Bob Kendrick was named President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in March of 2011. The NLBM is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America.
Kendrick’s appointment marked a celebrated return to the NLBM after a 13-month departure. He became the museum’s first Director of Marketing in 1998 and was named Vice President of Marketing in 2009 before accepting the post as Executive Director of the National Sports Center for the Disabled-Kansas City in 2010.
Prior to his departure, Kendrick’s leadership helped secure more than $15 million in financial support for the NLBM and widespread national acclaim. Kendrick is now responsible for the museum’s day-to- day operations and for the development and implementation of strategies to advance the mission and financial stability of the 501 c3, not-for- profit organization. Since rejoining the NLBM in 2011, he has orchestrated a more than $2 million turnaround that has helped the NLBM regain its vitality and financial stability.
Kendrick began his association with the NLBM as a volunteer during his 10-year newspaper career with The Kansas City Star. As senior copywriter for The Star’s Promotions Department, he won, or was part of a creative team that won, numerous local and regional advertising and marketing awards. He developed the advertising concept and campaign that helped attract more 10,000 people (in less than 30 days) to see the debut of the Museum’s first traveling exhibit in the summer of 1993. The success of that promotion led to an appointment to the museum’s Board of Directors in the fall of ‘93.
In his nearly five years on the Museum’s board, Kendrick served as Secretary/Treasurer and chaired the Membership and Event Planning committees. He was co-chairman of the Museum’s grand-opening gala celebration that attracted more than 1,700 people to Bartle Hall in November of 1997. The event raised more than $300,000 in support of the NLBM. Kendrick has been responsible for the creation of several signature museum educational programs and events including the Legacy Awards, a national baseball awards ceremony that annually recognizes the best Major League baseball players, managers and executives with awards in the name and spirit of Negro League legends such as Buck O’Neil, “Cool Papa” Bell, Bullet Rogan and Josh Gibson. And, most recently, the museum’s new Hall of Game that honors former Major League greats who played the game in the spirit and signature style of the Negro Leagues. And while he doesn’t fashion himself to be a historian, Kendrick has become one of the leading authorities on the topic of Negro Leagues Baseball history and its connection to issues relating to sports, race and diversity. He has been a contributing writer for “Ebony Magazine” and the national Urban League’s “Opportunity Magazine.” In 2006, the Greater Kansas City Black Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Mary Lona Diversity Award and he was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Omicron Xi Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. In 2009, The Kansas City Globe named Kendrick to the paper’s list of “100 Most Influential African-Americans in Greater Kansas City.” In January of 2014, Kendrick was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
A native of Crawfordville, Ga., Kendrick received a basketball scholarship to attend Park College (Parkville, Mo.) in 1980 and earned a B.A. degree in Communications Arts in 1985. Since 1993, he has been a co-host of the renowned Sunday morning radio call-in show, “Religion on the Line,” on KCMO-Talk Radio 710AM, and he is a regular contributor to the “Voices of Faith” column in The Kansas City Star. He has spoken as a keynoter and guest preacher across the United States in a wide array of ecumenical and interfaith venues.
He is the author and/or editor of ten books, the most recent of which are All You Need Is More Love (published this month by Woodneath Press) and Life’s Too Short for Anything But Love (also published by Woodneath Press in 2015). He is married to Priscilla Reckling, and they live in the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri.