The Kansas City T-Bones, an independent franchise in the American Association of Professional Baseball, are rebranding to become the Kansas City Monarchs as a nod to the Monarchs nickname's history in the Negro Leagues.
The franchise announced the move in conjunction with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Thursday:
Kansas City Monarchs Baseball @kscitymonarchs
A brand that hasn’t had a home field since 1965, but on Opening Day of 2021, will take the field for the first time in those pinstripes as the Kansas City Monarchs. Home, at the Field of Legends, formerly T-Bones Stadium. Where we belong. #ReignReborn #SeeYouAtTheBallpark https://t.co/moms6ZEfea
"Negro Leagues baseball hasn't been played in 61 years. So how do you keep it relevant?" museum president Bob Kendrick said, per the Kansas City Star's Kevin Hardy. "And what I instantly saw was an opportunity for relevancy."
In addition to referencing the Monarchs' history and connection to the city, Hardy reported the licensing deal with the T-Bones could bring a steady revenue flow to the museum.
According to the Associated Press, the museum is also aiming to set up a Monarchs-branded youth academy for baseball and softball.
The Monarchs entered the Negro National League in 1920 and competed in the Negro American League from 1937-61. Satchel Paige, Buck O'Neil, Jackie Robinson, Cool Papa Bell and Ernie Banks were among the notable players to wear the uniform.
The revival of the Monarchs comes a little over a month after MLB announced it was affording Major League status to the Negro Leagues that were in operation from 1920-48. As a result, the statistics from players in the leagues will be officially recognized by MLB.