Profiles of Valor
John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil lived a life devoted to baseball and the enduring memory of the Negro Leagues. He was a slick-fielding first baseman with a .283 career batting average in his 11 years in the NegroLeagues, including 10 with his beloved Kansas City Monarchs. Additionally, he was a two-time Negro American League batting champion, hitting .345 in 1940 and .350 in 1946. O’Neil also managed the Monarchs from 1948-1955, leading the team to four Negro American League titles.
From 1943 to 1945, O’Neil served his country as a member of the U.S. Navy, working in a Seabees battalion. In his duties as a stevedore, O’Neil and his fellow sailors not only assisted with various construction duties, but helped deliver food, ammunition and other integralsupplies as the war progressed closer to Japan.