This outstanding first baseman was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 along with Yogi Berra and Sandy Koufax while never having played Major League Baseball. Walter “Buck” Leonard spent his entire 17-year career with the nine straight pennant winning (1937-1945) Negro League team, the Homestead Grays. His time with the team was the longest span of service with a single team in the history of the Negro League. Walter Leonard was described as one of the “best pure hitters to ever play in the Negro Leagues.” At 45 years of age he was finally offered a major league contract but declined it, considering himself too old for the opportunity. “In 1952, I knew I was over the hill,” Leonard said. “I didn't try to fool myself.” Sporting News ranked him No. 47 on its list of the Hundred Greatest Baseball Players. FYI: ‘Buck’ was 52 years old when he earned his high school diploma. There was no high school in his hometown of Rocky Mount, N.C. that offered an education for African Americans.
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