Carrabelle native Buck O’Neil joins Baseball Hall of Fame

The city of Carrabelle will soon see one of its own inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 8:37 PM EST
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CARRABELLE, Fla. (WCTV) - The city of Carrabelle will soon see one of its own inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Carrabelle native Buck O’Neil was a talented baseball player who broke barriers for Black athletes. He died in 2006 and was elected to the Hall of Fame this month.

Staff at the Carrabelle History Museum say O’Neil is a legend, not just because of his athletic talent, but because he paved the way for countless Black athletes to follow in his footsteps.

“We’re just proud to be his hometown,” Carrabelle History Museum Director Tamara Allen said. “And we’re just delighted that he is finally getting the recognition that he deserves.”

O’Neil was a star player in the Negro American League and became the first Black coach in the major league.

He was first nominated for the hall of fame in 2006 but didn’t get the votes to be inducted.

“The fact that he was finally admitted to the Hall of Fame tries to write a historical wrong,” Fred Flowers said.

Flowers is a Buck O’Neil enthusiast. Flowers became FSU’s first Black athlete back in 1965, so he understands the importance of being the first to break a barrier.

“The job is to be a bridge builder between two segregated worlds,” Flowers said. “And over that bridge, many people can come afterward.”

As a coach and talent scout, O’Neil helped many Black baseball players cross that bridge.

Throughout his life, he stayed true to his Carrabelle roots.

“He would come back here to the county even when he was famous and just hang out with kids playing baseball,” Allen said. “He never forgot where he came from.”

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