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Buck O'Neil gets his due

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by buckweaver, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    MLB has created a lifetime achievement award and named it after the late Negro Leagues ambassador. The award will be accompanied by a statue of O'Neil in "a prominent place in the museum" at Cooperstown.

    http://tinyurl.com/2sn3yg

    A perfect tribute.
     
  2. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    No, a perfect tribute would have been to put the guy in the HOF, where he belonged, while he was alive to see it. It's a fucking travesty that the special election to bring in a group of Negro Leaguers -- an election that would never have taken place if not for Buck's tireless campaigning to make people remember (yes, helped by Burns' soapbox) -- did not include him.

    Everyone knew Buck was going to go in eventually, because of the weight of his contributions, and it sucks that the guy lived 94 years and didn't get to enjoy it. One of the finest people I've ever known in any walk of life, and he got screwed, plain and simple.

    I have a Negro Leagues HOF baseball signed by him, and it's one of my most treasured possessions.
     
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    We've had this debate 8 million times. And I'll repeat myself for the 7.9 millionth time:

    Buck O'Neil does not belong in the Hall of Fame as a player. He was the equivalent of Bill Madlock, at best, and Bill Madlock won't -- and shouldn't -- sniff Cooperstown.

    His overall contributions to the game, however, deserve to be rewarded. Just like Johnny Pesky's (who I hope is the second recipient of this award.) Just like Jimmie Reese's.

    Those are O'Neil's peers among baseball's great ambassadors.

    This award is the best and most appropriate tribute for someone like O'Neil, who contributed to the game he loved all his life.

    He was NOT a Hall of Fame player. Never was, never will be. He was, however, a Hall of Fame ambassador, the best the game has ever known. This award is the perfect tribute to Buck O'Neil. Period.
     
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    buck, To me what you are saying sort of misses the point. Very few people saw the negro leagues play. So this isn't an exercise of Joe Fan remembering and honoring only the best players, which he has fond memories of. The players that got in in the special election were not household names. They were not players that fans remembered lovingly as the best negro league players -- 99 percent of fans had no clue who those guys were. Given that those guys played in relative obscurity, given that their stats are fuzzy and given that knowing who the best players were is largely an exercise of faded memories that have been at least somewhat influenced by legend and exaggeration, it was ridiculous to allow that many players in and not have Buck O'Neil as one of them. He was the one player the average fan *had* heard of. He deserved to get in because 1) he was a good player (not a scrub), regardless of where he sits on an objective list of the best of the best (and coming up with one is nearly impossible) and 2) He became the face of the negro leagues and did it with a style and humor that gave it renewed focus. This would be different if it was a league everyone saw play, and whose players fans have strong memories of. But since it wasn't, deciding who "the best players" were skills-wise might be somewhat arbitrary and it doesn't really do fans any favors. They should have let the guy who was an ambassador in and allowed him to enjoy it while he was still alive. He did more for the negro leagues than any of those players who were inducted.
     
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I agree with Ragu. Of the top of my head, I might -- MIGHT -- be able to name six Negro Leagues players. And Buck O'Neil is one of them. No matter what his stats were, he probably did more for the cause of the old Negro Leagues guys than anyone.
    If he didn't go in as a player, he should have been in for his other achievements. There's owners and managers in the Hall, isn't there some category or dispensation for guys like O'Neil, who spend most of their lives promoting baseball?
     
  6. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Buckdub, I admire your desire to keep baseball's purity in its many forms, but the rules should have been bent for O'Neil. His case cries out for a builder's category, much as what the NHL and NFL halls have.
     
  7. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    Didn't the HOF have a special committee to elect members of the Negro Leagues? Why didn't they elect him?

    There are about 35 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame elected from the Negro Leagues, though this is almost definitely an insufficient number given the mythic quality of play, it does seem that those who had the opportunity to elected Mr. O'Neil, did have the chance to do so. Why they didn't should be explained somewhere.
     
  8. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Buck O'Neil's contribution to the game screams hall of famer. In this case, I don't give a shit that he never played. When so many other players have done their part to tarnish the game, disrespect it and the fans, O'Neil reminded everyone who ever heard him talk why the game is so loved. No one is saying he should be in for his playing ability. Everyone is saying he is a bonafide Hall of Famer though. His contributions were far more transcendant than most of those who are in simply because of the way they played.
     
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I'm pessimistic about many things MLB, and this is another. "Lifetime achievement award" in this case screams to me "we f*cked it up for decades and are trying to right the ship." And for Chrissakes, they couldn't even get it done while he was alive. But MLB is more than happy to pound their chests now, on the opening day of the World Series.
     
  10. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    i wish they would have done this while he was alive, but, i'm with buck -- despite the timing, i think it's the perfect honor
     
  11. D-3 Fan

    D-3 Fan Active Member

    Because the dumbasses on that committee didn't bother to even consider him, and he's the reason why the committee was formed. Last year, the Negro League committee voted a woman in as contributor (she owned a team). How many women do we know even get a sniff of Cooperstown?

    Ragu, that was a perfect summation of why Buck deserved to be in the HOF. Yeah, the BBWA fucked up royally with it and his death several months later made them look like fucking tools, but Cooperstown is going to make this right, in light of the voters who has a penchant for the purity of the game.
     
  12. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    Since Buck died, I've had the feeling MLB could create any award they wanted to, building the biggest statue of him anywhere, give copious donations in his name, and yet ... Buck being cockblocked from the Hall of Fame was the ultimate slap in the face.
     
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