Pioneering Buck O'Neil elected to Hall of Fame


Longtime Cubs scout, coach and instructor Buck O'Neil was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

O'Neil is one of six inductees to the 2022 Hall of Fame class via the Eras Committee voting process. He was elected in by the Early Baseball Era Committee.

O'Neil, the first African American coach in MLB history, had an immeasurable impact on the Cubs organization and baseball. He spent nearly eight decades in the game as a player, manager, coach, executive and scout — including 33 years in the Cubs organization (1956-88).

A first baseman, O'Neil made his Negro American League debut in 1937 with the Memphis Red Sox and joined the Kansas City Monarchs a year later. He spent close to the next two decades with the Monarchs and was player-coach from 1948-55.

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O'Neil managed Ernie Banks with the Monarchs before the Cubs signed Banks in 1953. O'Neil joined the Cubs as a scout two years later.

O'Neil left a huge footprint on the Cubs for decades as not only as pioneering coach, but scout. Prior to joining their big-league coaching staff in 1962, he signed future Hall of Famer Lou Brock.

He later signed longtime Cubs closer and future Hall of Famer Lee Smith and was a major figure in Billy Williams' playing career.

O'Neil was a driving force behind the establishing of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in 1990 and served as the museum's chairman.

O'Neil passed away in 2006 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Metal of Freedom in 2008.

Along with O'Neil, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva and Bud Fowler were elected to the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

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