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NLBM Celebrated Buck O’Neil’s life and legacy!

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum hosted the “Heart and Soul of Baseball” to celebrate the life and times of Buck O’Neil in honor the baseball legend’s 112th birthday

KANSAS CITY, MO. (November 21, 2023)No one loved a good party like the late, great Buck O’Neil and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) threw a big bash in his honor on Saturday, Nov. 11 when the museum played host to the “Heart & Soul of Baseball,” presented by the State of Missouri and Hy-Vee in recognition of his 112th birthday. O’Neil, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022, founded the NLBM in 1990 and served as the museum’s Board Chairman for 16 years.  

For more than a decade, O’Neil, born November 13, 1911, in Carrabelle, FL, used his birthday to help raise support and awareness for the NLBM and after his untimely passing in 2006 at age 94, the NLBM decided to continue the tradition of celebrating his illustrious life. During the ceremonial “Salute to Buck,” Missouri State Representatives Mark Sharp and Anthony T. Ealy Jr., wowed the audience when they presented a check on behalf of the State of Missouri, in the amount of $1.35 million in support of the NLBM. In addition, the NLBM honored Hy-Vee, Pendulum, and the Nashville Stars with the 2023 Buck O’Neil “Heart of a Champion” Award given for “outstanding support” of the of the museum. “Thanks to the State of Missouri, Hy-Vee and all of our partners and friends who helped make our Buck O’Neil 112th Birthday Bash a tremendous success,” said Bob Kendrick, NLBM President. “We don’t ever won’t people to forget Buck and what he meant to Kansas City, the baseball world, and our nation. It’s only fitting that we would celebrate his illustrious life and we are grateful for the tremendous support generated through his memory.”

The birthday bash concluded with soul-stirring concert performances by the incomparable Howard Hewett with special guest, chart-topping Smooth Jazz Saxophonist, Paul Taylor.

Check out the official 2023 Buck O’Neil Birthday Bash event photos here.  Bios can be referenced below for the 2023  Buck O’Neil “Heart of a Champion” Award Recipients.


Led by founding principal/owner, Jonathan Cole, Pendulum, is a Kansas City, Missouri-based architectural firm that specializes in the design and documentation of sports facilities, mixed-used development, boutique and commercial projects.

Pendulum has been a partner of the NLBM essentially since it’s inception in 2007. And as the museum prepared to lay the foundation for our future, we turned to Cole and Pendulum to create the vision for Buck’s new house. What they delivered was an architectural masterpiece that will not only become the international headquarters for Black baseball and social history but the gateway into Historic 18th & Vine.


Is it possible that an obscure Negro Leagues team could change the future of Major League Baseball (MLB)? Absolutely! You could say that it’s all written in the Stars. The Nashville Stars had a brief run in the Negro Southern League in the early 1950s but today is the brand that is leading the way for bringing the Music City an expansion MLB team.

Led by Managing Partner, John Loar, who founded Music City Baseball, LLC, and in partnership with the NLBM, the rebirth of the Nashville Stars is an unprecedented effort to secure a Major League franchise for Nashville that celebrates the legacy of the Negro Leagues. Since its inception in 2019, the Nashville Stars have been providing financial support to the NLBM from the sale of merchandise.


Hy-Vee has gone to bat for the NLBM for well over two decades. And we’re talking about a bat as big as the one the great Josh Gibson swung!

Headquartered in Des Moines, IA, the employee owned grocery store has not only extended financial support for various NLBM events and programs but has helped the museum build a strong base of individual donors through its customer base.

Hy-Vee’s partnership has resulted in some of the most fun and historically relevant promotions in museum history ranging from the creation of the Buck O’Neil Bobblehead series, Monarchs Legacy series and led last year’s Buck O’Neil Hall of Fame celebration. In 2021, the NLBM and Hy-Vee teamed to convert the museum into a Covid-19 vaccination clinic and administered over the life-saving vaccine to more than 2000 people.


The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America. The privately funded, 501 c3, not-for-profit organization was established in 1990 and is in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri’s Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. The NLBM operates two blocks from the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster established the Negro National League in 1920. The museum’s inception brought together the vision of a group of Kansas City business leaders, historians and former baseball players, headed by the legendary John “Buck” O‘Neil. For more information, visit

Museum Closure & Holiday Hours

In recognition of the Juneteenth Holiday the NLBM offices will be closed and the Exhibit and Gift Shop will be open from 10:00AM – 3:00PM on Wednesday, June 19. Normal hours  will resume on Thursday, June 20th