COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Buck O’Neil, a champion of Black ballplayers during a monumental, eight-decade career on and off the field, joined Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso and three others in being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat also were chosen along with Bud Fowler by a pair of veterans committees.
Oliva and Kaat are the only living new members. Dick Allen, who died last December, fell one vote shy of election.
Kaat was a member of the 1982 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and pitched in St. Louis in parts of four seasons. He won 16 Gold Gloves and accumulated 283 wins in 25 years in the Majors.
Minoso played one year in St. Louis in 1962.
O'Neil was a fixture in baseball for nearly his entire life, and was instrumental in the development and growth of the Negro Leagues Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum located in Kansas City, Missouri.
Former Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer and former Cardinals outfielder Roger Maris also fell short of election on the Golden Era ballot.
The 16-member Early Days and Golden Days committees met separately in Orlando, Florida. The election announcement was originally scheduled to coincide with the big league winter meetings, which were nixed because of the MLB lockout.
The six newcomers will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022, along with any new members elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. First-time candidates David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez join Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling on the ballot, with voting results on Jan. 25.