Friday, March 03, 2006

Why is Buck O'neil not in the Hall of Fame?

The other morning, I logged on to the net and saw an article about there being a flap over the latest edition to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Granted each year when there are votes on those who are elligible for the hall, there is some controversy in re: the merits of the persons involved. Such as their overall contributions to the game, whether or not they were good athletes [as in batting over .200 for a lifetime or having a low error count or earned run average]. But in this case, the rhubarb over this vote hits a little close to home.

Buck O'neil
[who has been mentioned in this column before] was left out of the current class of those admitted and what makes this really strange is that the ones admitted were members and founders of the old Negro Leagues. For those of you who are not familiar with what this league was about, before the color barriers was broken by Jackie Robinson, he and many others played for teams such as: The Kansas City Monarchs, The Homestead Grays, the Pittsburgh Crawfords and many others. This was also the intial place where men like Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Hank and Tommie Aaron honed their chops. Now with the league and its players getting its due, this ommission was just a little on the insane side.

Like Ernie Banks, Buck is an ambassador of the game, like Ted Williams he was a mentor [when he managed the KC Monarchs] to those young players who could use the help and in his adopted hometown of Kansas City, he is as much a part of the fabric of the city as Willie Mays was in San Francisco or Archibald 'Moonlight' Graham was in Chisolm, Minnesota. Mostly in part because of Buck, many youngsters have a better understanding of the history of the game.

So with all this, why in heck is he not in the hall? I am lost on this one as are many others. It makes very little sense for one of the greatest the game has ever seen, let alone one of the true gentlemen in all of sports to not be part of the illustrious list of those whose exploits are enshrined in Cooperstown. He deserves to be there, no matter what.

[If you want to show your support for Buck, contact him at:

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as well as send a letter to The Baseball Hall of Fame]


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