John (Buck) O’Neil spent more than 30 years with the Cubs as a scout and the first black coach in the major leagues. He was instrumental in the development of Cubs stars Ernie Banks, Lou Brock, Lee Smith and Billy Williams among dozens of African-American players. He also had close relationships with Minnie Minoso, Oscar Gamble and other White Sox personnel over the years.
Although O’Neil fell one vote short of induction before he passed away, many recognize his to be a Hall of Fame career. As a first baseman with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League, he claimed a pair of batting titles. As Monarchs’ manager, his teams captured four pennants. He also took part in four East-West All-Star Games, which were played at Comiskey Park annually from 1933-1960.
His significant contributions came at a time when race relations were at a turning point in our history and were being played out in our nation’s favorite pastime on the playing field.
2011 marks Buck O’Neil’s 100th Birthday.
During Black History Month, February 3, 2011, we would like to recognize the role the Chicago baseball played in our countries history and how individuals like Buck O’Neil bridged the racial gap that existed in the game to lead the way for the players to enjoy the game today.
STORYCategory Clear Buck Weaver Events Tags