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Buck Leonard Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: September 8, 1907 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Died: November 27, 1997 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina
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Born: September 8, 1907 in Rocky Mount, NC Inducted into the Hall of Fame by Negro League Committee as Player in 1972. Died: November 27, 1997 in Rocky Mount, NC (Aged 90)BUCK LEONARD This article was written by Ralph Berger and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research Negro league fans called him "the black Lou Gehrig," putting Buck Leonard in pretty lofty company. It didn't hurt Buck that he followed Josh Gibson, "the black Babe Ruth," in the Homestead Grays' lineup. Was Buck Leonard the equal of Gehrig as a first baseman and hitter? He probably was a better first baseman than the Iron Horse, having acquired a reputation for being very good around the bag, whereas Lou was essentially adequate. Was he the hitter that Gehrig was? Probably not. Leonard's .328 batting average and .532 slugging percentage as listed in The Baseball Encyclopedia are impressive, but he's a dozen points behind Gehrig in average and an even hundred short in slugging. More recently, Lawrence Hogan calculates his numbers a bit lower, at .320 and .527. Leonard was an excellent hitter, but Gehrig was in a class almost by himself. Moreover, while Buck often faced exceptional talent, it wasn't always major-league caliber. As men of dignity and universal respect, however, Gehrig and Leonard are, in essence, twins.Walter "Buck" Leonard's road to the Baseball Hall of Fame was no cakewalk. He had to leave the public school system at age 14 because where he lived there was no school for African American boys at the high school level. For the next 12 years until he was 26, he worked as a mill hand, shoeshine boy, and finally shop worker for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.Buck Leonard was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on September 8, 1907. His father John was a railroad fireman and his mother Emma Leonard (nee Sesson) a housewife. Buck Leonard was one of six children, including three sisters (Fanny, Willa, and Lena) and two brothers (Herman and Charlie). His family was religious and attended church every Sunday. Buck wasn't able to go to church as often as he wished when playing baseball but in retirement resumed his church going every Sunday. Leonard got his nickname "Buck" from his younger brother Charlie. Leonard's parents nicknamed him Buddy, but Charlie had trouble pronouncing Buddy and called him Bucky.
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