Buck O’Neil Becomes The First African-American Coach In Major League Baseball History-This Day 1962


On this day in 1963 Buck O’Neil became the first African-American coach in major league baseball when he accepted a job as a coach with the Chicago Cubs. O’Neil was one of those men who were too old to play in the majors when Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947. One of the great ambassadors to the game, O’Neil is probably best remembered today for his interviews in Ken Burns’ “Baseball” documentary. I thought it was a real crime and typical of how they run the Baseball Hall of Fame when a few years ago they named a number of players from the old Negro Leagues into the Hall of Fame and passed over Buck O’Neil who was still living at the time. They have a habit of waiting until someone dies to put them in {Ron Santo recently} They put a number of Negro League stars who were long dead into the Hall and pass over a man who did so much for baseball and was actually alive to enjoy the honor. In typical fashion, Buck O’Neil did not complain at all over the slight. Buck O’Neil is one of those guys I wish I had had the chance to sit down and talk to. The stories he had to tell. Buck O’Neil died in 2006 at the age of 94.