Follow me
Buck O'Neil
Follow me
Buck O'Neil
2006
ceramic w/ found objects
28 x 31
Available for purchase. Please contact the artist.
A solid first baseman in his time, O’Neil is also regarded as much for his years as manager of the legendary Kansas City Monarchs. O’Neil would later record one of the most significant, and often overlooked, milestones in baseball history by becoming the first black major league coach in 1962 with the Chicago Cubs. For the many who have seen Ken Burns’s landmark documentary Baseball, O’Neil gave viewers a poignant entree into the Negro Leagues through his candid interviews. Until his death in 2007, Buck O’Neil spent his retirement as a patriarch of the historic Negro Leagues and a great ambassador to baseball.

This cracked ceramic portrait is the third and best version of prior attempts that were inexplicably exploding in the kiln. During the course of production in 2006, I learned that O’Neil had made the final balloting for a Negro Leagues induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown that would eventually include 17 individuals. Most assumed that he and the only other living nominee, Orestes “Minnie” Minoso, would undoubtedly be inducted. They were not. At this point the work changed course. I decided to keep the damaged-but-intact portrait and place it, partially embedded, in a very institutional looking framework.

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Fine art by Phillip Dewey 734-277-3805