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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Steve O'Neill
1921 Steve O'Neill.jpeg
Catcher / Manager
Born: (1891-07-06)July 6, 1891
Minooka, Pennsylvania
Died: January 26, 1962(1962-01-26) (aged 70)
Cleveland, Ohio
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 18, 1911, for the Cleveland Naps
Last MLB appearance
September 14, 1928, for the St. Louis Browns
MLB statistics
Batting average.263
Home runs13
Runs batted in534
Managerial record1,040–821
Winning %.559
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Stephen Francis O'Neill (July 6, 1891 – January 26, 1962) was an American professional baseball player and manager.[1] He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher, most notably with the Cleveland Indians. As a manager, he led the 1945 Detroit Tigers to the World Series championship,

Baseball career

O'Neill was born in Minooka, Pennsylvania (now a part of Scranton), to Irish immigrants from Maum, County Galway, Michael "Squire" O'Neill and the former Mary Joyce. He was one of four brothers who escaped a life in the coal mines by playing in the major leagues.[2] Other notable members of the O'Neill family were Jack, a catcher in the National League (1902–1906); Mike, a right-handed pitcher in the NL (1901–1904, 1907);[2] and Jim, an infielder with the American League Washington Senators (1920, 1923). Baseball historian William C. Kashatus noted that Michael and Jack "would become the first brother battery in major league history".[2] The O'Neill brothers "were known to exchange their signals in Gaelic in order to fool the opposing coaches".[2]

Later, two of Steve O'Neill's daughters married professional baseball players, one of whom was Skeeter Webb, who played under O'Neill in the minor leagues in 1939 and again from 1945–1947, when O'Neill piloted the Tigers.

Steve had by far the most successful playing career of the O'Neill brothers, serving as a catcher for 17 years in the American League.[3] He played with the Cleveland Indians (1911–1923), Boston Red Sox (1924), New York Yankees (1925), and St. Louis Browns (1927–28). His playing career curtailed by an injury sustained in a car accident, O'Neill compiled a batting average of .263 with 13 home runs and 534 RBI in 1,590 games, and, in his only World Series appearance in 1920, hit .333 in seven games as the backstop for the world champion Indians.[4]

When his playing career ended, O'Neill turned to managing in the minors and gained a reputation for cultivating talented young players, some of whom went on to become Hall of Famers.[5] He managed the Toronto Maple Leafs (1929–1931), Toledo Mud Hens (1933–34), Buffalo Bisons (1938–1940) and Beaumont Exporters (1942).

As a big league manager with four teams—the Indians (1935–1937), Tigers (1943–1948), Red Sox (1950–51) and Philadelphia Phillies (1952–1954)—O'Neill never had a losing record.[5] His Tigers won the 1945 World Series (when they defeated the Chicago Cubs in the Cubs' last Fall Classic appearance until 2016) and O'Neill was known for turning around under-performing teams, often in mid-season.[5]

At the time that O'Neill had been let go from the Red Sox, he had won 150 games and lost 99, and combined with his 199-168 record with Cleveland and 509-414 mark with Detroit, he had a managerial record of 858-681. He took over for the Philadelphia Phillies midway through the 1952 season. Eddie Sawyer had led the 1950 team (dubbed the "Whiz Kids" by the press) to the National League pennant, owing to the generally youthful status of the players (such as future Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn). However, they had dovetailed from first to fifth the previous year, and a 28-35 record on June 27 meant that Sawyer was let go for O'Neill. He proceeded to win 59 out of the next 91 games, gradually moving them to a fourth place finish. He won 83 games the next season (with two ties), which ended with his 1,000th win at the end of the season while finishing in a tie for third place with the St. Louis Cardinals (22 games back of the pennant winners). However, he did not finish the next season. With a record of 40-37, he was fired on July 15 for Terry Moore (he won 35 games the rest of the way).

His career winning percentage over 14 seasons was a stalwart .559 (1,040 victories against 821 lost). He also served as a coach for Cleveland (part of 1935 and all of 1949), Detroit (1941) and Boston (part of 1950).[6] Legendary players who benefited from O'Neill's guidance included Lou Boudreau, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser, and Robin Roberts.[5] O'Neill was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame. He was also an inaugural member of the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame.

O'Neill died at age 70 in Cleveland, Ohio, after suffering a heart attack, and is interred in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Minooka.[7]

Managerial record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Games Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CLE 1935 59 36 23 .610 3rd in AL
CLE 1936 154 80 74 .519 5th in AL
CLE 1937 154 83 71 .539 4th in AL
CLE total 367 199 168 .542 0 0
DET 1943 154 78 76 .506 5th in AL
DET 1944 154 88 66 .571 2nd in AL
DET 1945 153 88 65 .575 1st in AL 4 3 .571 Won World Series (CHC)
DET 1946 154 92 62 .597 2nd in AL
DET 1947 154 85 69 .552 2nd in AL
DET 1948 154 78 76 .506 5th in AL
DET total 923 509 414 .551 4 3 .571
BOS 1950 95 63 32 .663 3rd in AL
BOS 1951 154 87 67 .565 3rd in AL
BOS total 249 150 99 .602 0 0
PHI 1952 91 59 32 .648 4th in NL
PHI 1953 154 83 71 .539 4th in NL
PHI 1954 77 40 37 .519 fired
PHI total 322 182 140 .565 0 0
Total[6] 1861 1040 821 .559 4 3 .571

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Steve O'Neill statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Kashatus (2002), p. 14.
  3. ^ Kashatus (2002), pp. 101–103.
  4. ^ Kashatus (2002), p. 101.
  5. ^ a b c d Kashatus (2002), p. 103.
  6. ^ a b "Steve O'Neill". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ex-Manager Steve O'Neill Succumbs," Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, PA, January 27, 1962.

References

  • Kashatus, William C. (2002). Diamonds in the Coalfields: 21 Remarkable Baseball Players, Managers, and Umpires from Northeast Pennsylvania. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-1176-4.

Sources

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by Boston Red Sox third-base coach
1950
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 26 November 2021, at 13:14
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