COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — On Sunday in Cooperstown, the day finally came for Kansas City and Negro Leagues Baseball legend Buck O’Neil to be officially inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Buck O’Neil’s niece Dr. Angela Terry spoke on his behalf during the induction ceremony.
“If Uncle John was here with us this afternoon, his usual spirit of humility and gratefulness would be on full display.”
Buck O’Neil spent nearly eight decades in baseball in a myriad of roles: player, manager, coach, scout and executive.
Many regard O’Neil as a man who transformed the game of baseball.
Dr. Terry added an acknowledgment to Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president, Bob Kendrick. Kendrick has been one of the leading advocates for O’Neil to be honored for all that he has brought to the game of baseball.
“He would be acknowledgment by Uncle John, for his leadership in advancing the mission, the prominence and the vitality of the museum. Thank You Bob.”
Out of the seven inductees, three of them, including O’Neil, had Negro League ties.
“He was being inducted into the same class as a Black Baseball pioneer Bud Fowler and a former Negro League All-Star, Minnie Miñoso.”
Bud Fowler is the earliest known African-American player in organized professional baseball and Minnie Miñoso was a Negro Leagues and Major League All-star, the first Afro-Latino in the major leagues, the first
Black player in White Sox history and was one of the first Latin Americans to play in an MLB All-Star Game.
O’Neil played and coached in the Negro Leagues in the ’30s and ’40s until he became a scout for the Chicago Cubs in 1955. O’Neil was also the chairman of the Negro League
But, niece was proud of her Uncle — and ended the same way Uncle John ended his speech 16 years ago.
“Our Uncle John was a man for all seasons, whose core was brotherly love. The greatest thing in all my life is loving you. Thank you for loving our Uncle.”
And now, John James “Buck” O’Neil is immortalized in the Hall of Fame.