What made Buck O’Neil so important to Kansas City is not only what he meant to baseball as a manager and player of the Kansas City Monarchs, arguably the greatest baseball team in Kansas City history, but what he means to the city itself. O’Neil was not only a true ambassador to the game, especially during the era of the Negro Leagues, but a civic servant to Kansas City in complicated times (especially considering the City’s questionable racial history).
If an Mount Rushmore of Kansas City’s most important people existed, I would imagine that Buck O’Neil would be one of the “faces” of that monument (along with former Royals owner Ewing Kauffman and Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, most likely). O’Neill left not only a “baseball” legacy but a legacy of service and love for Kansas City, which is demonstrated by the red “Buck O’Neil” seat that exists at Kauffman Stadium (they better not dare get rid of that when they move to a downtown stadium).
Thus, it is safe to say that O’Neil’s enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame is not only good for the sport of baseball but is a moment in Kansas City history that will forever be remembered and cherished for years to come:
So, as expected, there were many tributes on Twitter yesterday that honored the legendary O’Neil in lieu of Cooperstown’s announcement. Hence, let’s take a look at the best ones from yesterday and today that honored one of Kansas City’s most legendary figures.
From the Negro League Baseball Museum:
From MLB.com, as presented by NLBM president Bob Kendrick (who always just hits it out of the park when it comes to talking about Buck):
From Bally Sports’ Joel Goldberg, who was there live at the Negro League Baseball Museum on 18th and Vine for the HOF announcement party:
From the Kansas City Royals’ official Twitter:
From documentarian and filmmaker Ken Burns, who shared a heartfelt statement after Buck’s Hall of Fame announcement:
From Rob Friedman of Pitching Ninja, who shared a video of Buck telling a story about Satchel Paige facing Josh Gibson:
From Royals beat writer Lynn Worthy shared this video of Kendrick and the crowd at the Negro League Baseball Museum giving a toast to Buck after the HOF announcement:
From Baseball History Nut, who shared a video on Twitter of Buck making the rounds on the talk show circuit, charming hosts and audience members alike:
From former Kansas City councilman Jermaine Reed posted a picture from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, as the Chiefs honored Buck and his Hall of Fame honor:
And here is a story from The Athletic’s Alec Lewis that talked not only about Buck, but the announcement and event at the Negro League Baseball Museum, and what it all meant on Sunday:
Kansas City and baseball in general thanks you for all you have done…
And continue to do while watching us from above.