Don't Pass This Buck

A Negro League Monarch

Let's not get our baseball stars confused with real heroes, okay? As we all should know by now, Joe Majorleague can pop a few pills, balloon to Michelin-Man size and break hundred-year-old batting records; that shouldn't put him in the same echelon as Rosa Parks or Albert Einstein, but of course, in the popular imagination, it always does.

Bona fide sports heroes, like Billie Jean King or Jackie Robinson, don't come along so often. Many of them you probably haven't heard of, either. Take Buck O'Neil -- after a long career playing and managing in baseball's Negro League (most notably for the Kansas City Monarchs), O'Neil became the first African-American coach in the majors when he took a job with the Chicago Cubs in 1962. Breaking the color barrier, to put it mildly, was not an easy undertaking.

Buck: Right on Time, an exhibit created by Kansas City's Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, chronicles O'Neil's journey (January 30 through February 8 in the College Center at St. Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters, free, 636-922-8261). -- Byron Kerman

An exhibit on Negro League legend Buck O'Neil drops at St. Charles Community College
An exhibit on Negro League legend Buck O'Neil drops at St. Charles Community College

Masterskaters

FRI 1/30

With John McEnroe's admission of steroid use during his tennis-playing years, figure skating is now the last professional sport that can claim to be performance enhancing drug-free. There ain't a 'roid out there that will make you spin faster, do that wiggly arm/hand thing smoother or make you look better in a rhinestone-studded, formfitting jump suit. So parents, if you're looking for a sport for your kid to take up that won't lead to an oversize heart and blind rages, get to the Savvis Center (14th Street at Clark Avenue, 314-241-1888) for Smucker's Stars on Ice. Champeen skaters Scott Hamilton and Ekaterina Gordeeva headline a massive cast of skaters who will leap, spin, salchow and otherwise inspire your kids to perform good, clean, athletic endeavors. And don't worry, these skaters make a boatload of endorsement cash after they go pro, so you'll be set up in your old age. Tickets are $25 to $83, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. -- Paul Friswold

All 'Toons
No goons

SUN 2/1

Hype, thy name is Super Bowl. The big game is afflicted with a chronic case of entertainment bloat: Between the hours of pregame chatter, the irritating million-dollar commercials and the embarrassing halftime show, you might see a few minutes of mediocre football. Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street, 314-351-5711) has the antidote: hours of pure Looney Tunes thrills instead of the tiresome corporate goon fight in Houston. Fred's No-Football Super Bowl Sunday Looney Tunes Laserdisc Marathon (free, 4 p.m.) may not feature Panthers or Patriots, but you'll be laughing (and drinking) too hard to miss 'em. -- Jason "Looney" Toon

 
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