Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn threw it way, way back for his jersey choice this week.
On Sunday, he paid homage to Rocky Mount, N.C. native and National Baseball Hall of Famer Walter Fenner “Buck” Leonard. Leonard played first base for the Negro League’s Homestead Grays from 1935 to 1948.
Chinn in the Homestead Grays jersey
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 17, 2021
He amassed 95 home runs, 550 runs batted in and 534 runs scored at a sparkling career batting average of .345 over his 14-year career. Leonard was a 13-time All-Star, a three-time Negro World Series champion and a two-time batting champion.
Leonard was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, one year after legendary pitcher Satchel Paige was inducted as the sport’s very first Negro Leaguer. He entered the Hall alongside Josh Gibson, his long-time Grays teammate whom he batted back-to-back with from 1937 to 1946.
After a year in the Mexican League in 1951, Buck was offered a major league contract at 45 years old. He would, however, turn the offer down due to his age. He passed in 1997 at 90 years old.
Here’s how the rest of the Carolina sports legends have stacked up for Chinn thus far:
Preseason Week 2: Charlotte Hornets guard Muggsy Bogues
Preseason Week 3: Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers
Week 1: Davidson College guard Stephen Curry
Week 2: University of South Carolina wide receiver Sterling Sharpe
Week 5: Carolina Hurricanes center Rod Brind’Amour