Buck O’Neil Hall of Fame plaque arrives in Kansas City

The plaque will be on display at Kauffman Stadium and the Royals Hall of Fame this weekend.
Thomas Randolph and his wife Quinthella Randolph visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum...
Thomas Randolph and his wife Quinthella Randolph visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum frequently. Friday, they visited to see Buck O'Neil's Hall of Fame plaque.(KCTV5)
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 3:37 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A weekend celebrating the man synonymous with baseball in Kansas City is underway following the arrival of John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil’s plaque to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Friday morning.

“For it to come home so soon after Buck’s induction is something that we are very excited about,” said Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “Really, it’s a perfect way to honor those fans particularly here at home that had been so vigilant about his belonging in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Quite frankly, I had given up on the notion that Buck would ever get in the Hall of Fame after he missed in 2006. So I had no inkling that this opportunity would ever present itself.”

O’Neil’s plaque made its way from Cooperstown, New York, to the museum, and it will head to Kauffman Stadium for a ceremony and celebration this weekend.

“It’s really an incredible opportunity to bring a Hall-of-Famer’s plaque out of Cooperstown. It’s not something that happens very often,” said Jon Shestakofsky, vice president of communications and education for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “As we’ve seen today from the incredibly large group of fans that have come to see it, Buck’s legacy resonates incredibly strongly here in Kansas City.”

After a career that saw him become a Negro World Series champion and three-time All-Star with the Kansas City Monarchs, O’Neil spent time as a scout for the Chicago Cubs before returning to Kansas City to scout for the Royals. Later, he helped found the museum which prominently displayed his Hall of Fame plaque on Friday.

The Royals will play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend at Kauffman Stadium, and Saturday night’s contest will be a “Salute to the Negro Leagues” night, honoring the Negro Leagues and the 75th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut. The plaque will be shown on the field during a pregame ceremony before moving to the Royals Hall of Fame lobby for fans to view it until the top of the eighth inning of Saturday’s game.

“Buck O’Neil wasn’t from Kansas City, but he spent so much time here in his life and made this his home. So he is as Kansas City as anybody who has ever lived,” said Curt Nelson, director of the Royals Hall of Fame. “I’m biased in thinking that baseball is fundamental to our Kansas City idea, so he’s a very special person that is a Kansas Citian. Having him (in Cooperstown) makes it even more special inside the Hall of Fame. He tells our story well.”

READ MORE: Buck O’Neil Hall of Fame plaque to be displayed in Kansas City

Both the Royals and Dodgers will wear throwback uniforms, with Kansas City featuring the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs home uniforms and Los Angeles featuring the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers away uniforms. Each uniform is a design that Robinson would have worn during his playing career.

“In essence, you’ve got Jackie versus Jackie,” Kendrick said. “Jackie can’t lose but I’m leaning toward those 1945 Monarchs to try to win this game.”

Thomas Randolph said he visits the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum just about once every three weeks. During visits, he checks the museum for new memorabilia and purchases new Negro Leagues gear whenever possible. On Friday afternoon, Randolph and his wife Quinthella, natives of Leeds, Missouri, visited the museum and saw O’Neil’s plaque.

“It means a lot to me considering that I met him a long time ago and I have an autographed ball at home,” Thomas told KCTV5 of his feelings of seeing the plaque. “We purchase a lot of goods here, so we understand the plight that (Negro Leagues players) went through to go from stadium to hotels and how they were ignored and had to go into the backdoor of facilities instead of the front doors like everybody else. We come here to support the museum and their legacies.”

WATCH: Buck O’Neil’s lasting legacy in Kansas City

When O’Neil’s plaque returns to Cooperstown, Shestakofsky said it will be seen by nearly 300,000 visitors per year at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Shestakofsky said bringing it to Kansas City helps provide those unable to make the trek to New York an opportunity to see an integral part of Kansas City and professional baseball history.

Game-used jerseys, hats and more will be auctioned off at royals.com/auction, with all proceeds going to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.