KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The late and great Kansas City leader has finally been selected for a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Buck O’Neil has spent nearly eight decades playing baseball in a variety of roles: player, manager, coach, scout and executive.
Many consider O’Neil to be the man who transformed the game of baseball.
O’Neil started with semi-professional football before spending time with various minor league clubs. He joined the Black American League with the Memphis Red Sox in 1937, then played his first base for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1938. He would stay with the club for nearly two decades.
From 1939-42, the Monarchs won four straight American Black League pennants, wiping out the Country Championships in the Black League World Championship in 1942.
O’Neil gave up baseball in 1943 when he was drafted into the Navy. The year he returned, 1946, Kansas City made it to the World Series again, this time losing to the Newark Eagles in seven games.
In 1948, O’Neil was appointed player-manager of the Monarchs – a role he would hold until 1955.
O’Neil discovered and developed a number of future talents, including HOFer Ernie Banks and Elston Howard, who would become the first black players for the New York Yankees.
O’Neil left Kansas City in 1955 and signed on as a scout for the Chicago Cubs. There, he continued to demonstrate his ability to identify talent, signing future grand slam Oscar Gamble and future Hall of Famer Lou Brock.
The Cubs promoted O’Neil to their major league coaching staff in 1962, making him the first Black coach to serve on the AL or NL roster.
He returned to scouting in 1964 and later signed with future Hall of Famer Lee Smith before the Royals sent him back to Kansas City as a scout in 1988.
Upon returning to Kansas City, O’Neil was determined to create a permanent museum to honor the legacy of the Black League.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was established in 1990, with O’Neil serving as president.
Before O’Neil’s death in 2006, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.
That year, when 17 Black League legends were inducted into the Hall of Fame, O’Neil traveled to Cooperstown to attend the Induction Ceremony and speak on their behalf.
He was also honored with the Buck O’ Neil Hall of Fame lifetime achievement award in 2008.
The introduction ceremony of 2022 will take place at 12:30pm CT Sunday, July 24, on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center.
The launch ceremony will be televised exclusively on the MLB Network.
https://fox4kc.com/sports/buck-oneil-has-been-selected-for-the-hall-of-fame/ Buck O’Neil Has Been Inducted into the Hall of Fame