Buck O’Neill Can’t Enjoy His Honor
When it comes to Gil Hodges, he was never really going to be able to be present to celebrate his Hall of Fame induction. His tragedy was dying too young.
The tragedy for Buck O’Neil is he passed before the honor. It was an unnecessary tragedy, and it’s one where many have to explain themselves.
Back in 2006, there was a push to fully examine the Negro Leagues to honor those overlooked players and executives. Many people would be inducted as part of the project, but for reasons no one could explain O’Neill wasn’t included.
It’s like all the times he was not inducted by various iterations of the Veteran’s Committee. The man lived 94 years, and yet he had to wait 15 years after his passing to be inducted.
This is an embarrassment for the Hall of Fame. They cheated a great player and a great man out of celebrating this honor.
They also cheated the fans. Few loved baseball like O’Neill, and even fewer could tell the complete story of the game. His speech would’ve been one for the ages.
Sadly, we’ll never get to hear it, and O’Neill has long since passed. A historical wrong has been corrected, but it happened far too late.