KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three years in the making, you can now see more than 200 hand-painted portraits of Negro Leagues players and key figures at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
The exhibit called “Black Baseball in Living Color: The Art of Graig Kreindler” opens to the public Friday in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, which were started in Kansas City.
“Mainstream America missed some of the greatest baseball players to ever play this game and so this exhibit brings them to life,” said Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “There’s a great deal of pride that is kind of emanating as we unveil this to the world.”
Graig Kreindler spent three years researching the players, finding their photos, and hand painting the portraits. He said each one took five to six hours.
Kreindler said he specializes in historic baseball paintings. Jay Caldwell commissioned the photos, which he is loaning to the Negro Leagues Baseball Musem for their debut exhibit.
He also has loaned memorabilia such as Rube Foster's ledger. Foster is credited with organizing the meeting that created the Negro Leagues on Feb. 13th, 1920, at what was then the Paseo YMCA.
“It is important for not just baseball history,” Kreindler said. “It’s the fabric of our country.”
You can see the exhibit Thursday night in a special fundraiser for the museum. Tickets are available here.
The exhibit opens tomorrow for the public through the end of May.