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Buck O'Neil, 1911-2006
2006-10-07 08:10
by Bob Timmermann

The ambassador of the Negro Leagues, Buck O'Neil passed away tonight at age 94 at a Kansas City hospital.

Alex Belth of Bronx Banter had an interview with O'Neil.

Kansas City Star obituary.

The linked obituary tells you a lot about the rich life of one John Jordan O'Neil.

From his New York Times obituary.

For O'Neil, baseball represented a lifelong joy. "Nowadays, whenever us Negro leaguers put on the old uniforms for autograph-signings and such, you can just see the years peel away," he wrote in his memoirs. "I've seen men lose 50 years in just a few hours. Baseball is better than sex. It is better than music, although I do believe jazz comes in a close second. It does fill you up."

May he rest in peace.

2006-10-06 20:46:19
1.   ToyCannon
Crap, maybe my favorite player of all time and I never even heard of him until he was past 60. Can't think of anyone else I would have loved to have sat with and just talked baseball.
2006-10-06 21:10:06
2.   Ken Arneson
Thank goodness Ken Burns captured so many of his great stories before it was too late.

Question: should I be spooked that this happened on the very day that the A's finally managed to avoid the "Curse of the Buck"?

Rest in peace, Mr. O'Neil.

2006-10-06 21:27:59
3.   Greg Brock
Rest in peace, indeed. The Negro Leagues could not have had a better ambassador. Hopefully, Cooperstown finds a way to rectify a terrible mistake.

God Bless, Buck.

2006-10-06 21:31:34
4.   popup
What a truly lovely man. I just purchased Fay Vincent's book, The Only Game in Town, and it arrived in the mail yesterday. I very much wanted to read the Buck O'Neil interview and I did so last night. He will be missed but he left so much of himself to Ken Burns and others that the example of his life will be available to future generations. RIP Buck and thank you.

Stan from Tacoma

2006-10-06 21:31:38
5.   joejoejoe
Alex Belth inteviewed Buck O'Neil in 2003.

And here is the Kansas City Star obit with more background and photos.

2006-10-06 21:36:54
6.   Bob Timmermann
Thanks for the links, I incorporated them into the post.
2006-10-06 21:38:21
7.   trainwreck
I wish he got the vote for the hall of fame. I know it meant a lot to him. He has been the best ambassador baseball has had for awhile. Buck is the definition of class. Thanks for all you did Buck. RIP
2006-10-06 21:49:41
8.   Sushirabbit
Aw man, Buck was really cool. I hope all the women are wearing red dresses...
2006-10-06 21:51:28
9.   Ravenscar
We should all give thanks that the man got 94 years to spread joy - the world being a better place for his presence. We were lucky.

requiescat in pace

2006-10-06 23:07:20
10.   bhsportsguy
Here is another link to an interview Buck O'Neil did in conjunction with the "Baseball" documentary.

Unfortunately, it does not have the story about the time Paige pitched against Josh Gibson but if you ever get a chance to see it on the documentary, you will really enjoy it.

I too give my best to his family and friends, baseball lost a great ambassador to the game.

2006-10-07 00:01:40
11.   Voxter
Super perfundo, Buck. You are missed already.
2006-10-07 06:59:42
12.   Ravenscar
Bob -

Can you give this a more permanent place on the sidebar, so it isn't cast off to the unseen right away, maybe?

2006-10-07 08:15:25
13.   Bob Timmermann
I probably won't post anything more until late night. It should be back on the sidebar now.
2006-10-07 12:32:05
14.   DXMachina
So sad. I truly admired him.
2006-10-07 15:46:11
15.   Eric Enders
I had the opportunity to meet Buck a few times and he was one of those people who was as nice off camera as on it. Probably nicer. One of the great experiences of my life was going to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis with him one time. It's in the Lorraine Motel, the building where MLK got shot and also where the Monarchs used to stay when they visited Memphis. He reminisced about the fun times and then got real quiet as we looked at the balcony where King got shot. Just seeing the look in his eyes... there was so much life, so much wisdom, in that face.

And now, I can't talk to you all anymore. I'm 94 and I've got to go to the bathroom! (That was the line he ended all his speeches with.)

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