I have opinions about many of the twenty combined names on the ballots, but I'm all-in on one particular individual: Buck O'Neil.
I visited the Negro League Baseball Museum in January of 2008, which started me down a rabbit hole about the often underrecognized Negro Leagues. I've learned a lot about many of the greats, like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell, but Buck O'Neil has become my favorite.
I actually had a somewhat comprehensive write-up on O'Neil's career and influence when I was counting down my favorite bobbleheads in my collection back in 2012. Buck O'Neil's name is all over the game of baseball.
Since then I have been tracking down baseball cards which focus on the Negro Leagues and anything Buck O'Neil related which I may happen upon. Yes, in fact, he is represented in my Folder of Fun.
Dreams Fulfilled and artist Graig Kreindler produced a 184 card set celebrating the Negro Leagues during the summer of 2020. I wrote a blogpost after purchasing a copy of the set and the first two cards I spotlighted were of Buck O'Neil.
Fast forward to this past summer and I read The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America. This book was just the pick-me-up I needed after a year of pandemic teaching. Buck seemed to have had such a positive influence on everyone he met and he possessed a special talent of being able to put a positive spin on nearly every situation.
Recently, I've jumped back into blogging a bit by showing off Mail Day purchases. A particularly special one arrived a week ago, but I saved it for today's post.
I never met Mr. Buck O'Neil, but Joe Posnanski's book resonated so strongly within me that I felt I needed to immortalize Buck within my own collection. I haven't been this excited about adding a singular card to my handcrafted storage box in quite sometime. Assuredly, this card was a pricey acquisition, but completely worth it.
Good luck today, Buck!