Steve O'Neill

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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 in537
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[edit]

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 (1902–06); Mike, a right-handed pitcher in the NL (1901–04, 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 1945–47, 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 (1911–23), 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 in 1,586 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 (1929–31), Toledo Mud Hens (1933–34), Buffalo Bisons (1938–40) and Beaumont Exporters (1942).

As a big league manager with four teams—the Indians (1935–37), Tigers (1943–48), Red Sox (1950–51) and Philadelphia Phillies (1952–54)—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] 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[edit]

Team From To Regular season record Post–season record
G W L Win % G W L Win %
Cleveland Indians 1935 1937 367 199 168 .542 DNQ
Detroit Tigers 1943 1948 923 509 414 .551 7 4 3 .571
Boston Red Sox 1950 1951 249 150 99 .602 DNQ
Philadelphia Phillies 1952 1954 322 182 140 .565 DNQ
Total 1861 1040 821 .559 7 4 3 .571
Ref.:[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kiki Cuyler
Boston Red Sox third-base coach
1950
Succeeded by
Eddie Mayo