Here's a excerpt from a fascinating interview Keith Olbermann did with Buck O'Neil on March 2nd of this year. Olbermann replayed it on his show tonight and it made me more disappointed that Buck didn't live to make it to Cooperstown...........
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST, ‘COUNTDOWN’: There are a lot of us in the Buck O'Neil fan club who are or who were really angry or really broken hearted that the election turned out the way it did. But you very obviously and very publicly are not. Why aren't you?
BUCK O'NEIL: I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get in, but I think the people that was on that committee did the voting, they were voting just what they thought it should be. I can't hold that against anyone. I did have a chance you know. If I hadn't had a chance, now I would have been bitter, like, oh, I couldn't attend Sarasota High School. They didn't give me a chance. But with this, they gave me a chance to get into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. I just didn't make it.
OLBERMANN: On a program last night I interviewed a young man that you know, Mr. Ernie Banks, who was your shortstop at the Kansas City Monarchs just about 56 years ago. And he said something. I would like to play it and then I would like to get your reaction to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERNIE BANKS, BASEBALL HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Keith, I was totally disappointed in the results of this vote. I'm in the Hall of Fame because of Buck O'Neil. I spent many time and many years with him. He's a scout and a teacher. He saw something in me when I first arrived with the Kansas City Monarchs that I didn't see in myself. He's that type of person. He can really pull the skills that a person has out. I love this man. He's a great human being. I'm totally disappointed he didn't make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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Passing the Buck
OLBERMANN: So Buck, Ernie says you got him in the Hall of Fame, you got Lou Brock in the Hall of Fame too and he said really that you got all those 17 people who got in on Monday into the Hall of Fame when you didn't and Ernie says he's totally disappointed you are not going in. I agree with him, many of us agree with him. What do you suggest those of us admire you do about our disappointment?
O'NEIL: I don't know what you can do. Really, as far as me going in to Cooperstown. But I thank all of you that you feel the way that you feel. I feel that I could be in Cooperstown. I think I put the numbers down -- I put the numbers up that would lead you into the Hall of Fame. A lot of people there are talking about the other things I accomplished off the field, which is wonderful, but listen, I could play. I played a year and made one error. I hit the ball, I just happened to be a line drive hitter, not the home run hitter. But I drove in the runs; I could do all these things.
But I think, you know, with me, my greatest accomplishment might have been starting the Negro League Baseball Museum here in Kansas City, which tells that story. So, if it's to be one day I might be in the Hall of Fame. But I just want to thank all of the people that felt the way that they are feeling right now. But don't weep for Buck. Just feel happy, like I am, being thankful, like I am, that I can do and have done the things that I did do.
OLBERMANN: I'm not going to try to talk you out of being OK with this. If this cup is half full, god bless you we could learn a lot of that from you. But I do want to ask you this, Ernie Banks said last night that he thinks the work of that special committee is not done yet, that it should not be disbanded and it has more people to elect and honor from the Negro leagues and whether it is Cannonball Dick Redding or it's John Donnellson or it is Minnie Monsoso or it is Buck O'Neil should there be another vote next year?