Big leaguers are taking a big step to ensure that the legacy of the Negro Leagues endures.

The Major League Baseball Players Trust, the players' charity, is awarding a $250,000 grant to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to aid construction of a Baseball Academy to teach baseball skills to inner-city youth at the museum's planned Buck O'Neil Education and Research Center.

"It is a privilege to honor the legacy of Buck O'Neil and other Negro Leaguers with a grant to provide opportunities for kids to learn important life lessons by playing baseball," said Tony Clark, a first baseman with the Arizona Diamondbacks and a trustee of the Major League Baseball Players Trust.

"This grant will help ensure that future generations remember the heroic accomplishments of players like Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Double Duty Ratcliffe, and, of course, Buck O'Neil."

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, LaTroy Hawkins of the Colorado Rockies and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled to make a formal presentation of the grant during the museum's annual Legacy Awards program on Saturday night in Kansas City.

"We know how much the players care about the game, and how dedicated they are to providing opportunities for children to play baseball in a safe and fun environment," said Bob Kendrick, the museum's director of marketing.

"This grant will go a long way in helping the museum fulfill that desire and help realize Buck O'Neil's dream of creating a Baseball Academy to teach kids important life lessons through baseball."