May 14, 2007

An Interview with One of Baseball's Greatest.: Ken Burns with baseball icon Buck O'Neil about organizing black baseball, Satchel Page, and much more.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia to baseball at 08:44 PM - 13 comments

Terrific, terrific read. Thanks.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:23 PM on May 14, 2007

Thanks, YYM. The part about "Nancy" was a howl, then to follow it up with the part about Drum Island made me think for a while. Excellent stuff.

posted by Howard_T at 09:36 PM on May 14, 2007

Wow, thanks YYM, what a great read. Buck was a class guy, and is sorely missed in KC. I hope the crafty one gets a chance to see this.

posted by hawkguy at 08:51 AM on May 15, 2007

Great man, Buck O'Neil. Great man.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:53 AM on May 15, 2007

I have read this a few times. A couple of thoughts: - In just a few short sentences, O'Neil really underscores how truly important Rube Foster was. Without Foster, there is no Jackie (or Willie or Hank). Without the Negro Leagues, baseball probably isn't integrated for another 15-20 years, and the pool of talent wihout the inspiration that the Negro Leagues provided would likely have been a fraction of what it was. - It's interesting to note that at a time when baseball couldn't be played on Sunday in many cities, the Negro League schedule, by O'Neil's account, was centered around Sunday because of the accessibility to their fan base. Church services were arranged around these games and fans showed up still in their Sunday best. Baseball is not an American game, having evolved from the British rounders (and back from there perhaps as far as ancient Egypt), but by O'Neil's recollections it is not hard to conclude that the Church of Baseball is very American, and that it was born in the Negro Leagues Thanks for giving me another excuse to read this YYM.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:15 AM on May 15, 2007

Great article. For this Australian, Burns' documentaries and writings have given me (I hope) a better understanding of America.

posted by owlhouse at 11:21 AM on May 15, 2007

We used to watch the entire run of Baseball monthly in college, basically watching as many in a row without before passing out from Labatt's Extra Stock. Because, or in spite, of this, I think O'Neill's "Damn. There's got to be something better than this," whenever things go sour.

posted by yerfatma at 11:51 AM on May 15, 2007

No question Buck O'Neal is a baseball icon. I read the article this morning and the only thing I would disagree with Buck about was his read on Ty Cobb. Cobb was, without a doubt a great baseball player, but he was truly an asshole son of a bitch, mean, nasty individual. Red Adair and my grandfather use to say he was the biggest sob on the planet. He didn't give a shit about his teammates and everything centered around himself. We all have read the things written about him over the last 50 years and I am sure that there was another side to him. There was a book written about him from interviews and the author was with him for a extended amount of time that tried to show what the man was really about. I didn't get to see him until the end of his career but all my fathers and grandfathers' friends always said that but for him being a truly great player most of the people around him didn't want to have much to do with him. Buck's take on Gibson and the others was right on. I got to see Gibson and Paige , Foster and others whose names I can't recall but the barn storming that they did with some of the major leaguers had some of the best baseball games ever played. Just sitting in the stands now would bring chills to me. And not to beat a dead horse here, those era players only used beer, cigars and hotdogs..... How many knew who Rube Foster was until Buck talked about him in the article?

posted by The Old Man at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2007

Every ball player, in the minors or majors, should be requred to read this, especially the portion dealing with rules. Hell, that should apply to all professional athletes..they would learn that the old timers didn't need steroids or other supplements to juice up their bodies. They just used their talents and the bodies that God gave them. They weren't all goody two shoes; there were hell raisers, but the game had honor and they abided by that. And yes, I know about the Black Sox and it's repercussions, so don't rag me about that.

posted by jazzdog at 12:59 PM on May 15, 2007

There was a book written about him from interviews and the author was with him for a extended amount of time that tried to show what the man was really about. I remember that (not like I was there). They actually made a movie about that called "Cobb" in 1994 with Tommy Lee Jones playing Ty Cobb and Robert Wuhl playing Al Stump, the man who wrote the biography of Ty Cobb. It wasn't a major hit but it was a pretty good movie.

posted by BornIcon at 01:04 PM on May 15, 2007

How many knew who Rube Foster was until Buck talked about him in the article? To be honest, if it wasn't for that article, I would have never known who Rube Foster was. I've seen movies portraying the Negro League like "Soul of the Game" but that mainly was about Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson. There was no mention made about Rube Foster.

posted by BornIcon at 01:32 PM on May 15, 2007

Jazzdog, Shoeless Joe Jackson was found innocent of all the charges but still was kept from playing baseball by the biggest idiot of all time Judge Landis who single-handlely almost ruin baseball with his actions and rules, regulations dos and don'ts and whatever. Ruth told Landis to kiss off a number of times but by that time Ruth was baseball.

posted by The Old Man at 02:51 PM on May 15, 2007

Rube Foster

posted by Joey Michaels at 09:25 PM on May 15, 2007

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