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RIP: Buck O'Neil

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Sxysprtswrtr, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    What he said. Right in the mouth.

    It's an outrage that he wasn't voted in. It was said at the time and it should be said now.
  2. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I cannot fathom why he is not in the Hall. He could have been his era's George Theodore as a player, but he'd still belong. R.I.P.
  3. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    What struck me as odd was it moved on the National wire first, not the Sports wire. ... No prob, though. I've seen some breaking news on this site many times before I ever saw it on the wire or ESPN.
  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Off deadline now, so I'll briefly explain:

    The reason Buck O'Neil was not -- and should not have been -- inducted into the Hall of Fame in January was because he was on the ballot as a player. In his time, O'Neil was akin to Bill Madlock as a ballplayer (couple of all-star appearances, couple of batting titles). He's not a Hall of Famer, in that capacity. Most people who have studied the Negro Leagues, including the special committee that voted in January, agree that O'Neil wasn't a Hall of Fame player.

    Here's the problem: There are very select categories for Hall of Fame induction -- Player, Manager, Executive or Pioneer; Veterans' Committee; or Special Committee. O'Neil simply does not fit any of those categories.

    That's not to say he doesn't deserve *something*. He does.

    But that's where a Lifetime Achievement honor comes into play. You can honor Buck, you can honor Don Zimmer, you can honor Johnny Pesky, you can honor a guy like Jimmie Reese -- guys who have dedicated their lives to baseball, but who simply aren't qualified for induction into the Hall of Fame.
  5. D-3 Fan

    D-3 Fan Well-Known Member

    I was out for a friend's birthday party this evening. It was ironic, because he and his brothers and all of his friends played baseball, from Little League, to college, to recreation today.

    We were in the bar late this evening and I saw Buck's pic up on the screen. I wanted to go outside I felt so sad. Buck is an individual, that those like never met, we wanted to hear more about. He was living history at his finest. There was no "peak" in his career or in his life.

    To the post that said that we shouldn't show any anger because of the Baseball Writers of America and the Veterans Committee for not putting him in the HOF: I'm sorry but a few do deserve to express anger and bitterness, along with honoring and the endless amount of tributes Buck was showered with in life and now in death. We can argue and debate this issue until our time on earth is up.

    With that said, if numbers and statistics are mandated to be the "end result" in admitting a new HOFer in, then what indirect message are we telling those who are playing this game and those who strive to be in it? If you don't reach these certain numbers in these catagories, you're not good enough. Hence, it is time to establish a "lifetime" award to those who are beyond and above.

    Buck was good enough to get in. It's about the human aspect of the game. It's people like Buck, Lasorda, Scully, Harwell, Paige, and others in which my generation don't have a clue about. I thank my lucky stars that we were blessed to have Buck around so that I could learn more about the game beyond the strategies, numbers, and how many hits will it take to raise your average to .365.

    We shouldn't be sad, though it's normal for us to be sad. Buck O'Neil have lived "A Wonderful Life." The type of life George Bailey learned about from Clarence the angel at the bridge when contemplating ending his life. Buck's body couldn't keep up with the vibrant mind and enthusiasm Buck lived every day with. This year was his "great big ride." It's fitting, and sad, that his ride ended this evening. No, wait, that ride isn't over. God wants to hear Buck tell his stories to him in a heavenly dugout.

    You lived "A Wonderful Life", Buck. Take care and we'll see you soon.
  6. Oz

    Oz Well-Known Member

    Buck discovered and signed Lou Brock and Ernie Banks as a scout for the Chicago Cubs. Both are Hall of Famers.

    Buck also became the first black manager in MLB in 1962.

    Tell me again how Buck didn't fit as a pioneer ...
  7. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Our wire went down tonight for four hours ... we damn near didn't get this.

