Books | Sports

July 30, 2007

Buck O'Neil's Baseball Journey

His biographer, who spent 16 months traveling with the distinguished former Negro League player, tells Gelf why there was no better ambassador for the national pastime.

Aaron Zamost

Until spring of last year, I'd never heard of Buck O'Neil. The Negro League baseball players whom I could name had all played in the Major Leagues and been inducted into the Hall of Fame—players such as Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, Roy Campanella and Ernie Banks. But most African-American baseball legends of the '50s and '60s first ran onto the field in cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, and Birmingham to play for Negro League teams, to say nothing of the scores of players who played in the majors but never made it to Cooperstown.

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- Sports
- posted on Apr 13, 08
Bob Mayer

I really enjoyed this short interview. I met Buck at the opening of the African-American exhibit Pride & Passion at the Hall of Fame in 1999. Also there were Larry Doby and Joe Black, but its Buck who stands out in my memory. His passion for baseball and for life was extraordinary. I can only suggest to those who don't know him to get a copy of Ken Burns "Baseball" and listen to Buck in those tapes. You'll be glad you did.

Article by Aaron Zamost

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