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The Greatest Thing!


Meet John Jordan ‘Buck’ O’Neil Jr., baseball player extraordinaire and eternal optimist. Follow him on his journey from childhood dreams, to playing baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs, to becoming the first African American coach in the major leagues. He is a baseball legend who showed the world how to live, love, and play ball.

The Greatest Thing: A Story

About Buck O'Neil is an

illustrated children's book on

the life of Buck O'Neil.  




My husband and I are both educators in the Kansas City area and we have often wanted to find a picture book about Buck O’Neil to share with our students. Many people know about the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat at the Royals’ stadium.  An honored community member gets to sit in the very same seat in which Buck sat during the Royals’ games. But I want to make sure people remember the man behind the seat! He was more than an amazing baseball player. He had a larger-than-life personality, spreading love and kindness everywhere he went. Buck would want kids everywhere to go out and play baseball after reading this book. If the weather wasn’t right for baseball, he would want those kids to go to Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. As the author of the book, I hope readers take away not only his love for baseball but Buck’s immense joy and love of life. Even through the hardest of times, he continually poured love into every situation. And I think our world could use a little more of Buck’s love.



I was lucky enough to get to see him speak live once and I became an instant fan. Most older adults in our area remember Buck O’Neil and probably smile just thinking about what a wonderful man he was. He continues to be honored in many ways within our Kansas City community and beyond. There’s a lifetime achievement award in his honor, the legacy seat at Kauffman Stadium, a bronzed statue of him stands at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, a baseball complex is named after him in Florida, to name a few. As an educator, I want our children to remember him. I want our children to get to know him. I want our children to be inspired by him.  And I want them to help keep his memory alive forever.

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