KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City community is celebrating Buck O'Neil Sunday ahead of his induction Sunday into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
After playing in the Negro American League for 10 seasons and participating in three All-Star Games, the former Kansas City Monarch player and first Black coach in Major League Baseball, with the Cubs, will join the hall of fame at last.
KSHB 41 News Anchor Dia Wall Spoke with Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and a personal friend of O'Neil.
Quick little chat with @nlbmprez ahead of today’s ceremony:— Dia Wall (@DiaWall) July 24, 2022
“It’s now real that our friend Buck O’Neil is taking his rightful place in the @baseballhall.”
Can’t wait to share the emotion & significance of Buck’s enshrinement on @KSHB41 tonight! 💙 pic.twitter.com/O26lpS1eI2
"I'm so excited that this day has finally come and it's now real that our friend Buck O'Neil will take his place — rightful place — in the National Baseball Hall of Fame," Kendrick said. "I'm elated. I'm sure everyone back home is elated as well."
Kendrick told Wall that he brought a towel to the induction, as he anticipates an emotional ceremony.
"I'm sure there'll be an array of emotions as it has been all weekend long, and when it finally happens, I'm sure the tears will fall again," he said. "Buck's always got me crying."
If O'Neil was here today, Kendrick says he would tell him "Thank you and I love you and I miss you."
"I wish he was here to celebrate with us physically, but I know spiritually he is all over the valley today and we all feel that love and energy," Kendrick said.
The Kansas City Current also showed O'Neil some love.
Today we get to honor and celebrate the incredible accomplishments of KC baseball legend, Buck O’Neil, as he is inducted into the Hall of Fame!— KC Current (@thekccurrent) July 24, 2022
His courage and passion for the game allowed him to break barriers and make history ⚾️🤍 pic.twitter.com/wojgpIEKwe
Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas says Buck made the city "world class."
Buck made our city world class as a player and a sports and cultural ambassador for almost his entire life. We are so proud to see him get his due today.— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) July 24, 2022
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said it is a day for fans to celebrate O'Neil's "profound impact."
"Buck O’Neil’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is a great day, long overdue. He was not only an incredible athlete on the field, he was a Kansas City icon who made sure the history of Negro Leagues Baseball was preserved and shared with future generations," Blunt said in a statement.