KANSAS CITY — Gregory D. Baker, a former assistant to the Kansas City city manager, has been named executive director of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Baker replaces Don Motley, who is retiring after 18 years as the executive director of the museum. Motley will continue as a member of the organization's board of directors. Baker will oversee the operations and organizational and strategic planning for the museum and will report to its board of directors.
Baker's hiring Friday also caused at least two board members to resign in protest. Baker was chosen over Bob Kendrick, the museum's longtime marketing director.
But Pellom McDaniels III, president-elect of the NLBM Board of Directors, applauded Baker's selection.
"Greg Baker brings an outstanding combination of business and technical acumen," McDaniels said. "He is well-equipped to further enhance the museum's position as a premier destination for baseball fans, historians, and scholars from across the country and around the world."
Baker is a native of Kansas City and for the last seven years has been the assistant to the Kansas City city manager.
"I'm honored and excited at the opportunity to oversee the next phase of growth for the museum," Baker said.
One of the board members who quit, Mamie Hughes, said her biggest concern with Baker was her belief that he won't finish a $15 million research center project at the museum.
"That's the way it sounds," Hughes said. "And obviously there's some support there because he got voted. It just seems like this is dying on the vine."
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum opened in 1997 and is a privately funded, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history of African-American baseball. The museum contains a collection of baseball photographs and artifacts dating from the late 1800s through the 1960s.
The museum was designated by Congress in 2006 as "America's National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum."