Another great night in K.C.

By Sam Mellinger
Updated: January 31, 2010

KANSAS CITY — Around 800 people turned out Saturday for the 10th Negro Leagues Museum Legacy Awards, the most yet even without a star-studded list of in-person honorees.

Eight winners showed up at the Downtown Convention Center to accept their awards including:

— Joe Morgan (Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement).

— Jack Zduriencik (Rube Foster AL executive).

— Carlos Peña (Josh Gibson AL home run leader).

— Elvis Andrus (Larry Doby AL rookie).

— Brian Fuentes (Hilton Smith AL reliever).

— Mike Cameron (Pop Lloyd baseball and community leadership).

— Michael Bourn (Cool Papa Bell NL stolen base leader).

— Claire Smith (Sam Lacy baseball writer).

Wendy Lewis, MLB senior vice president for diversity and strategic alliances, accepted the Buck O’Neil award for outstanding support of the museum on behalf of commissioner Bud Selig.

Zack Greinke (Bullet Rogan AL pitcher) accepted his award at the museum recently and his taped personal message was played at the awards.

Among the no-shows were Oscar Charleston MVPs Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols, and NL pitcher of the year Chris Carpenter.

Here are sound bites from some of the winners who came to Kansas City:

Bourn: “A lot of what they did we don’t recognize.

Being able to walk through this museum, it brings back a perspective of what they had to go through, the things they had to endure.”

Fuentes: “Hopefully I’ll come back again (to the museum) when we come through KC and bring some of the other guys with me.”

Zduriencik: “I had the opportunity to talk with Buck O’Neil many times. I asked him once, ‘Who’s the greatest hitter you ever saw?’ He said, ‘Josh Gibson.’ I asked why. He said, ‘He never broke a bat.’ “

Cameron: “Coming here does nothing but open a special place in your heart. Jackie Robinson opened up doors, he set the first building blocks down for it.

We’re just going to try to continue to build them.”

Smith: “I became a baseball fan because of Jackie Robinson. This place is very special to me.”