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The T-Bones Praise Buck O’Neil’s Selection

12/08/2006 11:13 AM - The T-Bones Praise Buck O’Neil’s Selection to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Kansas City T-Bones again salute our friend Buck O’Neil, as he is slated to posthumously receive the nation’s highest civilian honor next week. Buck’s legacy is truly worthy of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is awarded to individuals who made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The T-Bones and the Northern League are privileged and thrilled to have shared times with Buck and the Negro Leagues’ history. “The Negro Leagues were the original independent baseball, and Buck truly stood as the patriarch of independent baseball,” said T-Bones owner John Ehlert. “We are honored to have had Buck as part of our lives.”

O’Neil made history last summer when he batted (twice in the first inning) in the 2006 Northern League All-Star Game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. At age 94, O’Neil led off for the visiting West Division All-Stars. After the half-inning, a trade was negotiated, and Buck then led off for the hometown East Division All-Stars

Following the nation-wide media blitz on Buck's appearance at the All-Star Game in Kansas City, the T-Bones received a flood of phone calls and emails honoring the gentleman ballplayer. One was from Ernie McCray, in San Diego, CA. Mr. McCray suggested the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Owner John Ehlert then presented the idea to Congressman Dennis Moore, at an August party at the home of T-Bones fan Perry Bacon.

Upon announcement of O’Neil’s planned receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressman Moore remarked: “I am so pleased that my late friend, Buck O’Neil will be recognized as the true American hero he was. We will never forget his lifelong work in our community and his efforts to promote a better world for our children and grandchildren to grow up in.”

Buck O’Neil was the Chairman of the Board for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which is the official charity of the Kansas City T-Bones, and the independent Northern League