Walter "Buck" Leonard
Born in Rocky Mount in 1907, Walter Fenner “Buck” Leonard overcame a humble upbringing to become the greatest Negro Leagues baseball 1st baseman of all-time. From 1934 to ’50, he captained the great Homestead Grays of the Negro National League to 10 league championships and 3 Negro Leagues World Series titles. He was selected for a record 13 All-Star games, earning a reputation as one of the game’s most feared hitters and greatest gentlemen. 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 in 1972. Throughout his playing career, Leonard maintained his home in Rocky Mount. After his retirement from baseball, he became a widely-respected public servant, entrepreneur, and businessman, working as a truant officer and physical education instructor, before earning his real estate broker’s license. He was instrumental in the return of the Minor League Rocky Mount Leafs in 1962, serving as Vice President for the team until 1975. Leonard passed away in 1997 and is buried in Rocky Mount’s Gardens of Gesthemane cemetery.
Inducted into Hall of Fame 2004