Baseball Hall of Famer & Negro Leagues Legend Walter Fenner 'Buck' Leonard

Walter Fenner 'Buck' Leonard

Walter Fenner “Buck” Leonard is largely considered the greatest Negro Leagues 1st baseman of all-time.  From 1934 to 1950, he captained the great Homestead Grays of the Negro National League to 10 league championships and 3 Negro Leagues World Series titles. He played in a record 12 All-Star games, earning a reputation as one of the game’s most feared hitters and greatest all-around stars. Though he never played in the Major Leagues, he has been considered one of the top 50 baseball players of all-time and was among the first 3 Negro Leaguers elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Leonard was born in Rocky Mount, NC in 1907, and grew up near the local ballpark. As a boy, he was once arrested for sneaking a peek at a segregated minor league baseball game. Without a high school for Black kids in the area, he went to work at 14, eventually putting brake cylinders on railroad cars. In the evenings and on weekends, he played semi-pro baseball. He lost his job during the depression in 1932 and left to pursue a career in professional baseball. Buck always maintained a home in Rocky Mount and when he returned home for good, he promptly earned his high school diploma. A true Renaissance Man, Buck held several jobs, including school district truant officer, physical education instructor and minor league baseball executive, before earning his real-estate broker license. He even built several homes that still stand in Rocky Mount today. 

Mr. Leonard was a role model and leader throughout his life. His legacy of deep commitment to faith, family and community is carried on today through the efforts of the Buck Leonard Association.

Gallery Buck Leonard

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