What makes this instance complicated is not just the specter of race but also the fact that M.L.B. doesn’t have any institutional continuity with the Negro leagues. It would be different if the National League had merged with the Negro Southern League or if the American League had annexed the Kansas City Monarchs franchise. But that’s not what happened; instead, the various clubs simply folded, and the players moved on. So when Major League Baseball celebrates the Negro leagues, it’s celebrating a past that technically doesn’t belong to it and that exists only because of its past prejudice. Does that make the celebration unethical? Considering the league’s espoused motives, I would say no. But it is a little strange. Your discomfort is not without merit.
Enlightening read on a topic I am shamefully undereducated on but have always felt uneasy about. There is a giant gap between trendy and respect. I fear many purchases are made for the former.
This short Q&A is worth the read. And if anyone has any good reads on the Negro leagues (man, that is a tough term to say/write/use), I’m all ears.