Cinders O’Brien

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Cleveland
  • Team: Spiders
  • League: National League

John F. O’Brien (1867-1892) pitched four seasons in the majors, changing leagues every year. He played in the AA, the NL, & the Players’ League – all for Cleveland teams, and moved to the Boston Reds in the AA for the 1891 season, his last due to his untimely death from pneumonia the next year.

  • Had signed with Cincinnati to play in ’92 but passed away at his home in Troy, NY
  • Was 18-13 for the pennant-winning Boston club in ‘91

Auction History

Darby O’Brien

Outfield
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Bridegrooms
  • League: American Association

William D. O’Brien (1863-1893) was an outfielder for the NY Metropolitans in his rookie year, 1887, and then played five years with the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. A speedster, O’Brien stole 321 bases in his illness-shortened career, hitting .282 with an OBP of .344. One of those with the distinction of playing for Brooklyn’s pennant winners in the AA in ’89 and NL in 1890.

  • Ill when he reported for spring training in ’93, team raised money and sent him to CO to heal
  • The weakened O’Brien succumbed to typhoid fever at the age of 29

Auction History

Jack O’Brien

Catcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Baltimore
  • Team: Orioles
  • League: American Association

John K. O'Brien (nee Bryne) (1860-1910) was a rare find for Billy Sharsig and his Athletics in 1881--a catcher who could hit. Jack joined the new franchise in its season in the Eastern Championship League and stayed on when the club joined the American Association the following year. By the '83 season, Jack would lead his team to the pennant, driving in a team-high 70 runs with a .290 average. O'Brien had entered baseball out west with the San Francisco-Reno team in the Pacific League as a raw 19 year old. He eventually played six of his eight major league seasons with the Athletics, for whom he always hit remarkably well for his position and era. His two years away from Philly with Brooklyn and Baltimore were struggles for him at the plate, but still exceeded the usual output for a catcher. Overall, Jack had a lifetime .266 BA in 555 games, driving in 308.

  • Proving he wasn't quite done after his final year in Philadelphia, O'Brien signed on for the 1891 season with the St. Paul Apostles/Duluth Whalebacks of the Western Association where he hit .317 in 97 games
  • In SF, Jack played with Sandy Nava, who would become the first Mexican-American in the major leagues with Providence and Baltimore
  • Although the Old Judge series features nine known poses of Jack O'Brien, I could not find one of suitable quality for this project. This image is taken from an Old Judge proof taken at the same time as O'Brien's other OJ images and may represent an as-of-yet undiscovered pose.
  • O'Brien’s uniform color on this card was changed in May, 2017 from black/red to blue/red to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Two cards had been previously released featuring a black uniform.

Auction History

Hank O’Day

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Nationals
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

“The Reverend” (1859-1935). O’Day was a pitcher & occasional position player over 7 ML seasons for 5 teams. Hank then umpired for 30 years, interrupting his tenure twice: to manage the Cincinnati Reds in 1912 and the Chicago Cubs in 1914.

  • Member of ’89 Champion Giants
  • Umpired 10 World Series
  • Officiated Merkle’s Boner
  • Called 4 no-hitters in 4 decades
  • Only person to play, manage & umpire in NL
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 2013

Auction History

Tip O’Neill

Outfield
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Browns (AA)
  • League: American League
  • Hall: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

James Edward O’Neill (1858-1915) came out of Woodstock, Ontario to take the American Association by storm, becoming Canada’s Babe Ruth. Tip debuted with the NL’s Gothams in 1883 as a pitcher, receiving tepid reviews. He made a better impression on Charles Comiskey who signed him the next season in St. Louis to replace switch-pitching Tony Mullane. The following year theWoodstock Wonder came into his own at the plate. He became the Browns’ best hitter and led the team to four straight pennants, then falling second to Brooklyn in ‘89. Ever loyal to Comiskey, Tip followed his leader to the Players’ League Chicago Pirates, back to St. Louis in ‘91 and on to Cincinnati for his final campaign the next year. In his decade at the pinnacle of the game, O’Neill established one of the best hitting records of the 19th century: .326 BA, .458 slugging and a Triple Crown. He and Paul Hines remain the only such champions eligible for the Hall to be excluded (a fate shared with all the greats who played primarily in the AA, save for Bid McPhee).

  • Tip’s excellence is commemorated north of the border with the Tip O’Neill Award given annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
  • U.S. Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill was nicknamed after James
  • Elected to Canadian BB Hall of Fame: 1983

Auction History

Jim O’Rourke

Outfield
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

James Henry O’Rourke (1850-1919) made the National League’s first base hit, and went on to a 21-year, Hall of Fame career. From 1876-92, only Cap Anson played in more games or got more hits. After leaving MLB for the minors, O’Rourke returned for his swan song with his pal John McGraw’s Giants, becoming the oldest player (at 54) to play in the NL and to get a hit.

  • Played for 5 pennant winners and was NA HR champ in 1874-75
  • One of only 29 to play in MLB in four decades
  • Entered the HOF as one of the first 19th Century players to do so
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1945

Auction History

Dave Orr

First Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Bridegrooms
  • League: American Association

David L. Orr (1859-1915). A 1st baseman for 5 teams over 7 major league seasons, Orr was one of the best hitters of the 1880s. Largely forgotten today, Orr may have made a case for the Hall of Fame were it not for a career-ending, paralyzing stroke suffered on the field in 1890. Dave’s .342 lifetime average is 11th all-time & in 4 of 7 seasons, his closest comp is Dan Brouthers.

Brouthers himself believed Orr was the greatest hitter of his time:

"The greatest hitter that ever played ball was old Dave Orr. He didn't care whether they were over the plate or not. If they were within reach of that long bat of his he would hit them out, and when he hit them there was no telling whether they would be found again or not. I have always held that Dave Orr was the strongest and best hitter that ever played ball." - Dan Brouthers, Sporting Life, 1894

  • Won AA batting title: 1884
  • Won AA RBI crown: 1884
  • Lead AA in hits: 1884 & 1886
  • Lead AA in triples: 1885 & 1886

Auction History