Saturday, October 07, 2006

Buck O'Neill dies


Buck O'Neill passed away today at the age of 94. He was probably best known for his lengthy interviews and commentary on Ken Burns' Baseball documentary. Seeing as this was one of the best documentaries ever produced, Buck O'Neill was and became a living reminder of segregation and Negro Leagues baseball in the 1930's and 40's.

His achievements included being named to the East-West All-Star Classic in 1942, 1943 and 1949. Buck also had the honor of managing the West squad in 1950, 1953, 1954 and 1955. The West was victorious in all four contests. Buck's career also included playing for the 1946 Satchel Paige AllStars, who toured the nation against Bob Feller's All-Stars in a 14 game series.
O'Neil succeeded Frank Duncan, in 1948, as manager of the Kansas City Monarchs. He continued to manage the Monarchs until 1955. This ex-Navy man guided the Monarchs to league titles in 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1953. In 1956, O'Neil was hired by the Chicago Cubs as a scout. Perhaps his greatest achievement came in 1962, when he became the first African-American coach in the Major Leagues with the Cubs. As a scout he discovered superstars like Lou Brock and Joe Carter.
After 33 years as a Cubbie, he returned home, in 1988, to scout for the Kansas City Royals. Today, Buck O'Neil chairs the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Board of the Directors, and serves on the Veterans' Committee of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Although a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, he would certainly feel at home in Cooperstown, New York.
RIP+ Buck

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