Buck O'Neil 1911-2006

There are passings in the world of sports that transcend the boundaries of each individual discipline. Friday's death of John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil, a star in and an ambassador for baseball's Negro leagues, is one of those.

Not only did Mr. O'Neil, 94, play for and later manage the legendary Kansas City Monarchs, coaching such stars as Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Ernie Banks, but he also was the first black scout (1956) and coach (1962) in Major League Baseball, joining the staff of the Chicago Cubs.

Documentarian Ken Burns' PBS series "Baseball" introduced Mr. O'Neil to a wider world of sports. From there, he continued to champion the Negro leagues, helping to create a museum dedicated to the era. Ultimately, this past summer he presided over the induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame of 17 people associated with the league. Sadly, Mr. O'Neil was not one of those inductees.

Perhaps now, that he's gone, baseball will do the right thing. With that, his legacy will live on.


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