Buck O’Neil and other Negro League legends will be inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
Buck O'Neil
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Negro League baseball players Buck O’Neil, Bud Fowler, and Minnie Minoso will finally get the chance to be recognized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

According to the Hall of Fame website, the trio was part of six players who will be officially inducted in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022.

This was the first time the players had a chance to make the Hall of Fame under the new rules honoring Negro Leagues contributions. Last December, Major League Baseball said it was “correcting a longtime oversight in the game’s history” and reclassifying the Negro Leagues as a major league.

O’Neil has widely been considered one of the forefathers of Black baseball after a legendary eight-decade career both on and off the field. He played ten seasons with the Memphis Red Sox and Kansas City Monarchs.

After his playing career was done, O’Neil became a scout for MLB’s Chicago Cubs and would later become the first Black coach in American or National League history with Chicago.

O’Neil helped found the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

Fowler, born in 1858, has been acknowledged as the first Black professional baseball player. The pitcher and second baseman helped create the popular Page Fence Giants barnstorming team before passing away in 1913.

Minoso was a two-time All-Star in the Negro Leagues before becoming the first Black baseball player for the Chicago White Sox in 1951. The Cuban native was a seven-time All-Star in the MLB and played in five decades after two brief stints in 1976 and 1980. 

MLB said it was “correcting a longtime oversight in the game’s history” by elevating the status of the Negro Leagues, which consisted of seven leagues and about 3,400 players from 1920 to 1948.

The Negro Leagues began declining after Jackie Robinson became MLB’s first Black player in 1947, paving the way for other Black ballplayers to follow.

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