Though it may have been too long in coming, Buck O’Neil finally got his call to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
— National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ (@baseballhall) December 5, 2021
O’ Neil joined five other all-time greats who earned their place on the game’s all-time team. The other posthumous inductees joining Buck — a great ambassador of the Negro Leagues — are Minnie Miñoso and Bud Fowler, a Black player who had a trailblazing career in the 19th century.
This class also includes MLB greats Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, and the great Tony Oliva in the 2022 Hall of Fame Class that will be inducted during ceremonies scheduled for July 24 in Cooperstown, New York.
Arguably the face of the Negro Leagues, having been featured prominently in Ken Burns documentary “Baseball”, O’Neil was among a group of six players who were a part of the class that includes two other players who were groomed in the Negro Leagues while they were racially locked out by the game’s color barrier.
John “Buck” O’Neil, played for the Memphis Red Sox and Kansas City Monarchs as a first baseman and manager in the Negro League from 1937 to 1948. In 1962.
He became the first Black coach and scout for the MLB’s Chicago Cubs for only one year.
Buck O’Neil was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on December 5 2021O’Neil had a brilliant playing career in the Negro Leagues from 1937 to 1955.
He played for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League in 1937 and also for the Kansas City Monarchs, who went on to win four consecutive Negro American League pennants while on that roster.
However, O’Neil made his greatest impact off the field in the decades that followed. His coaching career began as a player-manager for the Monarchs from 1948 to 1955. The Chicago Cubs ultimately hired him as a scout before promoting him to the full time coaching staff.
Well-deserved and long overdue.
Congratulations to the late Buck O'Neil on his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame! pic.twitter.com/QGhl0m5Kn3
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) December 5, 2021
Miñoso, who died at 89 in 2015, played three years in the Negro Leagues before joining the Cleveland [Guardians] organization prior to the 1949 season. In 1951 he reached the Major Leagues and became a full-time player with the White Sox, and made an immediate impact.
Minoso was second in the 1951 rookie of the year voting and was a seven American League All-Star with the White Sox and won three Gold Gloves as an outfielder.
He is noted historically for becoming the first Afro-Latino to play in the Major Leagues in 1948 when he was signed by the Cleveland franchise.
Minnie Miñoso. Buck O'Neil. Bud Fowler.
Congratulations on being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame! pic.twitter.com/cChV8rRbSZ
— Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (@NLBMuseumKC) December 6, 2021
MLB regards Fowler as a journeyman who played for several teams during his career, which took place before most modern stats were recorded.
Fowler began making his mark on the sport in the minor leagues 75 years before Jackie Robinson changed the complexion of baseball in 1947. He is also acknowledged as the first Black professional player in 1878 before there were any organized Negro League teams.