The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

Buck O’Neil Must be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

Posted by David Leslie on July 29, 2006

It’s Hall of Fame weekend and while Bruce Sutter will be up on the dias, the Man I most want to see in the Hall will step up as a living representative of his 17 fellow Negro Leaguers who will be honored for their roll in that league with induction into the Hall.

Sadly, that Man, Buck O’Neil will not be on that list of 17. At 94 years old, Mr. O’Neil has been for my generation, a life link to that league. A reminder of a time when the best players in the world had been split into two leagues because of nothing more than the color of their skin.

This is not to say that Mr.O’Neil doesn’t have the numbers to enter the Hall, the man had an All Star career in the league. Yet he has been the Man who keeps the league in our minds and hearts. A man who helped get his fellow players their own museum, who worked to have major league baseball extent its benefits to these men to take care of them in their golden years.

It is an embarassment to the selection committee that Mr.O’Neil was left out of the Hall. But Mr. O’Neil isn’t bitter. He is there to talk about the game and the people whom he loved who played it with him.

As much as I love baseball I have never been to the Hall. I will say this publicly here and now that I will not go to the Hall while Mr. O’Neil is alive unless he is inducted in it. Further more when he is inducted, I will travel to Cooperstown with my family to be there in person when he gives his induction speach. My only prayer is that Mr. O’Neil is with us and in good health when that honor he deserves in rewarded to him.


6 Responses to “Buck O’Neil Must be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame”

  1. Man it is the biggest shame that Buck will not get in as a living player. A sad end to a sad tale. Once again MLB has dropped the ball.

  2. If anyone is to blame, it is the veterans committee of the HoF. I mean for all Buck has done and to keep him out by one vote is shameful. Especially in light of some of the front office people they had in that class.

    But credit to Buck that he accepted the honor to represent that class this year. If the writers had half a soul, they would vote Buck in on the full ballot this year.

    Just wish I could make it out to KC for the his celebration of his life.

  3. keith pryor said

    i do not express myself well by writing. For the last eight years i have been attending the baseball hall of fame celebration weekend. After meeting buck that first year. I found that every year since then when i entered town i needed to find him to say hello and shake his hand. I will miss listening to him tell stories to anyone who wanted to listen. i cant speak for anyone but myself, but say that buck oneil belonged in the Baseball hall of fame, one day he will get in, but the fact that he will not be there to see that day, is unforivable. for all that he has done. I wanted to say thank you buck we all love you

  4. Keith, you did a great job expressing yourself. I’m envious that you got to meet Buck in person. Outside my cube I have a column by Steve Rusin of Sports Illustrated talking about the pleasure of just listing to the man talk about life. Not baseball but just life.

    I have a 3 year old son. I would be honored if he grew up to be half the man and human being that Buck is. The impact he left of the lives of baseball fans everywhere will be Buck’s Hall of Fame.

    If I could just hear him tell the story of ‘Nancy’ one more time…

  5. David, tell the story as it was told to you. I’ve never heard it.

  6. Only Mr. O’Neil can tell that story. NPR has the audio online of an interview with Buck when he told the story of how Satchel Page gave him the nickname ‘Nancy’

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