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Pat O’Connell

First Base
  • 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.

Auction History

William Hassamaer

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Kansas City
  • Team: Blues (WA)
  • League: Western Association

William Louis Hassamaer (1864-1910) played outfield for three seasons in the National League. His rookie campaign was with the Senators in 1894, the team he would start the ‘95 season with before being sent to Louisville, where he would finish his ML career a year later. Bill made a splash in his first year in the big leagues. On June 13, 1894 he became the 30th ML player to hit for the cycle, in a game against the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The feat had actually been accomplished 36 times previously. Curry Foley recorded the first cycle in 1882 (some sources cite a 1st cycle by George Hall in 1876); Long John Reilly recorded three cycles with the Reds between their stints in both the AA & NL (his first two cycles were only seven days apart); and Dave Orr, Tip O'Neil, Pete Browning & Mike Tiernan had each recorded two cycles by the time Hassamaer earned his membership to the elite club.

Hassamaer’s debut was auspicious in every sense that rookie year. He hit .322 with four homers and 90 RBI. He showed some speed as well, stealing 16 bases. Unfortunately, Hassamaer’s performance would steadily decline thereafter. He never again attained any of the offensive output of that first season. His second year with Washington saw his average drop to .278 with a tail-off in every category. He was purchased by Louisville for $200 on August 23, 1895. The move to Kentucky only sent Bill’s record into a deeper spiral. He batted a mere .208 for the 23 games he played at the end of the ‘95 season. Despite this meager accomplishment, the Colonels gave Hassamaer another shot in ‘96, but his .245 average with little power proved too little and he was released after only 30 games.

Prior to joining the National League, Bill had a successful tenure in the minors. He had begun in 1887 with the Western League’s Kansas City Cowboys, playing full time and hitting .371. After a second year in KC, he bounced around a number of teams and his average fluctuated wildly. His efforts for the Montgomery Colts of the Southern Association in 1893 paved the way for his major league call-up when he hit .321.

  • Hassamaer’s swan song came with the Bridgeport Orators of the Connecticut League in 1899 where he played for the club’s namesake and manager, Jim “The Orator” O’Rourke. O’Rourke had enjoyed one of the finest playing careers in the early game and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945

Auction History

William Tuckerman

  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: St. Paul
  • Team: Apostles
  • League: Western Association

William H. Tuckerman (1866-1904) pitched for five seasons in the minors beginning in 1886 with Brockton of the New England League, close to his Connecticut roots. On July 16 of his rookie year, young Tuckerman hurled a no-hitter against the Boston Blues. He moved west to Minnesota and Wisconsin before landing with the Apostles of St. Paul for the 1888-’89 seasons. William had an outstanding campaign in ‘88. His 17-12 record belied an outstanding 1.74 ERA, sixth in the Western Association. Unfortunately, Tuckerman lost that command. In 1889, still with St. Paul, he saw his ERA rise to 3.49 with a 14-13 record. He did not play in ‘90 but re-emerged back home with the Providence Clamdiggers of the Eastern Association in ‘91. He won three and lost one with a fine 2.15 ERA before leaving pro ball..

  • Tuckerman was captured by the Old Judge photographer in his Apostles uniform in 1889. The five images show him in a right-handed pitching motion. Curiously, William is called A. M. Tuckerman in all the offered examples of those cards. Baseball Reference has him as William H. Tuckerman and we cannot account for the mix-up other than attributing it to the rough-and-tumble touring the Old Judge men did, trying to memorialize as many players of the day as they could.
  • 1889 was a milestone of a much different order for Tuckerman than being caught by the Old Judge camera. He married Evelyn Walsworth on April 18 back in Rhode Island in Westerly, the town he died in at an early age in 1904

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 466-2

Hunkey Hines

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Whites (WA)
  • League: Western Association

Henry Fred Hines (1867-1928) was a fireplug of an outfielder. While his major league experience was ever so brief - two games with the Brooklyn Bridegrooms in 1895 - Hines enjoyed a long career in professional baseball. He began as a teenager in 1887 with the Milwaukee Cream Cities, getting into a mere nine games, but that humble beginning launched him into a 19-season career that didn’t end until 1910 when Hunkey played for and managed the Joliet Jolly-ites/Sterling Infants of the Northern Association. By the time Hunkey became an "Infant," he was 42 years old. The available data show that Hines’ career batting average was .250, precisely what he achieved in those two games in Brooklyn where he got two hits and walked twice in two games. The Illinois native spent most of his minor league time in the greater midwest, but he did venture as far west as the Bay Area’s Oakland Oaks in 1891 and ‘93. He played two seasons for the Detroit Tigers when they were in the Western League, 1900-01. In 1906 Hines was in the deep south playing for the Baton Rouge Cajuns, evidence that baseball afforded the sturdy Hunkey a tour of much of the continent.

  • Hines’ best year at the plate was a startling .427 for the Minneapolis Minnies in 1894. This wasn’t a fluke. Hunkey had 586 at bats that career-year when he also clubbed 34 home runs. He never hit more than six in any other season of his long career

Auction History

John Shaw

  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: Minneapolis
  • Team: Millers
  • League: Western Association

John Shaw made his mark in 19th century baseball via his six-photo spread in the Old Judge catalog when he was pictured in his Minneapolis Millers uniform in 1887/88. John had been the regular shortstop for the Millers in ‘87, but as the next campaign began he was shuttled down to New Orleans in what was described by The Sporting News as a cost-saving move by Minneapolis management. Shaw was said to be “a rattling good hitter and a fine base runner.” Yet, the News speculated he was let go because he was a “high priced man whom the club did not want.” The team had signed future major leaguer Joe Walsh to play short and Shaw was expendable. John had begun in 1884 with the Boston Reserves of the Massachusetts State Association and knocked around New England with Portland, Brockton, Newburyport and back to Boston’s Blues in 1886. Shaw’s move to the Twin Cities allowed him to post his career year in ‘87. He hit .292, playing every day at shortstop. The forced move south didn’t sit well with poor Shaw. He joined the Pelicans for the 1888 season and found himself mired in a slump that left him with a pitiful .143 average in a mere four games. The spotty minor league data of the era show only that Shaw finished the ‘88 season with Easton of the Central League with no stats available.

  • The Sporting News coverage of Shaw’s move to the Crescent City gives a glimpse into the day-to-day updates available for fans of the era. The reporter noted that “Advance money and a ticket was sent Shaw this morning and he will come south at once.”
  • One is left to surmise that John had to pay his own way to Pennsylvania for the ignominious conclusion to his tenure in pro ball

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 414-1