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City of Surprise News

Posted on: March 4, 2021

Surprise Parks & Recreation Commission Inducts Charley Pride & Buck O’Neil into Recreation Campus Ha

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The City of Surprise Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission has voted to induct Charley Pride and Buck O’Neil into the Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established to honor those who have contributed significantly to the Surprise Recreation Campus. 

Charley Pride, the legendary recording artist and performer who entertained millions around the world was no stranger to the game of baseball. Pride’s first love was baseball, and before his passing in 2020, he had been part of the Texas Rangers’ ownership group since 2010. Pride pitched in both the Negro and Minor Leagues throughout the 1950’s. He became a regular participant at Texas Rangers’ Spring Training Camps in the 1970’s and was a yearly visitor to Surprise since 2003, working out with the team and performing in an annual clubhouse concert for the organization.  

Buck O’Neil, a Kansas City baseball legend, contributed to the sport of baseball in a number of ways, including as a player, a manager, and later as a speaker and historian for the Negro League. He was an All-Star first baseman with the Kansas City Monarchs (1938-43, 45-55), a powerhouse group that won the 1942 Negro World Series and reached another in 1946. In 1962, he became the first black coach in Major League Baseball, working with the Chicago Cubs. He returned to Kansas City in 1988, joining the Royals organization as a scout, before making one of his biggest contributions to the sport, helping to establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in 1994. O’Neil garnered many honors following his death in 2006, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by then-President George W. Bush; the first Major League Baseball Beacon of Life Award; as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which was named after him. Fans all over the world cherished O’Neil’s storytelling and infectious smile.

Other 2021 Hall of Fame inductees include: Gold Glove winners Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers; and Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals. 

The Commission would also like to formally recognize 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Mike Planeta. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Planeta could not be formally recognized last year for his impact on the Surprise Recreation Campus. As a long-time member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, Planeta advocated to ensure that the quality of recreation facilities and programming in Surprise remained at a first-class level. Serving with the City of Phoenix Fire Department for 33 years, Mike donated countless hours to many different organizations in the City of Surprise in his time away from the station.

The City of Surprise would like to congratulate all inductees and thank them for their positive impact on both the Surprise Recreation Campus and the overall image of the City. 

A presentation of the Hall of Fame plaques will take place at Surprise Stadium prior to the start of the March 26 Spring Training game, featuring our Spring Training home teams – the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. The plaques will be hung in the stadium concourse, alongside those of past Hall of Fame recipients. 

The Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame was initiated in 2009. 

For more information on Surprise Stadium and the Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame, including a list of past inductees, please visit http://bit.ly/3qO5MWM or call 623.222.2000.

See press release...
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