exhibit at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum from July through December of 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues. In addition, all backers will receive at least one ticket to the special exhibit, and the number of tickets will increase based on the amount you pledge: Up to $35 received 1 ticket, $35-$100 received 2 tickets, and over $100 received 4 tickets.
2. We offered a Satchel, Josh and Cool Papa set of 30 postcards. Each postcard is 5” x 7” and features the artwork of Graig Kreindler depicting Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson or Cool Papa Bell in a different uniform from their Negro Leagues or winter league play. On the back will be a different story concerning their career and/or civil rights issues they encountered. There will be 14 Paige postcards, 9 Gibson postcards and 5 Bell postcards plus a Title Card and a checklist card.
During the campaign, the Kickstarter was featured by several national and local press outlets including ESPN, the Kansas City Star, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Seattle's King 5 News, Kansas City's KSHB 41 and The Philadelphia Tribune. The project was also chosen by Kickstarter as a "Project We Love"!
The Negro Leagues Centennial Bobblehead Series is being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in collaboration with Dreams Fulfilled, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the families of the players.
Negro Leagues: The first successful Negro League was founded by Rube Foster on February 13, 1920 at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City. Foster believed an organized league structured like major league baseball would lead to eventual integration of the sport and racial reconciliation. Foster did not live to see his dream come true. Others picked up his cause and in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line.
National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum: The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum was announced in November 2014. The HOF and Museum hosted a Preview Exhibit in 2016, and is currently planning for a permanent location, which is expected to open this winter. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for organizations, individuals and teams across the country. Visit us at www.BobbleheadHall.com, www.facebook.com/BobbleheadHall or www.twitter.com/BobbleheadHall.
Dreams Fulfilled: Dreams Fulfilled was organized to promote the Negro National League Centennial in 2020. Its founder, Jay Caldwell, has been selected by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as the primary exhibitor for an art and artifact exhibition at the museum between February 1 and May 31, 2020. Dreams Fulfilled will be exhibiting 300 original pieces of art honoring Negro League players and nearly 100 artifacts of African American baseball dating back to 1871. Visit us at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com or www.facebook.com/NegroLeaguesHistory.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America. The NLBM operates one block from the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster founded the Negro National League in 1920. In 2006, the NLBM was designated as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” by the United States Congress.
Graig Kreindler: The bobbleheads are being based off the amazing artwork of Graig Kreindler, whose art will also appear on the sides of the boxes. Graig Kreindler, born in 1980, grew up in Rockland County, New York. In 2002, he graduated with Honors from the School of Visual Arts in New York City with a BFA in Illustration and received his Masters in Art Education from Lehman College. His award-winning sports work has appeared in juried shows and museums nationwide, as well as having been featured in nationally distributed books, newspapers, magazines, and both Internet and television featurettes. To Graig, no other sport embodies the relationship between generations and the sense of community like baseball. His goal is to portray the national pastime in an era when players were accessibly human, and the atmosphere of a cozy ballpark was just as important as what happened on the field. He is proud to act as a visual historian: recreating a history that he has never experienced, yet, like millions of fans, maintain a profound connection with.
Thank you to all of the Kickstarter Backers and sponsors who made this project possible:
Even though the Kickstarter has concluded, our work is just getting started! If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities or know of an individual or organization that may be interested, please send us a message.
Risks and challenges
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has produced hundreds of thousands of bobbleheads for retail sales as well as for teams, organizations, individuals across the world.
This is our largest undertaking to date, but it is also one of the most important, as the Negro Leagues players and their stories need to be told to all future generations. We have the capacity to handle the project and are excited for the opportunity to honor the Negro Leagues players with bobbleheads.
Jay Caldwell from Dreams Fulfilled, has already secured licensing approval from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and approval from the known estates of all former players to be featured in the series.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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