View Full Version : John "Buck" O'Neil dead at 94

10-07-2006, 12:21 AM
I hate to bring this up at a time like this, but whomever was involved in preventing this guy from going into the HoF this year should be absolutely, 100% totally, ashamed of themselves.

10-07-2006, 12:59 AM

10-07-2006, 03:09 AM
Talk about getting 94 full years out of your time on this planet. Buck O'Neil lived enough for a dozen people.

I hate to bring this up at a time like this, but whomever was involved in preventing this guy from going into the HoF this year should be absolutely, 100% totally, ashamed of themselves.

Amen to that.

10-07-2006, 03:48 AM



from www.wikipedia.org
John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil (November 13, 1911 - October 6, 2006), born in Carrabelle, Florida, was a first baseman and manager in Negro league baseball, most notably in the Negro American League with the Kansas City Monarchs. After his playing days, he also became a coach and scout in Major League Baseball.

Playing Career
Buck O'Neil during a baseball game.Born in rural Florida, O'Neil was initially denied the opportunity to attend high school by racial segregation; at the time, Florida had only four high schools specifically for African Americans. However, after working a summer in a celery field with his father, O'Neil left home to live with relatives and attend a black high school elsewhere in the state. He left Florida in 1934 for several years of semi-professional "barnstorming" experiences (playing interracial exhibition games), where one of his teammates was the legendary Satchel Paige. The effort paid off, and in 1937, O'Neil signed with the Memphis Red Sox for their first year of play in the newly-formed Negro American League. His contract was sold to the Monarchs the following year.

O'Neil had a career batting average of .288, including four .300-plus seasons at the plate. In 1946 the first baseman led the league in hitting with a .353 average and followed that in 1947 with a career-best .358 mark. He also posted averages of .345 in 1940 and .330 in 1949. He played in four East-West All-Star games and two Negro League World Series.

A World War II tour in the U.S. Navy from 1943 – 1945 briefly interrupted his playing career.

In 1948 he took over as player/manager of the Monarchs and guided them to two league titles in 1953 and 1955.

Off The Field
O'Neil left the Monarchs following the 1955 season, and in 1956 became a scout for the Chicago Cubs. He was named the first black coach by the Cubs in 1962 and is credited for signing Hall of Fame player Lou Brock to his first contract. O'Neil is sometimes incorrectly credited with also having signed Hall of Famer Ernie Banks to his first contract. Banks was originally scouted and signed to the Monarchs by Cool Papa Bell, then manager of the Monarchs' barnstorming B team in 1949. Banks played for the Monarchs briefly in 1950 and again in 1953 when O'Neil was his manager, and was signed to play for the Cubs more than two years before O'Neil was hired as a scout.

After many years with the Cubs, O'Neil became a Kansas City Royals scout in 1988, and he was named "Midwest Scout of the Year" in 1998.

O'Neil gained national prominence with his compelling narration of the Negro Leagues as part of Ken Burns' PBS documentary on baseball. Since then he has been the subject of countless national interviews, including appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and the Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder.

In 1990, O'Neil led the effort to establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City, MO, and still serves as its honorary Board Chairman.

On May 13, 2006, he received an honorary doctorate in education from Missouri Western State University where he also gave the commencement speech.

On August 05, 2006, O'Neil was admitted to a Kansas City, MO hospital after complaining that he didn't feel well. O'Neil was admitted for fatigue and was released on August 08, 2006 -- only to be re-admitted in late September, 2006. On September 28, 2006, Kansas City media reported that O'Neil's condition had worsened. On Friday, October 6th, O'Neill died at the age of 94.

He passed away on October 6, 2006.

Hall of Fame?
O'Neil was a member of the 18-member Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee from 1981 to 2000 and played an important role in the induction of eight Negro League players during that time. O'Neil was nominated to a special Hall ballot for Negro League players, managers, and executives in 2006, but he failed to receive the necessary 75% to gain admission.

After hearing that he had not been elected to the Hall at age 94, O'Neil spoke to about 200 well-wishers who had gathered to celebrate, but instead stood hushed and solemn, telling the crowd:

God's been good to me. They didn't think Buck was good enough to be in the Hall of Fame. That's the way they thought about it and that's the way it is, so we're going to live with that. Now, if I'm a Hall of Famer for you, that's all right with me. Just keep loving old Buck. Don't weep for Buck. No, man, be happy, be thankful.


10-07-2006, 07:15 AM
Rest in peace Buck! You were an inspiration to all.

Who can say they got a one day contract to play the game of baseball at the ripe ol age of 94?

Prayers go out to his family anf friends..

10-07-2006, 07:53 AM
(reposted from a threat I created in another website, if that is all right. Just my thoughts)

During a remarkably embarassing period of history, major league baseball refused to let players participate in the game because of the color of thier skin - finally giving in to reason in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the infamous color barrier.
In the years previous, black players were forced to play in their own league, the Negro Leagues. One of the better of these players was a man named Buck O'Neil.
And for many years after that, O'Neil promoted the memory of the Negro Leagues. instead of trying to hide from them, he helped others embrace those memories. He helped us remember those greats many were never able to see play - Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Rube Walker. Cool Papa Bell, Ray Dandridge. Even as those players passed on, he kept their memories alive.
O'Neil vaulted to fame in the early 1990s with the release of the great Ken Burns' Baseball documentary - reintruducing people to the memory, wit, intelligence and charm of this man. We had rediscovered a man who truly loved the game, and he helped us share that love not only through his eyes, but helped some of us discover that love for ourselves.
This great man died last night, and the game suddenly seems a little bit emptier to me this morning.
However, the first time I hear the umpire yell "Play ball" this afternoon, perhaps things will seem a little bit brighter - after all, he was not a man who dwelled on the tragedies of the game, but the joys. And those who watched him felt this same joy.

10-07-2006, 08:09 AM
The absolute best thing about the Ken Burns series was the fact that it brought this wonderful man national attention.

He was a giant.

10-07-2006, 08:45 AM
It really is a travesty that some folks kept this man out of the Hall of Fame. He will probably, now, be voted in at some point. It's too bad that he was robbed of knowing and feeling that joy. Rest in peace, Buck O'Neil. You are a Hall of Famer.

10-07-2006, 09:39 AM
RIP Buck O'Neil. Maybe now he will get into the Hall of Fame. It is a shame he was denied the enshrinement ceremony while he was still alive.