This Day in Washington Baseball History...

The Continuing Attempt To Educate A Montreal Fan About DC Baseball History...

Jim O'Neill played only two seasons in Washington, DC, in 1920 and 1923, batting .289 in 86 games and 294 at bats in 1920 when O'Neill collected 85 hits, 17 doubles, 7 triples, 1 HR and 40 RBI's with 7 stolen bases as a twenty-seven year old rookie Senator, and then three years later, O'Neill returned for 23 games and 33 at bats collecting 9 more hits and 3 RBI's, for a .273 AVG in what would be his final Major League season.

Born James Leo O'Neill on February 23, 1893 in Minooka, Pennsylvania, Jim O'Neill was one of four O'Neill brothers to make it to the big leagues along with John Joseph "Jack" O'Neill, born January 10, 1873 and Michael Joyce "Mike" O'Neill, born on September 7, 1877, both of whom were apparently born before the O'Neill family came to America, as both have a birthplace of Maam, Ireland listed in their profiles at baseballreference.com, while Jim, and Stephen Francis "Steve" O'Neill, born July 6, 1891 are listed as having been born in Minooka.  

Jack O'Neill debuted in the Majors with St. Louis, playing alongside his brother Mike O'Neill, hard-hitting Homer Stoot, and the Player/Manager of the Cardinals in 1902, Patsy Donovan.

A light-hitting catcher, Jack O'Neill lasted just five seasons in the Majors, batting .196 with 99 hits in 303 games, to go with 13 doubles, 3 triples, 1 HR and 74 RBI's for the Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and finally the Boston Beaneaters in his last season in 1906.

According to baseball-reference.com, Mike O'Neill was known as Michael Joyce in his rookie season in St. Louis where the pitcher debuted in 1901, a year before his older brother Jack joined him on the Cardinals, going (2-2) in 4 starts, with 4 complete games, a shutout and 16 K's in 41. 0 innings. Mike O'Neill pitched a total of four seasons in St. Louis, going (32-44) in 77 starts, with 2 saves, and 228 K's from 1901-1904.

Steve O'Neill started his Major League career in 1911 with the Cleveland Naps, another catcher like his brother Jack, but a better hitter who hit as high as .322 in 1921 and the next season collected a career-high 65 RBI's while batting .311 for Cleveland, where he spent all but four of his Major League seasons before ending his career with stops in Boston (1924), New York ('25) and St. Louis where he played two seasons with the Browns in '27 and '28 before going on to manage the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies to a combined 1040-821 record over 14 seasons from 1935-1954, even leading the Tigers to a World Series win in 1945 with (25-9) pitcher Hal Newhouser and a then-thirty-four year old "Hammerin" Hank Greenberg leading the way.

In Jim O'Neill's last season in DC, Muddy Ruel had taken over the everyday catching duties, thirty-five year old future Hall of Fame pitcher Walter "Big Train" Johnson led the team with 17 wins and Johnson's fellow Hall of Famer Bucky Harris, hard hitting Goose Goslin and Sam Rice led a team a "hall of fame names" like Ossie Bluege, Pinky Hargrave, Showboat Fisher, Skipper Friday and Firpo Marberry to a 74-79 record and a 4th place finish in the American League one year before Washington would win its first World Series.

 Jim O'Neill's association with the Senators ended on February 1, 1924 when he was traded to Omaha (Western League) for Byron Franklin "By" Speece according to baseball-reference.com. Jim O'Neill died on September 5, 1976 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

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