Baltimore County officials, former Negro League Baseball players and fans enjoyed "opening day" a few days early Thursday as the county formally unveiled the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball in the Owings Mills branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.
At the ceremony, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz honored the late Hubert "Bert" Simmons, who played for the Baltimore Elite Giants in the 1950s and for whom the museum is named.
Audrey Simmons, his widow, and Ray Banks, a lifelong friend of Simmons, thanked the county for facilitating the museum in the community — five years after "Bert" Simmons' death and 73 years after he began playing baseball in the Negro Baseball Leagues.
The museum, previously operating under the name Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Maryland Inc., had been housed in various temporary locations since 1996 until the county offered to give it a permanent home in the new library.
Thursday's opening drew several former players from teams that played locally and even some from afar — among the attendees was Luther Atkins, who played second base for the Satchel Paige All-Stars from 1955-60; and Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, one of only three women to pitch in the Negro Baseball League, who played with the Indianapolis Clowns from 1953-1955.
The new $30 million facility at the Metro Center houses the library and the Owings Mills campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. The Owings Mills Library is located at 10302 Grand Central Avenue, Owings Mills. For details, call 410-887-2092 or go to bcpl.info/hours-locations/owings-mills.