Buck O'Neil Remembrance
By Laura Ziegler
Kansas City, MO – Friends and fans from across the city and country expressed their grief yesterday as news spread of Buck O'Neil's death. At a press conference at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum at 18th and Vine Saturday afternoon spokesman Bob Kendrick welcomed everyone to what he called the house that Buck built. He was talking about O'Neil's passionate advocacy for the institution. Kendrick said Buck would forgive us a few tears at this time, but he would want to move on and celebrate a life and commitment to educating the public about the Negro Leagues.
Kendrick said Buck was prepared for this day and that his priority was getting the new Buck O'Neil Education and Research Center established. The center will be an expansion of the museum and will be housed in the old YMCA around the corner from the museum where the Negro Leagues was created in 1920. According to Kendrick, the center will have a baseball arcade to help young people learn about the sport, a conference center, and state-of-the-art research facilities.
Kendrick said plans for memorials are still being worked out but he did give these details: on Friday, October 13, Buck's body with lie in state on Coors Field of Legends from 8am to 9pm. There will be a private funeral and burial Saturday October 14 followed by a public memorial service.
O'Neil came to be known lately in Kansas City for his association with the Negro Leagues museum. But his legacy, of course, comes from his days as a star hitter and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs; and for his pioneering role as the first African American coach in the major leagues. Laura Ziegler prepared this remembrance.