Presentation Explores Legacy Of African American Baseball Team

Blue Rapids, Kan. – The Blue Rapids Historical Society will host “The Kansas City Monarchs in Our Hometown,” a presentation and discussion by Phil S. Dixon on July 25, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Blue Rapids Museum, #36, Public Square. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. Contact Lori Parker at 785-363-7228 for more information. The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.

Blue Rapids and Marshall County should have lots of questions for Mr. Dixon since the Monarchs played on the field made famous by the World Tour of the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox in 1913. The Monarchs played during the Marshall Co. Fair in 1939 against the county’s best team, the Bremen Town Team. The Monarchs won 7-6 under “extenuating circumstances”. Tom Blodgett, a prominent Blue Rapids sports star pitched for Bremen, Duane Carlson gathered autographs from all the Monarch players and Dick Crome was 3rd baseman for Bremen.

Formed in 1920, the Kansas City Monarchs revolutionized baseball: not only were they charter members of the Negro National League and the first professional team to use outdoor lighting, the Monarchs also sent more players to the major leagues than any other Negro League franchise. This presentation will explore the early barnstorming days of the Monarchs and highlight great players such as Wilbur “Bullet” Rogan, Satchel Paige, and Jackie Robinson.

Phil S. Dixon, a co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, is the author of nine books about baseball, including biographies about Wilber “Bullet” Rogan and John “Buck” O’Neil. In the course of his research, he has interviewed over 500 former Negro League players and family members.

“The Kansas City Monarchs in Our Hometown” is part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s Humanities Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions that connect communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life. The event is partially supported by generous gifts from the Johnson County Community College Foundation and the Rotary Club of Shawnee Mission to honor the memory of Fred Krebs, a lifelong advocate of the humanities in Kansas.

The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities.  For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785-357-0359 or visit online at www.kansashumanities.org.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communication. After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations. In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 70 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing.