Jordan ONeil was born November 13, 1911 in Carrabelle,
Florida and introduced to baseball at an early age by
his father, who played for local teams. He was nicknamed
Buck after the co-owner of the Miami Giants,
Buck ONeal. A segregated America denied ONeil
the chance to play Major League baseball so he showcased
his skills with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro
Leagues. Joining the Monarchs in 1938, he was named player/manager
for the club in 1948. From 1948 through 1955, he managed
some of the finest Kansas City Monarch clubs, leading
them to five pennants and two Black World Series titles.
a player, ONeil had a career batting average of
.288 including four .300-plus seasons at the plate, leading
the league in hitting with a 353 average in 1946 average.
In 1947 he hit a career best .358. He played in three
Negro American League All-Star games and two Negro American
League World Series. He teamed with the legendary Satchel
Paige during the height of Negro League barnstorming in
the 1930s and 40s to play countless exhibition
games. 20 future Major Leaguers played under his tutelage
including names like Hank Thompson, Elston Howard and
his Monarch career, ONeil became a Major League
Baseball scout with the Chicago Cubs. He was named the
Majors first black coach by the Cubs in 1962 and
is credited with signing Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and
Lou Brock to their first pro contracts. Since 1988 he
has scouted for the Kansas City Royals and in 1998, at
87 years of age, Buck was named Midwest Scout of
rose to national prominence with his compelling narration
of the Negro Leagues as part of Ken Burns PBS Baseball
documentary. Today, ONeil serves as Board Chairman
of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
He was a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans
Committee until 2001 and continues to lead the charge
for deserving Negro Leaguers to be inducted.
and Honors. Hes had a few
Buck ONeil Way street
dedicated in 18th & Vine Historic District
State Historical Society Distinguished Service
Medal and Certificate
Sports Hall of Fame induction award
Award and related gifts from Turner Broadcasting
Baseball Award from the Kansas City Royals
Leadership Award from Kansas State University
City Sports Walk of Stars induction
Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame induction
Harris Fellowship Award from Rotary International
keys to the Cities of Dallas, TX; St. Joseph,
MO; Starksville, MS; and Baton Rouge, LA
are the biographical accomplishments of John Jordan Buck
ONeils life. But nothing here can truly tell
you about the man until you experience him for yourself.
To hear him tell a story is a true time travel experience.
You are at once a personal witness to American history.
You know at once where we came from, you realize how far
weve come, and what is left to do.
all Buck has accomplished and conquered in his life, he
says perhaps his proudest occurred in 1995. Sixty-nine
years after he cried in his mothers arms because
he wasnt allowed to attend the all-white Sarasota
High School, he received his high school diploma at Sarasota
High. He said at his graduation, I guess I picked
up some extra credits on my long and twisty road.
Buck ONeil been born today, he might have gone to
the school of his choice he might be putting up lofty
numbers in Major League Baseball and he might be signing
just as lofty contracts. But after all the years of triumph
and tribulation, and over 7 generations of baseball, Buck
ONeil still offers hope and optimism, not regret.
To quote Buck himself: Baseball fulfilled me like
music. I played it most of my life and loved it. Waste
no tears for me. I wasnt born too early. I was born
right on time.
on time to see Jackie Robinson break the color barrier
that separated Major League and Negro League Baseball.
Right on time to stand on a street corner with pitching
great Satchel Page in a U.S. town where slaves were once
auctioned and realize that the two of them would now be
playing professional baseball in that town, albeit in
a segregated league. Right on time to tell Americans of
all color that even in todays troubled times, we
have all achieved so much and there is always hope for
or no diploma - Buck ONeil is one of the greatest