Ed O'Neil

From BR Bullpen

Edward J. O'Neil

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ed O'Neil is a player about whom very little definitive information is known. What is certain is that he pitched 8 games for the Toledo Maumees and the Philadelphia Athletics, both of the American Association, in 1890. He lost all 8 games, with a lifetime ERA of 9.26, which explains why his career was rather short. Of his two games with Toledo, one was a 13-12 loss to Syracuse, and the other a loss by forfeit to Philadelphia, after which he was released. Besides the two major league clubs, he is also reported to have pitched that season for a club in Jamestown, NY called the Jamestown Jots, from which he was temporarily suspended in July. He then apparently played for Dunkirk, NY before heading to the Athletics. He is traditionally listed as coming from Fall River, MA and having died there in 1892.

Research by Richard Malatzky of SABR has unearthed the following item concerning O'Neil. In the February 5, 1891 issue of Sporting Life, it is stated that "Ed O'Neil, who pitched a few games for the Athletic Club last year, will probably play in the Northwestern League in the coming season." He has also found a number of references to a ballplayer who worked as a policeman during the off-season who may be the same person. This person, also called Ed O'Neil, is said to be from Philadelphia, PA and to have signed to play in 1891 with the Seattle Hustlers of the Pacific Northwest League under manager Abner Powell. After the 1892 season, he returned to the East and negociated with Portland of the New England League for 1893, but played for Harrisburg of the Pennsylvania State League instead. This man seems to have died in Gloucester, NJ in 1908.

In the various reports that mention him, Ed O'Neil's last name is spelled both with one "l" and two "l's". He is also sometimes said to be from Dallas, Texas, further confusing the issue. It is thus not clear if there are one, two or more men hiding in these snippets of information. It is pretty doubtful that the person who died in Fall River in 1892 was the major league pitcher, however. He was more likely a minor league infielder whose career ended by 1890.

SABR researchers Malatzky and Peter Morris unearthed a further clue in 2011, in the form of a passing mention of his death in a 1909 issue of Sporting Life, listing Gloucester, New Jersey as his place of burial. This enabled them to find his correct birth and death dates.

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Ed O'Neil", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, March/April 2010, pp. 2-3.
  • "Ed O'Neil", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, March/April 2011, p. 1.

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