I don't really want to debate his hall of fame merits right now ... but if he gets in, I will wish then that it had happened this year. Wright Thompson at ESPN has a nice column (sports.espn.go.com) up about O'Neil that I would point anyone to.
Buck O'Neil lived to see the white high school that wouldn't admit him open its doors to all people. He lived to see the kids he scouted turn into Hall of Famers. He lived, as he liked to say, to meet presidents from Truman to Clinton (and he lived to huuuuug Hillary). O'Neil was the first black coach in the majors and also the oldest man ever to play in a pro baseball game. Now, he's gone. John J. "Buck" O'Neil died Friday night. He was 94.
I don't know why this seems so sad. He just always - and I'll admit I hadn't paid him much attention until recent years - seemed like such a happy person. By most accounts, baseball and the world lost a good man tonight.
It is truly a sad day for one of the classiest people baseball will ever see (and one of the best scouts, he gave the cubs both Ernie Banks and Lou Brock).
For those of you who haven't read it, I highly highly highly recommend Buck's book "I was right on time." It is a light read and full of many great stories about his time in the negro leagues and as a coach for the cubs later on. If you consider yourself a fan of the game you need to read this book, I promise you will love it.
Lisa: Poor predicatble Bart, always picks rock Bart: Good ole rock, nothing beats that
The biggest gamble of all of this is whether Barry Zito wakes up from a terrible 2004. He was only a .500 pitcher and was either sink or swim every time he took the mound. He will need a big bounce back. If we get it, we could be OK...