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BLC GENERAL MANAGER



Baseball in Living Color – The seed was sown more than twenty years ago. As one of the three working partners and a small group of investors, we opened the doors of Trading Faces in 1996. This start-up company specialized in the design, print and use of trading cards – “The Power of Trading Card Marketing.” We primarily provided these services to the youth of local sports programs, and along the way did specialty cards to promote businessmen, policemen, athletes, and musicians. In the summer of 1998, a visitor by the name of Pedro Sierra came by our office interested in seeing what we could do for him. At that time, he was managing a youth center for the county recreation department and wanted to share his Negro Leagues Baseball experience with the kids that frequented his center. We designed and printed several cards for Pedro and the word traveled fast. His old teammates and friends saw these cards and were having us create the same for them. By the years end, we were working with 8 to 10 Negro Leagues veterans, half of whom resided in Birmingham, Alabama. On May 19, 1999, Pedro and I drove to Birmingham to attend the 4th Annual Rickwood Classic game at Rickwood Field, America’s Oldest Ballpark to take part in honoring his friends playing days with the Birmingham Black Barons. This event turned out to be so much more than I could have ever imagined it to be. The relationships that were established that day proved to be the impetus for our Legends of the Negro Leagues program. The ensuing journey covered thousands of miles and brought fifty-nine Negro Leagues Baseball Legends to the programs roster. From there, the Baseball in Living Color tribute was borne.

My admiration, respect and appreciation for the men that opened the door to Major League Baseball, grew with every participant that joined our roster. Much of the information and commentary offered throughout this presentation was derived from personal interviews that we conducted with our NLB Legends and their families. I am so grateful for their friendship, their trust and willingness to share their precious memories, personal experiences and testimony. On behalf of Baseball in Living Color and its supporting cast, I thank you all! We are dedicated to preserving your precious legacy.

Creating and maintaining this tribute would not have been possible without the support and direction of many wonderful people. Our supporting cast really stepped up to the plate! Mr. John Holway author of "The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History," graciously allowed us to use his book as a reference throughout our presentation. He also appeared in our documentary film, “Striking Out Jim Crow.” Mr. Jed Clauss of Amereon House, publisher of "The Negro Baseball Leagues - A Photographic History" granted us permission to use the contents of his book as part of our NLB reference page. This book is really special - super informative; a great read supported by an incredible display of photographs. Gary Cangemi of Cangemi Art Studio, created caricatures that appear on all of our NLB Legends trading cards and Clubhouse page. Without the support of our friends at Lighting Maintenance, getting our Signature Series Trading Cards to and through the printing process would not have been possible.

I want to acknowledge Chris and Sandy Schulz, John Burgess, Debbie Lawson, and the rest of our Trading Faces family, Jayme, Brandon, Kelly and Cara and thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Without your support, love and sacrifice Baseball in Living Color would not exist as it does today.

In closing, I want to thank all who choose to invest in our Baseball in Living Color, Legends of the Negro Leagues Baseball memorabilia. Your participation brings us one step closer to accomplishing the mission that has driven this effort. I hope you enjoy your collection as much as we did creating it.

Jim Burgess, GM
Baseball in Living Color


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