10.07.2006

Thanks, Buck

Blitzing through my sports webpages this morning, I saw the headline:
"Buck O'Neil Dead At 94." For you non-baseball fans, Buck O'Neil was
a Negro League pioneer, an ambassador of the game of baseball, the
star of Ken Burns' 1994 documentary on the sport, and an all-around
good guy.

Here was a guy who faced ill treatment as a black man and
discrimination as a black ballplayer, and yet never lost his sunny
disposition and his rock-bed hope. Even when bypassed for the Hall of
Fame -- inexplicably -- by a special committee that voted earlier this
year, he demonstrated his cheerful optimism and gracious perspective:
"Before, I wouldn't even have a chance. But this time I had that
chance. Just keep loving old Buck."

For one who had honey for a voice, it was ironic to read in the
article that he had lost his voice shortly before his death. Indeed,
we have lost a great voice for baseball and humanity. I can only hope
Major League Baseball does the classy thing and honors him during this
season's playoffs. Thanks, Buck.

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