In 2008, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum honored the legacy of the late John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil, the Negro leagues legend whose baseball contributions spanned eight decades, with the creation of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
A permanent, life-size bronze statue of O'Neil was dedicated in the Museum in 2008 accompanied by a list of award recipients and a plaque to educate Museum visitors about O'Neil's contributions to the game. Each honoree will receive a smaller statue at the Induction Ceremony during Hall of Fame Weekend.
The Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors not more than once every three years to honor an individual whose extraordinary efforts enhanced baseball's positive impact on society, broadened the game's appeal, and whose character, integrity and dignity are comparable to the qualities exhibited by O'Neil. The Award, named after the late Buck O'Neil, was first given in 2008, with O'Neil being the first recipient.
Nominations may be submitted by anyone, to the Hall of Fame, at any time, in writing. Nomination should detail how the proposed candidate carries O'Neil's extraordinary traits. Nomination may be submitted to: Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Only submissions received by mail will be considered.
"The Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of and Museum is thrilled to honor Buck O'Neil as the first recipient of this award, named after him," said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Buck touched every facet of baseball, and his impact was among the greatest the game has ever known. The Board recognizes this impact Buck had on millions of people, as he used baseball to teach lessons of life, love and respect. His contributions to the game go well beyond the playing field. This award will recognize future recipients who display the spirit Buck showed every day of his life."
Below is a complete list of Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.