Pat O’Connell

First Base
  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Omaha
  • Team: Omahogs
  • League: Western Association

Patrick H. O’Connell (1861-1943) had a very short-lived experience in the majors. He played mostly outfield during part of the 1886 season for the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association. He started 41 of his 42 games in the field, played one at first base and relieved for three innings in a game. His woeful batting (.181 average) was eclipsed by his even more inept play in the pastures as he committed 17 errors on 78 chances. By contrast, Jumbo Davis, the third baseman, handled 231 plays and muffed only 35 at the hot corner. O’Connell’s path crossed with Sandy Nava in his last appearance in the majors that season. Nava was the first known Mexican-American to play in the big leagues and was closing out what had been primarily a National League career.

Pat had broken in with Lawrence of the Eastern New England League in 1885.  The Maine native continued briefly with Lawrence the next year before going back closer to home in Portland prior to making the jump to the AA later in ‘86. O’Connell found more playing time out west. He moved to Oshkosh in the Northwestern League for the ‘87 season and saw the most action of his pro career. He played regularly at first base and hit a resounding .354 in 116 games. From Wisconsin, Pat’s playing career declined quickly. He got into 84 games with the Omaha Omahogs in ‘88 and fewer than half that for two clubs the next year. After several years absence, Pat resurfaced in 1895 with the New Bedford Whalers of the New England League. At 34 he was the old man on the club.

  • The Old Judge production department oftentimes misidentified Pat O’Connell on his cards as being a member of the Des Moines Prohibitionists of the Western League, occasionally listing his name as “Connell.” A Peter J. Connell did play for Des Moines that year, and is one of 39 subjects who make a one pose appearance in the Old Judge cannon. (Mike Dorgan, by contrast, singularly leads the OJ cohort with 17 different poses.) Because of the confusion, this Pat O’Connell is oftentimes cited as PJ O’Connell. Such mix-ups are fairly common in the OJ series as the intrepid Old Judge crew sought to document as many players as possible in an era of shoddy record-keeping.

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