THE major leagues are committed to playing a World Series this year, but even if they weren't, baseball fans can still look forward to the three-day "Soul of Baseball" celebration in late October.
Organized by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., the event marks the 75th anniversary of the long-defunct black leagues. Many of the nearly 300 surviving Negro Leaguers, including home-run king Hank Aaron, are expected in Kansas City on Oct. 27-29.
Aaron is a logical choice as the anniversary's chairman. He is a former Negro Leaguer and a Hall of Famer, one of seven Hall of Famers, in fact, who played in both the Negro Leagues and the regular majors. The others are Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Roy Campanella, Willie Mays, Monte Irvin, and Leroy (Satchel) Paige.
Though currently a resident of Atlanta, where he's a senior vice president with the Braves, Aaron originally hails from Alabama, which is also appropriate.
More surviving Negro Leaguers call Alabama home (32) than any other state, and 22 of those are from Birmingham.