First Black MLB Coach, Buck O’Neil, Elected To National Baseball Hall of Fame


December 10, 2021

He’s one of the most accomplished baseball players of his time!

The first Black Major League Baseball coach, Buck O’Neil, was just elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Black Enterprise reports. 

John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil got his start as a baseball player in the Negro American League, playing for 10 seasons primarily with the Kansas City Monarchs. During his time with the league, he was named to three All-Star Games and built a pretty impressive reputation as a leader in the sport. After his on-field career, O’Neil became a scout for the Chicago Cubs before being named the first Black MLB coach for the team. He went on to found the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum which is located in Kansas City, Missouri. 


In 2008, the late O’Neil received a prestigious posthumous honor for his contributions, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award named in his honor from the National Baseball Hall of Fame  alongside a permanent life-size bronze statue. Recipients of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award receive a miniature replica of the statue, which is housed in the Museum founded by O’Neil. 

Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, issued a statement about the honor for O’Neil at the time, saying, “The Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is thrilled to honor Buck O’Neil as the first recipient of this award, named after him…Buck touched every facet of baseball, and his impact was among the greatest the game has ever known.” 

“The Board recognizes this impact Buck had on millions of people, as he used baseball to teach lessons of life, love, and respect. His contributions to the game go well beyond the playing field. This award will recognize future recipients who display the spirit Buck showed every day of his life,”  Clark added. 


Now, O’Neil has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 81.3% of the ballot votes by the Early Baseball Era Committee. Eligible candidates for the election need only receive 75% of the ballots and O’Neil’s name appeared on 13 of the 16 ballots cast. Other candidates for the 2022 class included baseball legends John Donaldson, Bud Fowler, Vic Harris, Grant “Home Run” Johnson, Dick “Cannonball” Redding, and George “Tubby” Scales. 

The baseball pioneer will be inducted into the Class of 2022 Hall of Fame on July 24, 2022. 

Photo Courtesy of John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil/Twitter


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