I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Soul of Baseball

Ever since I heard that Joe Posnanski, a sports writer for the Kansas City Star, had a book coming out about Buck O’Neil called The Soul of Baseball, I knew I was going to devour it. Buck O’Neil played Negro League baseball in the 1930’s and 1940’s. It’s a shame that such a league needed to exist, but at the same time, if it hadn’t, guys like O’Neil wouldn't have been able to play. He led the league in hitting twice as a Kansas City Monarch, hitting .345 in 1940, and .350 in 1946. He was a three-time East-West All-Star. And he managed the team from 1948-1955.

O’Neil died last October at the age of 94. But he spent much of his ninety-third year of life with Posnanski as they toured America. Their journey became the fodder for the book. I can’t tell you much about the specific stories yet because I just started reading the book yesterday, but I was already moved greatly by this passage on page 2:

“Every day, Buck hugged strangers, invented nicknames, told jokes, and shared stories. He sang out loud and danced happily. He threw baseballs to kids and asked adults to tell him about their parents, and he kept signing autographs long after his hand started to shake. I heard him leave an inspiring and heartfelt two-minute phone message for a person he had never met. I saw him take a child by the hand during a class, another child grabbed her hand, and another child grabbed his, until a human chain had formed, and together they curled and coiled between the desks of the classroom, a Chinese dragon dance, and they all laughed happily.”

Buck O’Neil had every right to be a bitter man, but he chose to enjoy life instead, and in the process, he inspired everybody who came into contact with him.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...