Few handled injustice better than Hall of Famer Buck Leonard. The Homestead Grays’ first baseman was one of the greatest players in baseball, but was never allowed to play in the Major Leagues.
Leonard was a thoughtful, modest person, who celebrated his years in the Negro Leagues rather than becoming embittered. His words show what it means to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
"I was in Cooperstown the day Satchel Paige was inducted (1971), and I stayed awake almost all that night thinking about it. It's something you never had any dream you'd ever see. Like men walking on the moon. I always wanted to go up there to Cooperstown. You felt like you had a reason, because it's the home of baseball, but you didn't have a special reason. We never thought we'd get in the Hall of Fame. We thought the way we were playing was the way it was going to continue. I never had any dream it would come. But that night I felt like I was part of it at last."
On August 7, 1972, Leonard joined Paige in the Hall of Fame:
"Sometimes we baseball players think our greatest thrill comes from something we do on the baseball field. But my greatest thrill did not come from a homerun that I hit nor a catch that I made or stealing a base. I ought not to have said that, maybe. But anyway, my greatest thrill came from what somebody did for me. And that was to select me for the Baseball Hall of Fame."
I’m sure the 2007 inductees will be proud to join him.