Today I was watching the Cardinals play the Padres on TV when the ESPN Talking Heads mentioned it was a sad day in baseball with the passing yesterday of Buck O’Neil. Nobody lives forever and at 94 Buck lived a good, long life, but may have died of a broken heart after being denied entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. O’Neil was denied twice in his baseball life, once when the color of his skin denied him the opportunity to play MLB and then again when he died before being allowed in to Cooperstown.

Buck O’Neil played briefly with the Memphis Red Sox in 1937 before playing the remainder of his career as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs, except for his two years in the Navy 1944-45. He won batting titles in 1940, batting .345, and in 1945, he batted .350. Buck was an All Star in 1942, 43, & 49. O’Neil guided the Monarchs to titles in 1948, 50, 51, & 53. In 1962 he was named a coach for the Chicago Cubs, first African-American MLB coach, as a scout he discovered Lou Brock & Joe Carter.

Buck was the Chairman of the Negro Baseball Leagues Museum in Kansas City, MO. O’Neil was instrumental in telling the story of the Negro Baseball Leagues to fans of today. NickyV & Teddy Ballgame were fortunate enough to take it all in on our recent baseball trip to Kansas City, we spent over five hours at the Negro Baseball Leagues Museum and encourage all of you to check it out. Below is a letter I just wrote to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I would encourage you to do the same. Thank you Mr. Buck O’Neil for a life well lived!

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326

Dear Sir/Madam:

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Buck O’Neil. Not that he shouldn’t pass at the age of 94, he lived a good life. I am saddened that he was denied twice, once in not being allowed to play MLB and again in not being allowed into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I believe he, in part, died of a broken heart. Buck deserved enty, he earned it, not only for his play on the field, but for the way he promoted the game he loved and also for the way he preserved the Negro Leagues with his museum in Kansas City. I truly hope the National Baseball Hall of Fame recognizes its oversite and inducts this great man ASAP.

One is gone, but two remain. Two players who remain on the outside, but deserve to be let in are Minnie Minoso and Ron Santo. Both have the statistics and are great spokesmen for the game, but each has another factor working on his behalf. Minnie was the first negro ballplayer for the Chicago White Sox and was kept out of MLB because of the color of his skin. Santo played defense & batted better than any thirdbaseman of his era, despite having diabetes. Please let justice be served by inducting these two deserving men before they pass.

No tags for this post.


  1. Teddy,
    Playoffs be damned. I logged in tonight to post a bit about O’Neil after hearing about his passing.

    You did much better than I ever could have.


Discussion Area - Leave a Comment