John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil
Buck O' neil is truly a person with
many bright and lustrous facets. During the course his illustrious
career O'Neil rose to the top of his profession whether he was
called on to be a player, coach, scout, historian or an ambassador
and spokesman representing Negro baseball. The people who have
had the privilege of knowing Buck O'Neil testify to his truly
"Buck" O'neil at Coors Field in Denver Co.
Buck O'neil was born November 13,
1911 in Carrabelle, Florida. O'Neil was born into a fully segregated
south at a time when Americans of African decent did not have
equal opportunity and freedom of movement among their white contemporaries.
From this humble beginning O'Neil has forged a career that has
seen him become a pioneer in breaking down racial barriers in
professional athletics as well as in politics and in Corporate
Sometimes it is hard for young
people to understand that the very adversities that one experiences
are the same opportunities given to an individual to build character
and substance, however if there is an example and witness to encourage
someone to believe that this can be true it is the personality
and character of Buck O'Neil.
Along with his charismatic personality
Buck O'Neil has been an overcomer and achiever despite the circumstances
in which he found himself, always setting an excellent example
by maintaining a positive outlook and making the best of whatever
circumstances and problems have faced him.
It is hard to imagine what a persons
life time might bring to them but history tells us that when good
men are thrown into adversity and tested the cream rises to the
top and Buck O'neil is definitely the proverbial cream of the
crop of those who played in the Negro Leagues of American Baseball.
Buck's career as player saw him playing with the best of the Negro
League teams including the 1938 Kansas City Monarchs. He became
the Monarchs player/manager in 1948 and remained with the team
Good friends Christine Johnson, "Buck" O'Neil,
Jay Sanford, and Byron Johnson in Denver Co.
In 1956 Buck became a scout for
the Major Leagues Chicago Cubs and was on the cutting edge of
assisting talented black players to get a foothold in the Major
Leagues. Buck was the first African American to Coach a Major
league baseball team by becoming a coach for the Chicago Cubs
in 1962 and he was personally responsible for bringing the talents
of, Ernie Banks and Lou Brock into Major League Baseball.
"Buck" O'Neil Addresses an audience in Denver Co.
Ken Burns the American cinematographer and historian
ask Buck O'Neil to assist him with the history of the Negro Leagues
for his PBS documentary on American baseball and Buck's performance
and commentaries on Negro League Baseball became one of the best
segments of the program.
Ken Burns at Coors Field in Denver during its construction
Buck O"Neil is currently doing
guest appearances as a speaker and is the Chairman of the Board
at the Negro League Museum
at 1616 East 18th Street Kansas City, MO. Buck has also served
on the Baseball Hall Of Fame Veterans Committee.
Hitter's Hands of the great Negro League Player John Jordan "Buck"
See recent article on exhibit "Shades of Greatness"