On July 30, 2006, Negro League legend Buck O’Neil gave a this speech, https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/buckoneilbaseballhalloffame.htm celebrating the induction of 17 Negro League ballplayers to the Baseball Hall of fame. As you watch the speech, you’ll probably see the joy in Buck’s face and hear the joy in his voice. You probably won’t feel any hint of disappointment about the fact that he missed being one of the inductees by a single vote!
Buck consistently made it know that his goal in life was to preserve the history and memories of the great ball players of the Negro Leagues. He also led by example. In the article “Buck O’Neil Was Always on Time,” February 5, 2021, SB Nation, Kenny Kelly, wrote, “Buck O’Neil was a great player and manager but he was an even greater ambassador.”
Kelly continued, “In 1990, O’Neil began work on building the Negro Leagues Baseball museum. Its first iteration was in a one-room office for which O’Neil and Frank White took turns paying the rent. An expanded museum eventually opened in 1994, and it expanded again in 1997. This time, the museum opened at 18th and Vine in Kansas City, where the Monarchs used to stay and rub shoulders with jazz musicians. It’s also just two blocks from the YMCA where Rube Foster and seven other owners founded the Negro National League.
So what’s the leadership lesson? In “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey wrote, “The Main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing? For Buck O’Neil, preserving the history of the Negro Leagues was the “main thing.” While being elected to the Hall of fame would be nice, it wasn’t the main thing? Buck’s main thing was bigger than the accolade of being elected to the Hall of Fame.
What’s your main thing? Do you know what your main thing is? If not, it might be worth taking some time to crystalize it and deciding what it will look like when you achieve it.
By the way, on December 5, 2021, Buck O’Neil was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He will be inducted next July in 2022.
Please tune into our show, Negro Leagues; The Passion, The Camaraderie, The Grit:
Every Tuesday, 9:00 Pacific, Noon Eastern; https://www.365sportscast.com/thenegroleagues Tuesday’s show features, a discussion on Outfielder Herbert Alphonse “Rap” Dixon. Guests will be Ann Bridges, from the Kingston’s Woman’s History Museum, India Garnett, Granddaughter of Paul Dixon and Grand-Niece of Rap Dixon, and Ted Knorr, researcher from the Society of American Baseball Research.
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