Adam Jones is a vital voice in Major League Baseball, and both his words and actions should be recognized by fans as well as other players in the game. That’s why it’s not just important to note that he made a $20,000 donation to the Negro League Museum while the Orioles were visiting Kansas City for a series against the Royals, but also to know why Jones made that gesture.
Jones knows how important that museum is: He said that along with other baseball museums are “unbelievable educational tools.” The Negro League Museum, especially, as it’s not just a window into the lives of black baseball players but also into the civil rights movement and its activists. As Jones would say in his interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan:
It was bigger than the game. I’m not trying to be bigger than the game. I just want to make sure everybody has a fair chance. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear this, but African-American history is American history.
Jones’ manager, Buck Showalter, apparently makes a point of having team field trips to the museum when the O’s are in town for a series against the Royals, and, according to Passan, even makes it mandatory for some of the younger players.
For a sport so obsessed with history, baseball players and fans tend to focus on the wrong parts of it. Hopefully, thanks to Jones, a few people will see a refocusing there and actually learn something about the struggle of black baseball players, both then and now.