With Major League Baseball back in effect, now is the perfect time to not only enjoy America’s favorite pastime—besides institutional racism—but to brush up on its history. And to aid you in such an endeavor, I present the podcast Black Diamonds.
Backed by SiriusXM and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Black Diamonds, hosted by museum president and historian Bob Kendrick, will explore the history of the Negro Leagues and the players, people, and events that brought it to life. It will also highlight its achievements and the multitude of innovations it introduced during a time of segregation and far more pronounced racial inequality.
“For 30 years, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has given voice to a powerful and compelling story that had escaped the pages of American history books,” Kendrick said in a statement to The Root. “Our collaboration with SiriusXM to produce the new Black Diamonds podcast not only amplifies that voice but provides an incredible platform that will bring the inspirational story of the Negro Leagues to life. As host of the show, I’m excited to take listeners on a nostalgic journey as we celebrate baseball’s unsung heroes who overcame tremendous social adversity to play ball.”
The importance of the Negro Leagues has been understated throughout the course of history, but thankfully, Black Diamonds is armed with the knowledge and dedication to correct course.
“You cannot tell the full history of baseball without sharing the story of the Negro Leagues,” Steve Cohen, SiriusXM’s SVP of Sports Programming, said in a statement to The Root. “We are honored to be teaming up with Bob and the Negro Leagues Museum to bring their extensive knowledge and perspective on what is a really remarkable and important part of history to our listeners.”
The first two episodes of Black Diamonds lock in on the legendary Jackie Robinson, universally revered as the first Black player in the modern era to play on a Major League roster. Prior to joining the Brooklyn Dodgers—as a minor league player in 1946 before making the jump to the big leagues in 1947—Robinson was a member of the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. During these episodes, Kendrick and guests share Robinson’s story both on and off the field and explain why Robinson was the right player to shatter baseball’s color barrier.
As the 20-episode season goes on, we’ll also learn about other Negro League legends like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Oscar Charleston, as well as other important contributors like Buck O’Neil, Rube Foster, and Effa Manley.
Black Diamonds is available on your podcast platform of choice.