Kemp headlines NLBM gala on Saturday night

Kemp headlines NLBM gala on Saturday night

Kemp headlines NLBM gala on Saturday night
KANSAS CITY -- After a one-year hiatus, it's show time again for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's Legacy Awards, with Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp taking center stage.

Kemp is a double winner, taking the Oscar Charleston Award as the National League's Most Valuable Player and the Josh Gibson Award for leading the NL with 39 homers, one more than Prince Fielder and two more than Albert Pujols. Kemp is the only active player scheduled to attend Saturday night's ceremonies at 8 p.m. CT at the Gem Theater.

"He is getting two awards, so if we could have somebody, it is probably the brightest young star in the game today," NLBM president Bob Kendrick said. "So it's exciting that he has agreed to be here for this. He barely missed the Triple Crown last year."

Kemp will be joined by Hall of Famer Lou Brock, who'll receive the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award for career excellence in the face of adversity. Brock was signed by museum co-founder Buck O'Neil for the Chicago Cubs, but he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and amassed 938 stolen bases, breaking Ty Cobb's record, and recorded 3,023 hits.

Also to be on stage are Ron Washington, who directed the Texas Rangers to a second straight World Series, for the C.I. Taylor Award as American League Manager of the Year, and Doug Melvin, general manager of the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers, for his second Rube Foster Award as NL Executive of the Year.

The Legacy Awards event was skipped last year during Kendrick's 13-month absence from the museum.

"The thing that has always excited me about the prospect and potential of this event is No. 1, what it does for the museum in building a stronger relationship with Major League Baseball and its teams, and hopefully, its players. We're still working on that player aspect," Kendrick said. "And it's exciting to have Kansas City be the focal point of a winter baseball event as we're closing out the 2011 season and looking at 2012."

Convincing current Major Leaguers to attend and receive their awards has been the biggest challenge in the 12-year history of the event.

"We'll go back to the drawing board to see how we can reach out to more of these players, or we may look at revamping how we present this event to see if we can't have greater player participation," Kendrick said. "But it didn't help to not have the event, for sure, so in some ways, we are starting over again."

Others attending will be winners of the Buck O'Neil Award for outstanding support of the museum, Ollie Gates, owner of Gates Bar-B-Q, and Bill Dunn, chairman of the J.E. Dunn Construction Co., and the winner of the Sam Lacy Award as baseball writer of the year, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer visited the NLBM on Jan. 11 to receive the Larry Doby Award as AL Rookie of the Year.

"He's a great kid and I enjoyed walking around the museum with him," Kendrick said. "Like most kids his age, he's getting an award named for somebody he had no idea who it was. So it was fascinating for him to just get a taste for these guys and how good they were under those kind of circumstances and conditions."

Saturday's schedule includes a 6 p.m. CT dinner at the NLBM, with the awards and entertainment across the street at the Gem two hours later. Tickets are $150 for dinner and show or $75 for the show only and can be obtained at nlbm.com or at the museum in the 18th and Vine District. Proceeds benefit the museum.

The show's host will be comedian Arnez J., with music from R&B recording artists Chris Walker and Brownstone.

The NLBM is hoping to gain more national recognition and visitors during the All-Star Game festivities this year in Kansas City.

"We're definitely looking forward to seeing how the museum can be involved as much as possible over those seven days," Kendrick said.

Here's a complete list of the 2011 Legacy Award winners.

Oscar Charleston Award for most valuable players: Curtis Granderson (Yankees) and Kemp.

Bullet Rogan Award for pitchers of the year: Justin Verlander (Tigers) and Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers).

Josh Gibson Award for home run leaders: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) and Kemp.

Cool Papa Bell Award for stolen base leaders: Brett Gardner (Yankees), Coco Crisp (A's) and Michael Bourn (Braves).

Buck Leonard Award for batting champions: Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) and Jose Reyes (Mets).

Rube Foster Award for executives of the year: Dave Dombrowski (Tigers) and Melvin.

C.I. Taylor Award for managers of the year: Washington and Kirk Gibson (Diamondbacks).

Larry Doby Award for rookies of the year: Hosmer and Craig Kimbrel (Braves).

Hilton Smith Award for relievers of the year: Jose Valverde (Tigers), Kimbrel and John Axford (Brewers).

Pop Lloyd Award for baseball and community leadership: Michael Young, Rangers.

Sam Lacy Award for baseball writer of the year: Neal.

Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award for career excellence in the face of adversity: Brock.

Buck O'Neil Award for outstanding support of the NLBM: Gates and Dunn.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.