Nergro Leagues star O'Neil dies at 94

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- John "Buck" O'Neil, the oldest surviving palyer from baseball's Negro Leagues, died Friday night at a Kansas City, Mo., hospital, at age 94.

No cause of death was immediately available, but he had been in ill health for some time.


O'Neil often was called the best player ever in the Negro Leagues. Baseball historian James A. Riley noted in his book about the game that O'Neil, a first baseman, won the 1946 Negro American League batting title with an average of .353 for the Kansas City Monarchs.

He won three batting titles, and was an ambassador of the game in his later years.

"He is the face of the Negro Leagues in many ways," said Bob Kendrick, marketing director of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, reported.

Many were outraged earlier this year, when O'Neil was not included in a group of Negro League stars who were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. But O'Neil urged fans to accept it, as he had.

"Just feel happy, like I am, being thankful, like I am, that I can do and have done the things that I did do," he told an interviewer.

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