Black History Month Focus on Buck O’Neil
February 12, 2021, 1:16 pm
In recognition of Black History Month, Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) wishes to recognize the contributions of Buck O’Neil to baseball and, more importantly, to racial recognition, understanding, and unity.
While Buck was an excellent player, manager, coach, and scout, his eight-decade legacy in the game extends well beyond these accomplishments. O’Neil was the driving force behind the establishment of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, which is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America. The Buck O’Neil Award is given by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. to honor his legacy to the game. As such it is awarded to individuals who emulate O’Neil in exhibiting a high degree of character, integrity and dignity. Additionally, the Buck O’Neil Professional Baseball Scouts and Coaches Association was founded in his honor.
Although Buck experienced significant racial prejudice and discrimination, he never succumbed to the natural human inclination toward anger and resentment. Instead he counseled love and forgiveness while working tirelessly to right the wrongs of racial discrimination. Much like Pope Francis, he urged a greater listening to older people and their stories. All of us would be well advised to listen to the life lessons of Buck O’Neil. He was fond of saying, “Hold hands with the person next to you. That way he can’t get away and neither can you.”