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T-Bones Sign “Buck” O’Neil; “Patriarch of Independent Baseball” To Be Oldest to Play Professionally

07/14/2006 1:52 PM - KANSAS CITY – The independent Kansas City T-Bones of the Northern League have signed baseball icon John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil to a one-day contract, effective Tuesday, July 18, the team announced Tuesday. O’Neil will become the oldest professional baseball player in history, at 94 years, seven months and 28 days, surpassing Minnie Minoso, who played in 2003 at the age of 80. As well, the Sioux Falls Canaries recently batted 83-year-old Jim Eriotes; O'Neil will supercede the South Dakota octogenarian.

“Buck will lead off the Northern League All-Star Game as a representative of the T-Bones,” said T-Bones Owner and CEO John Ehlert. “Buck has always said that the Negro Leagues were the original independent league, and Buck is the patriarch of independent baseball.”

The T-Bones have been vigorously soliciting signatures for a petition demanding the election of O’Neil to the Baseball Hall of Fame, as he was unjustifiably left off the induction list on February 28 of this year. “The reason we’re signing Buck is to increase awareness of this petition,” said T-Bones Vice President and General Manager Rick Muntean. “It was a travesty that Buck wasn’t elected to the Hall earlier this year and we need to right this wrong.”

O’Neil will also speak at the All-Star Luncheon, to take place at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center at 11:30 am on July 18. For more information on the luncheon, please call the T-Bones at (913)328-BALL (2255) or visit tbonesbaseball.com.

For more information on “Buck” O’Neil and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, please visit nlbm.com.