October 07, 2006

The Passing Of A Legend: A Missed Opportunity

One of baseball's greatest ambassadors, Buck O'Neil, passed away at 94. He was an excellent player in the Negro Leagues, and since his retirement was involved in many aspects of the game. None, however, were as important as the work that he did in publicizing the legacy of the Negro Leagues, including the creation of a museum in Kansas. O'Neil, by all accounts, was a very good ballplayer, and he was never elected to the Hall of Fame. We have often said it's the hall of "great", not the hall of "very good" (which is why we still hate the fact that players such as Don Sutton, Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry are in the hall). While O'Neil might not have been "great" as a player, he brought more to the game then simply stats. He helped keep alive one of the most important periods in baseball, and America's, history, and he was perhaps the greatest living ambassador for the game! He deserved to be elected to the hall as a part of the current class, one in which a number of important members of the Negro Leagues, players, owners, etc., were elected to make up for past oversights. Voters had an opportunity to honor all of this man's great achievements and thank him for keeping this vital part of baseball and American history alive, and they blew it. We hope they are ashamed of themselves! O'Neil had already been voted into the hall of fame of baseball fans everywhere, and he knew how loved he was; it's just shameful that this was never made official...

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