The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced the selections of the Golden Days and Early Baseball Era Committee on Sunday for the class of 2022, headlined by former players Buck O'Neil, Gil Hodges and Jim Kaat, among others.
O'Neil's impact on the game across multiple roles in baseball throughout his life made his induction long overdue:
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum @NLBMuseumKC
We’ve always known it, but now it’s official.<br><br>Buck O’Neil is Forever Legendary.<br><br>Congrats to our late Chairman John Jordan Buck O’Neil on his well-deserved and long overdue induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame! <a href="https://t.co/CU8qFHLJu3">pic.twitter.com/CU8qFHLJu3</a>
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
The great Buck O’Neil — player, manager, coach, scout and, perhaps most important, the man who brought the Negro Leagues to life for generations with his rich storytelling — has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. <br><br>Incredibly long overdue. He was the best of us.
O'Neil, who died in 2006 at the age of 94, played for the Negro League's Memphis Red Sox and Kansas City Monarchs and was a three-time All-Star and played in two Negro American League World Series. Between 1948 and 1955, he served as the team's player-manager.
He then became a scout for the Chicago Cubs and was with the organization until 1988, when he became a scout for the Kansas City Royals. He also helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and served as its board chairman.
Hodges, who died in 1972 at the age of 47, hit .273 with 370 homers and 1,274 RBI in an 18-year career that included stints with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.
He was an eight-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove award winner and two-time World Series champion, most famously playing with fellow Hall of Fame teammates Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese.
After his playing career, he served as the manager for the Washington Senators (1963-1967) and Mets (1968-1971).
Kaat, 83, pitched for 25 seasons (1959-1983) and a slew of teams in his MLB career, going 283-237 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 2,461 strikeouts and 180 complete games. He was a three-time All-Star, 16-time Gold Glover and won a World Series title in 1982 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bud Fowler, who died in 1913 at the age of 54, is considered the first Black professional baseball player and helped found the Negro League's Page Fence Giants, who played from 1895 to 1898, and a number of other barnstorming clubs at the time.
Tony Oliva, 83, hit .304 with 220 homers and 947 RBI in his 15-year career. He was an eight-time All-Star, won three batting titles, one Gold Glove and was the 1964 American League Rookie of the Year.
Minnie Minoso, who died in 2015 at the age of 89, started his professional career with the Negro New York Cubans (1947-1949) before spending 17 years in Major League Baseball, hitting .299 with 195 homers and 1,093 RBI. He was a 13-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove award winner.