KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has always appreciated the history of baseball, and now he’s putting substantial money to show that.
On May 13, Jones will make a $20,000 contribution to the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, and he’ll also fund a program to provide free admission for children from the area who are part of Operation Breakthrough.
Jones said he’s been to the Museum 10 or 15 times in his major league career.
“It’s about the game of baseball, about the Negro Leagues side of it, their point of view," Jones said. "The things that they didn’t have as much as everybody else, the things that they didn’t care about as much as everybody else, just the sheer game of baseball. You walk through those doors, such a love for baseball that it’s contagious."
Jones, who grew up as a baseball-loving child in San Diego, has contributed substantial funds to refurbish Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as supported RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) to allow children the chance to play the game.
“It’s all about the knowledge. It’s all about giving knowledge, give kids opportunities. It’s all about what they want to do with the opportunity," Jones said. "As long as they have an opportunity presented to them, you let them make the decision.
“If you don’t even have the opportunity, there’s nothing to talk about. I’m a person who just likes to give kids, give humans, give people an opportunity to learn. When I walk through those walls, I learn. It would be selfish of me not to help other people learn.”
Jones has worked with the museum’s curator, Bob Kendrick, on his contribution.
“As a kid, obviously, you hear about Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby and countless others. When I got older and got myself into the big leagues, I was able to go see it for myself, and Mr. Kendrick has been one of the best curators for that museum and it’s unbelievable about what I’m able to help out with,” Jones said. “I think it’s good for baseball and its good for the next generation of kids who are going to be able to be like me, bright-eyes and bushy-tailed and try to learn something.”
Nearly all of the players who were in the Negro Leagues are gone, however, Jones has met Geraldine Day, the widow Hall of Famer Leon Day. Day played for the Newark Eagles and Baltimore Elite Giants, and through Day's wife, Jones has learned stories of the Negro Leagues.
“Miss Day is awesome. She’s battling her own things now,” Jones said. “I have an unbelievable fondness and appreciation for everything they’ve gone through, not just between the lines, but the things that they had to endure away from the field for me to be where I’m at is something I don’t take for granted.”
CASTILLO UPDATE: Since the Double-A Bowie Baysox were rained out May 12, catcher Welington Castillo, who is rehabbing his right shoulder tendinitis, will be the designated hitter in both games of a doubleheader May 13. He’s scheduled to catch May 14.
DAVIS NOT STARTING: For the second time this season, first baseman Chris Davis is not starting. Davis is 1-for-10 against Kansas City Royals starter Danny Duffy, a left-hander, and manager Buck Showalter wanted to get Craig Gentry a start in the outfield. Trey Mancini is starting at first base.