    RIP Buck. Wish I could have met the man.
  8. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    1. it isn't ironic at all

    2. bbwaa wasn't involved in the voting, nor was the veteran's committee
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    a. Are we going to induct Paul Krichell, as well? He discovered Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford and Tony Lazzeri. (Not to mention Mark Koenig, Vic Racshi and a host of other great Yankees ...) There isn't a category for Great Scouts. (EDIT: Also, Buck did not sign Ernie Banks. Banks signed with the Cubs in 1953. O'Neil became a Cubs scout in 1956.)

    b. Buck did not become the first black manager of MLB in 1962. That distinction is reserved for Frank Robinson, who became the Indians manager in 1975. O'Neil was hired as a bench coach by the Chicago Cubs' "college of coaches" in 1962, but he never served as the "head coach" (i.e. manager) at any point with the Cubs. ... There also isn't a category for Coaches. Otherwise, Ray Miller and Leo Mazzone and Johnny Sain would have a case.

    Again, this is where an Ambassador award, or a Lifetime Achievement honor, would come into play. O'Neil does deserve that, by any qualifications. So does Don Zimmer. So does Johnny Pesky. So does Jimmie Reese (posthumously).

    But as the categories are now set ... no, O'Neil does not fit any of them. He transcends them, perhaps, but he does not fit them. THAT's why he's not a Hall of Famer.

    Petition for a Baseball Ambassador award. Call it the "Buck O'Neil National Pastime Award for Distinguished Service to Baseball" (full title. It will be known commonly, or on second reference, as the "Buck O'Neil Award" or the "Buck O'Neil Ambassador's Award." Similar to the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writers, or the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters.) Create a separate exhibit in Cooperstown, with pictures and memorbilia that tell the story of these men's (and women's) lives. Invite them to the ceremony every year. Let them give their speeches (and it's a DAMN shame Buck couldn't give one of his own, although the speech he did give there a few years ago was wonderful.)

    THAT's what Buck deserves.

    Leave the Hall of Fame to the Hall of Famers, which Buck wasn't. Give Buck the rest of the game, which he loved so much. That's the most fitting tribute I can think of to honor such a loving and great man.
  10. Cronyism allowed non-HOFers to sit next to HOFers a long time ago. For awhile, a HOFer was "an above-average player who was fortunate enough to be friends of Frankie Frisch." Yeah, can't have Buck ruining that, and occupying room next to legends like Travis Jackson and George Kelly. Those are the players you go there for!

    If you judge Buck on career alone (many have compared his hitting to Mark Grace), he already isn't the worst player in there. Throw in his managerial career (with the Monarchs), the color barriers he broke and his role in setting up the Negro Leagues Museum, and don't even count that he could tell a hell of a story, and you don't have an HOF-worthy career? Travis Jackson, he of the .291 average, 1,700 hits and whopping 135 homers, had an HOF career.

    That's not saying you go and induct the scores of players better than Travis Jackson who aren't in the HOF, but if you don't think Buck's a special case from Ken Boyer or Boog Powell, then that's some vacuum you're living in.

    It's a disservice to lump O'Neil in with guys like Zimmer just because he was around a long time. Zimmer's a dolt with a steel plate in a lumpy head in comparison.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Sure, Mungo, I think Buck's a special case. But just because Frank Frisch diluted the standards of the HOF from what it could -- and probably should -- be for so many years, that doesn't mean we should use a "well, he's better than Travis Jackson" standard for future inductions.

    The fact of the matter is, some great players aren't HOFers ... and that's OK.

    We can't do anything now about the Chick Hafeys and Jesse Haines who were snuck in there by Frisch and Co. four decades ago, but we don't have to continue the pattern of shooing in "good guys" with a slap on the back and a smile.

    Two wrongs don't make a right.

    That's why I think the Ambassador's Award is the right thing to do. Buck deserves to be honored in Cooperstown -- I think we can all agree on that. But his major case for being honored is his life's body of work, not any one specific role (player, coach, etc.)

    So honor him for his life, and celebrate him for what he was: a beloved ambassador of the game.
  12. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    O'Neil was a delightful man. It was a privilege to meet him and his death comes as sad news indeed.
    The football, basketball, and hockey Halls of Fame induct members as "contributors" to their games all the time. That's proper. Fame is not a numerical concept.
    If Candy Cummings, who may or may not have invented the curve ball, is in the Hall, and he is, there should be a spot for Buck.
    Baseball snot purists may now fire at will.
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