Negro leagues

Heads up: Pittsburgh Negro Leagues legends are included in new bobblehead collection

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Bet you didn’t know there was a National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. It exists in Milwaukee and features the world’s largest assemblage of the ever-smiling, spring-headed collectibles. And in partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City and, they’re unveiling the first officially licensed Negro Leagues Field of Legends Bobbleheads.

Of course, Pittsburgh, home to the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, was one of the great centers for Black baseball before Jackie Robinson integrated the game. Legends who played in Pittsburgh include Josh Gibson — perhaps the greatest power hitter of all time — and James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell, perhaps the greatest base-stealing speedster ever. And then there was Oscar Charleston, one of the best all-around players the game has ever known.

Those players are part of the Negro Leagues Field of Legends Bobblehead collection, along with greats such as Judy Johnson and Buck Leonard, who also spent parts of their careers in Pittsburgh.

“The Field of Legends is the centerpiece of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum,” says Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “We’re thrilled to partner with the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and to give fans an opportunity to have this collectible replica of this amazing display.”

The bronze bobbleheads are available individually or as a puzzle set featuring 13 bobbleheads and the full replica of the Field of Legends exhibit at the Negro Leagues Baseball Hall of Fame, including the outfield walls and scoreboard.

Individual bobbleheads are available for $35 each. The Field of Legends puzzle set is individually numbered to only 200 and is $625. Sales will support the NLBM and its mission to preserve the history of the Negro Leagues. It shares its building with the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City in the historic 18th and Vine District, the hub of the area’s African American cultural activity during the first half of the 20th century.

Josh Gibson, known as “the Black Babe Ruth,” is buried at Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville. It’s speculated that he could have hit as many as 800 home runs, though record keeping was inconsistent at the time.

Want to learn more about toys that teach? Check out this story on using play and toys to help kids express emotions.