The 2008 recipient of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award is John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil. His baseball career spanned seven decades as he served as a player, scout, manager and ambassador.
O'Neil was a batting champion in the Negro leagues and played in three Negro American League All-Star games and in two Negro American League World Series. In addition to his career with the Kansas City Monarchs, O'Neil teamed with the legendary Satchel Paige during the height of Negro league barnstorming in 1930's and 40's to play countless exhibition games.
He later joined the Chicago Cubs as a scout and signed Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Lou Brock. The Cubs named him the first black coach in the Major Leagues in 1962. He became an unofficial spokesman and authority on Negro league baseball, giving his voice to documentaries, television shows and countless national interviews. He fought for the inclusion of Negro league players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
O'Neil was Board Chairman of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City, Mo., and was a historian, pioneer and ambassador for the Negro leagues and baseball.