Buck Leonard and James A. Riley
This is Buck’s story in his own words, tracing his life from his humble beginnings to the present. Not only an eyewitness account of the history of the Negro leagues told by one of the all-time greats, it is also a saga of the black experience, vividly illustrating what it was like to be a black American in the years before our country’s social conscience was awakened.
The book traces Buck’s life from a fatherless eleven-year-old boy, shining shoes to help support his family, through his seventeen seasons with the Homestead Grays, who won nine consecutive pennants. He and his legendary teammate Josh Gibson formed a power tandem that earned them the designation of the black Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
By proving their ability to perform at a major-league level, the outstanding players like Leonard nudged the major leagues’ door ajar for Jackie Robinson and subsequent players to step through. But even as he gained acclaim in the nearly invisible world of black sports in America, he never dared dream that one day he would be enshrined among the immortals in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.