Negro leaguer Buck O'Neil dies at age 94
By Laura Ziegler, NPR
Kansas City, MO – Buck O'Neil, a famed baseball player and manager for the legendary Negro League team the Kansas City Monarchs, died Friday at 94.
He was the first African American coach in Major League Baseball, working for the Chicago Cubs in the 1960s.
O'Neil recently was nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame, falling one vote short of induction.
Laura Ziegler prepared this report, which aired on NPRs All Things Considered on Saturday. To hear the story, click here.
MORE ON O'NEIL
O'Neil last played in a game in July, of this year. He batted in a minor league All-Star game and drew two walks.
O'Neil rocketed into national stardom in 1994 when filmmaker Ken Burns featured him in his PBS documentary "Baseball." O'Neil twice won a Negro Leagues batting title, then became a pennant-winning manager of the Kansas City Monarchs.
As a scout for the Chicago Cubs, he discovered and signed Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Ernie Banks. In 1962, the Cubs made him the first black coach in the major leagues.
Jackie Robinson was the first black with an opportunity to make plays in the big leagues. But as bench coach, O'Neil was the first to make decisions.
Born in 1911 in Florida, John "Buck" O'Neil began a lifetime in baseball hanging around the spring training complex of the great New York Yankee teams of the '20s. Some of the players befriended the youngster and allowed him inside.
In February 2006, it was widely thought that a special 12-person committee commissioned to render final judgments on Negro Leagues and pre-Negro league figures would make him a shoo-in for the Baseball Hall of Fame. But when word came from Florida that day that 16 men and one woman had been voted in, he was not among them. For reasons never fully explained, he fell one vote short of the required three-fourths.