Buck Leonard
Buck Leonard
mixed media with found objects
10 x 12
Available for purchase. Please contact the artist.
Walter Fenner “Buck” Leonard was probably the most complete player in the Negro Leagues. The left-handed first baseman was appropriately compared to Lou Gehrig. Leonard was the most feared hitter in black baseball during the 1930’s-40’s and his ability on the field was, as one reporter put it, “way beyond the reach of 99 percent of Major League first basemen.” Leonard’s reliability and good nature earned him the respect and admiration of his teammates and opponents. Except for his rookie year with the Brooklyn Royal Giants, Leonard spent his 17-year career with the Homestead Grays, probably a record itself for any player in black baseball.
There was serious interest in Buck Leonard from the Major Leagues eight years prior to Robinson signing with Brooklyn, but it remained just talk. When Leonard was finally offered a chance at the Majors in 1952 with the St Louis Browns he was nearly 45 years old and he declined. He spent a few years in the Mexican and Minor leagues, and in his last year with Durango he banged out 13 home runs in 62 games, finishing the season with a .312 batting average.