Broadway Bridge may soon honor Buck O'Neil

Posted at 3:19 PM, Apr 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 08:11:37-04

A proposed bill to name of the Broadway Bridge in Kansas City after John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil passed a committee at Missouri state capitol. 

The Broadway Bridge is a busy one. It carries thousands of drivers a day across the Missouri River into and out of the downtown area.

"Where it heads into the city from the downtown airport right into the skyline, it just seems like it's iconic for Kansas City and it needs a to be named after another Kansas City icon," said Sen. Ryan Silvey.

Silvey and Sen. Jason Holsman have authored a bill that is a step closer to changing the name of the Broadway Bridge.

SB 1139 would change the name of the bridge to the Buck O'Neil Bridge. O'Neil was a first baseman and manager in the Negro American League.

"He helped bridge so many communities, that it just seemed like the right thing to do," Silvey said.  

The proposed law made it through a special committee at the capitol and is headed to the senate.

The Broadway Bridge has a special place in O'Neil's heart.

"He was driving across the Broadway Bridge with regularity," said director of the Negro League Baseball Museum Bob Kendrick. "Buck always liked to use the Broadway Bridge,"

Kendrick said O'Neil's reputation is one that made him a great ambassador for Kansas City and would be a great person to name the bridge after.

"In Hollywood they call it the 'it' factor," Kendrick said. "You know what it is when you see it but you don't know exactly what it is. But Buck had it. I never saw anyone who could bridge the gap between black and white. Young and old. Men and women the way Buck O’Neil did."

Buck is a Kansas City Baseball legend. He was a star player in the Negro Leagues.  He had a successful career with the Kansas City Monarchs.  He went on the break barriers after the Monarchs, becoming the first African-American coach in MLB History in 1962.

While other efforts to rename the Broadway Bridge after other people have failed, Silvey said he believes Buck's reputation will be enough to convince lawmakers to pass it this time.  



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