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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Buck O'Neil

Not that I have anything much to add, especially after this wonderful piece by Bill James published on SABR-L, but I thought this piece by Alex Belth on the passing of Buck O'Neil was very appropriate. Having lived in Kansas City I can testify to the universal high regard with which he was held by everyone in the community. I met him on several occasions, the first time at a baseball card show in Overland Park where upon seeing my Cubs hat struck up a conversation about how he had coached for the Cubs and how he enjoyed the organization. Before we moved from Kansas City I took my daughters down to the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame one Sunday when it was reported that Buck would be on hand so they could have the pleasure and memory of meeting him as well. There was a mixup and so he wasn't there but of course we again enjoyed the museum, which is a testimony to his efforts.

Like most others I was first introduced to Buck through Ken Burns' documentary, and I think what drew people to him was the fact his love for baseball and life despite his early circumstances was so genuine and so transparent. He wasn't bitter and as a result he educated more people about the great Negro League players and the league than anyone else. It's a shame that even if his playing and managing impact wasn't deeemd worthy of inclusion in the Hall of Fame, they couldn't find a way of inducting him for his total contribution to the game.

1 comment:

Ron Hostetter said...

The Belth piece is excellent. I only met Buck twice, but I share the same regard for the man. He will be missed.