Buck O'Neil, first African-American MLB coach & scout, left major impact on Kansas City

Posted at 4:19 AM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 05:19:33-05

John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil was an iconic Negro League baseball player for the Kansas City Monarchs.  

O'Neil played on several Negro League teams including the Miami Giants, New York Tigers, and the Shreveport Acme Giants. In 1938, O'Neil earned a spot as the first baseman for the Kansas City Monarchs.

From 1939 to 1942, Kansas City won four consecutive Negro American League pennants.

O’Neil put a pause on his baseball career and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1943-1945.

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In 1948, he was named player-manager of the Monarchs. O'Neil led Kansas City to two Negro World Series titles. He coached the Monarchs until 1955.

In 1962, O'Neil made history by becoming the first African-American coach in Major League Baseball. He coached the Chicago Cubs until 1965.

He later became the first African-American Major League Baseball scout for the Kansas City Royals in 1988.

O'Neil then helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City just two years later.

Known as one of the game's greatest storytellers, O’Neil helped bridge the racial divide in Major League Baseball. 

In February 2006, O'Neil was left out of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which caused an uproar in the Kansas City baseball community.

After his passing, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum created the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award to honor his legacy.

The Royals celebrated O'Neil's lifetime achievements with a ‘Legacy Seat’ at Kauffman Stadium in 2007. 

It's Black History Month. Read more about prominent African-Americans with Kansas City connections here:

KC civil rights activist and journalist Lucile H. Bluford

Hiram R. Revels, first African-American in US Congress, helped start Independence church

KC Jazz Pioneer Charlie "Bird" Parker




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