John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil was one of the first African American baseman and manager in the Negro American League. He mostly associated with the Kansas City Monarchs. After his golden playing days, O’ Neil worked as a scout then became the first African American coach in Major League Baseball. Later, he became a very popular speaker and interview subject. He was working toward helping the interest in the Negro leagues. Above all he played a major role in establishing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
John Jordan O’Neil was born November 13, 1911 in rural Carrabelle, FL. He left Florida in 1934 for several years after completing high school and some college. And in 1937 he signed with the Memphis Red Sox for their first year of play in the newly formed Negro American League. His contract was sold to the Monarchs the following year.
He played in four East-West All-Star Games in three different seasons and two in the Negro World Series. He served in a tour during WWII with the U.S. Navy from 1943–1945.
O'Neil was named manager of the Monarchs in 1948; he managed them till the end of the 1955 season. The Monarchs were sold, thus, O'Neil resigned as manager to become a scout for the Chicago Cubs.
On October 6, 2006, John Jordan O’Neil died at the age of 94 of heart failure and bone marrow cancer complications.
However, on December 7, 2006 O’Neil received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The following year on March 31 he received the Beacon of Life Award. That same year, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award on October 24.