Buck O’Neil

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.     Philippians 2:3-4

I first became aware of Buck O’Neil when I watched the marvelous Ken Burns series on PBS about the grand game of baseball. Buck O’Neil was a Negro League player and manager, and he became the first African-American coach in Major League Baseball in the 1960’s with the Chicago Cubs.

He should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 with other Negro League greats, but instead, he gave a powerful speech about the inductees without any reference to his own snub. Buck O’Neil was able to celebrate the success of others with grace and joy.

He had his own credentials for induction, and finally received that honor this year. It is very sad to me when people do not get to experience the joy of being rightly honored in their lifetime. How might he have felt if he had been able to stand at the dais and make the acceptance speech for his own induction?

Yet, he loved the opportunity to see those whom he helped to prosper. He helped to establish the Negro League Hall of Fame in Kansas City, a shrine I intend to visit this summer.

Buck O’Neil, a victim of Jim Crow racism found a way to overcome hatred with love of others. I think he embodies Paul’s words in Philippians above. Buck O’Neil loved his God and fellow man. That is the best tribute one can have.

We love you Buck O’Neil!

Highlight, then click on this link below to see the great speech and warm embrace he gave to the crowd in 2006…

 The Greatest Thing – YouTube

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