Jack O’Brien

  • Card 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.

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