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Archive for Friday, December 8, 2006

Buck O’Neil to receive Medal of Freedom

December 8, 2006

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Kansas City baseball legend Buck O'Neil will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Thursday.

O'Neil, who died Oct. 6 at age 94, was among 10 Americans named to the honor, the nation's highest civilian award.

A White House statement said O'Neil "represented excellence and determination both on and off the baseball field" as a player and manager in the Negro Leagues.

O'Neil became Major League Baseball's first black coach and was a co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. He earned worldwide fame in 1994 after historian Ken Burns featured him in the documentary "Baseball."

In February, he fell one vote short of making the Hall of Fame.

The other recipients are literacy advocate Ruth Johnson Colvin; Norman C. Francis, president of Xavier University of Louisiana; historian and author Paul Johnson; singer and guitarist B.B. King; Nobel Prize-winning scientist Joshua Lederberg; historian and author David McCullough; former transportation secretary Norman Y. Mineta; writer and commentator William Safire; and human rights activist Natan Sharansky.

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