Until this year, the Baseball Hall of Fame had inducted 40 people associated with the Negro Leagues. With the three elected for the 2022 class the number grows to 43 total.
They say you can't go home again, but in Bud Fowler's case, the Cooperstown native will be returning to his roots when he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022.
The color of Fowler's skin meant he couldn't stay in one place if he wanted to play baseball at the highest levels. He played all over the US and even some in Canada. Estimates are he played for more than a dozen leagues during his career.
The Pitcher turned second baseman, played barehanded but was one of the games great fielders. 1894 saw the Page Fence Giants become one of the great barnstorming teams with Fowler and Grant "Home Run" Johnson. One of their opponents was the Cincinnati Reds of the Major Leagues and Fowler hit .316 against some of the games greats.
In 2022, they will say, welcome home Bud.
Miñoso was not only a great player in both the Negro Leagues for the New York Cubans, but he had an illustrious career in the Major Leagues including having his number retired by the Chicago White Sox.
Among his achievements were
2x NgL All-Star (1947–1948)
9× All-Star (1951–1954, 1957, 1959–1960)
Negro World Series champion (1947)
3× Gold Glove Award (1957, 1959, 1960)
3× AL stolen base leader (1951–1953)
Chicago White Sox No. 9 retired
Miñoso was the first Afro-Latino player in the Major Leagues and the first black player on the Chicago White Sox.
A star player for the 1946 New York Cubans he played third base, and won the Negro League World Series over the Cleveland Buckeyes. Upon joining the Major Leagues, he would become an outfielder. Miñoso would become one of the most popular players in White Sox franchise history, helping the "Go-Go" White Sox become one of the premier teams for two decades.
Upon leaving the Major Leagues in 1964, he managed in Mexico for the next 9 seasons. After that he would rejoin the White Sox as a Coach, and then played again during parts of the 1976 and 1980 seasons. He became only the second player to appear in five decades.
When Miñoso was 54, he was activated again to play for the White Sox vs. the Angels. His appearance made him the fourth oldest player ever to play behind Nick Altrock (57), Charley O'Leary (58) and the ageless Satchel Paige (59, or so they say).
Miñoso is a member of the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame, and the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame. Miñoso was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals.
In 2022, Minnie Miñoso takes his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
If Buck O'Neil only told the stories of the Negro Leagues, he would have a special place in history, but he was more than that. An accomplished player, exceptional manager, scout, the first African American coach in MLB, and now...a Baseball Hall of Famer.
In 1934 Buck would sign to play for the Miami Giants., then an unofficial minor league club for the Negro Leagues. He would then play for several negro "minor league" teams before signing on with the Memphis Red Sox in 1937.
The following season Buck would tryout for the Kansas City Monarchs, making the team and becoming their new first baseman. The Monarchs would win Negro League pennant that year and the next three seasons. The next season, Satchel Paige would join the team and Buck and Satchel's friendship would give birth to one of baseball's great stories.
Satchel Paige gave Buck the nickname “Nancy”. Paige met a young lady named Nancy while the team was in Chicago and invited her to his hotel room. O’Neil suddenly realized Paige’s fiancé was visiting, and doing some quick thinking, Satchel moved Nancy another room. In the middle of the night, Paige came knocking on Nancy’s door, calling out, “Nancy! Nancy!” O’Neil heard Paige’s door opening and knew his fiancé was curious to see what the noise was. Buck opened his door, asking, “Yeah, Satch. What do you want?” Realizing Buck had just bailed him out, Paige responded, “Why Nancy. There you are.” Thus Buck would forever be “Nancy.
In 1948, Buck would be named player-manager of his beloved Monarchs. Because of the exodus of Negro League players to the MLB, the league began having financial challenges. Buck would become a scout to help keep the team fiscally solvent. Buck would recommend Elston Howard to the Yankees and Ernie Banks to the Cubs. After the 1955 season, Buck would join the Chicago Cubs as a scout and would discover Oscar Gamble and Lou Brock among others.
In 1962, Buck would join the Cubs coaching staff making him thee first African American coach. Two years later he would return to scouting and discover Lee Smith and Joe Carter.
Buck would eventually join a group working to create a new museum dedicated to the history of the Negro Leagues. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was born. Shortly after that, Documentarian Ken Burns was producing a nine part series on Baseball and chose Buck to tell stories in the Negro League section. Buck would later say "I think what I have talked about are the same things I have talked about for a long time, but now someone is listening". The now 82 year old became an overnight sensation.
Buck would serve on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee from 1981-2000, overseeing 11 Negro League inductees. In 2005 Buck himself was on the ballot, but missed out by one vote. Needing someone to speak on behalf of the 17 Negro Leagues inductees, Buck was selected to speak at the induction ceremony.
When it came time for the 2021 election representing the class of 2022, Buck would have to wait no longer.
Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Bud Fowler, Minnie Miñoso and Buck O'Neil.
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