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Bob Kendrick, ‘85, Buck O’Neil

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A legendary friendship Park alumnus continues the mission of baseball pioneer

From left to right: Bob Kendrick, Buck O’Neil and then Astros pitcher Roger Clemens.

By Stephen Wilson, contributing writer

If you’ve read The Soul of Baseball — a book by The Kansas City Star sports columnist Joe Posnanski chronicling travels across America with baseball pioneer Buck O’Neil — you know Bob Kendrick. Even if you haven’t read the book, odds are you recognize the name Buck O’Neil. To say that O’Neil (1911–2006) was a baseball legend is an understatement — and Kendrick, a 1985 Park graduate and vice president of marketing at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum — was that legend’s right-hand man. Fall 2009 - 18

O’Neil played for and managed the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues before becoming the first black coach in Major League Baseball. He became one of the most recognizable faces in Kansas City. He knew everyone — baseball fan or not.

From fan to friend

Bob Kendrick was fortunate to call O’Neil a dear friend. “It was incredible,” Kendrick said about the extraordinary experience accompanying O’Neil for Posnanski’s

book that captures the baseball legend’s memories and encounters with fans. “When we were in the midst of it, we were all lamenting how much we were on the road. Buck would say ‘your wife isn’t going to let you back in the house’ because we were gone so much. I look back on it now as the greatest summer of my life.” Over the years, Kendrick worked closely with O’Neil to put the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving the Negro Leagues’ history, on the national map.

Park Magazine, Fall 2009  
Park Magazine, Fall 2009  

Park University alumni magazine, published Fall 2009