- Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown
"Fifteen years ago Oran was the best catcher west of the Mississippi River, and was as well known in the East as Bushong is to-day." - from the obituary of Tom Oran in Sporting Life, Oct. 6, 1886
Tom Oran was the first major league player born in California. He made his debut seven years before the next one would come along.
SABR has written an article about Oran, saying that he was the first Native American professional ballplayer. He played amateur ball starting in 1867 (perhaps earlier) and was on the amateur St. Louis Red Stockings team that joined the National Association in 1875. He had also worked as a fireman.
His obituary stated that when he died he left his wife and five children "in destitute circumstances". He had once caught for the "old Empire nine", but the paper noted that he had not played any ball for the past eight years.