Tip O’Neill

  • Card 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

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