Remembering The Negro Leagues
Buck O'Neil became a member of the 18-person Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee of Cooperstown, New York, in 1981. With the intense desire to preserve the memory of the Negro Leagues, he raised money and co-founded the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City in 1990. For more than a decade, he has lectured about the history and accomplishments of the Negro Leagues around the country, at schools, at conferences, on radio programs, and on television.
O'Neil experienced a resurgence of popularity in 1994 with the release of Ken Burn's PBS documentary Baseball. O'Neil narrated the program's segment highlighting the Negro Leagues. After the show's airing, he appeared on national interviews and late night talk shows such as Late Night with David Letterman.
Bringing his memories and words to a new generation, the new celebrity published his autobiography in 1996, I Was Right on Time: My Journey from the Negro Leagues to the Majors, co-written with Sports Illustrated editors Steve Wulf and David Conrads. O'Neil continues to recommend Negro League players to the Baseball Hall of Fame and advocates pensions for surviving Negro League players.
The long-time Kansas City resident holds no resentment or bitterness about the past segregation and racism he encountered. O'Neil's ability to forgive is reflected in his warm smile and sense of humor. His intention is that the Negro League museum he co-founded be more about hope and progress than about inequality. An audio program, The Best of Buck, compiles twenty-three stories of baseball history in the Negro Leagues told by Buck O'Neil; proceeds go to museum.
At the age of eighty-nine, O'Neil said in an interview in Home and Away magazine, "I want the young people to know the wonderful changes that's happened in this country. I'm old enough to see these wonderful changes… This is what we're trying to do—teach every kid about the Negro Leagues and that era."
- Buck O'Neil - Chronology
- Buck O'Neil - O'neil As Manager, Scout, And First Black Coach
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