Hall of Fame Names Long-Time Executive Roland Hemond Second Recipient of Buck O’Neil Award

Lifetime Achievement Award to Be Presented July 23 in Cooperstown

February 22, 2011
Roland Hemond is the second recipient of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Watch a video about the Buck O'Neil Award

COOPERSTOWN, NY – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Board of Directors has selected Roland Hemond as the second recipient of the John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to an individual for extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball's positive impact on society.

The Award will be presented to Hemond in Cooperstown on July 23, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend 2011. Hemond, 81, revolutionized front-office management and strategy during a seven-decade career in baseball, while spending his post-general manager days assisting baseball family members in need.

Hemond is the second winner of the Buck O'Neil Award, which was established in 2007 to honor an individual whose efforts broadened the game's appeal and whose character, integrity and dignity is comparable to the late O'Neil, who passed away in 2006 after eight decades of contributions to the game. O'Neil was honored as the first recipient of the Award in 2008.

"Roland Hemond has touched the lives of so many throughout the baseball family in his 60-year career, always exemplifying the traits that made Buck O'Neil such a revered figure in our sport's history," said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "The Board's decision to award Roland with this tremendous honor recognizes the profound impact he has had on the game, for his baseball intelligence as a keen talent evaluator and in building winning teams, to the universal respect he has earned for mentoring generations of baseball executives, past and present."

The Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Board of the Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at its discretion, though not more frequently than every three years. A permanent, life-size bronze statue of O'Neil is located at the Hall of Fame on the Museum's first floor and serves as the home for the Award. The statue of O'Neil was created by nationally renowned sculptor Williams Behrends.

Hemond first rose to prominence in the late 1950s as the assistant scouting director for the Milwaukee Braves. Hemond helped assemble a Braves team that won National League pennants in 1957 and 1958, along with the 1957 World Series, while the Braves won at least 83 games per season from 1953 through 1966. He would become a three-time Executive of the Year recipient and helped to build winning franchises in Chicago, Baltimore and Arizona.

Hemond became the scouting director for the Los Angeles Angels in their debut season of 1961, remaining with the franchise until 1970, when he became the Chicago White Sox's general manager. With the Sox, Hemond orchestrated a 31-game improvement over the course of the 1970-72 seasons, winning the Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year award in 1972. Hemond remained the White Sox's general manager through the 1985 season, assembling the team – led by manager Tony LaRussa – that won the 1983 American League West title. Hemond won his second Executive of the Year honor in 1983.

Hemond took over as the Baltimore Orioles' general manager in 1988, this time producing a 33-game improvement in just one season. After the 1989 campaign, when the Orioles won 87 games and came within two games of a playoff berth, Hemond was again named the Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year. His work in the Orioles' front office laid the groundwork for the 1996-97 Baltimore teams that advanced to the American League Championship Series.

Hemond served as the Senior Executive Vice President for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1996-2000, guiding the franchise through its debut season of 1998. Hemond worked as an executive advisor for the White Sox from 2001-07 before returning to the Diamondbacks as a special assistant to the president in 2007, where he continues to serve Diamondbacks leadership.

Hemond also serves as the president of the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America, which provides financial assistance and college scholarships to current and former players, scouts and others connected with pro baseball. Hemond also helped found the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, designed to provide assistance to longtime scouts who are in need of special support.

Hemond was named "King of Baseball" in 2001 by Minor League Baseball and also has baseball awards named in his honor by three organizations, recognizing his service to the game: the Chicago White Sox, "Baseball America" and the Society of American Baseball Research.

The Buck O'Neil Award is open to nominations from the public to the Hall of Fame, at any time, through written submissions. Nominations should detail how the proposed candidate carries O'Neil's extraordinary traits. Letters of nomination should 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.

Among the nominations of those who were considered by the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors in 2011 were: Johnny Bench, Ken Boyer, Ken Burns, George H.W. Bush, Kevin Costner, Harry Coyle, Curt Flood, Roland Hemond, Gil Hodges, Ferguson Jenkins, Jim Kaat, W.P. Kinsella, Ed Lucas, Penny Marshall, Marvin Miller, Joe Morgan, Dale Murphy, Don Newcombe, Lefty O'Doul,Sadaharu Oh, Peter O'Malley, Branch Rickey, Rachel Robinson, Charles Schulz, Ozzie Smith, Ted Turner, Fay Vincent, Bill White, Ted Williams, Dave Winfield, Kenichi Zenimura and Don Zimmer.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Museum observes regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend. From Memorial Day through the day before Labor Day, the Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. Ticket prices are $19.50 for adults (13 and over), $12 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.