Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball Alumni Bios – John O’Connell (1896, 1902 – Cedar Rapids Rabbits)
John O’Connell was the seventh player to make his Major League debut from our list of 384 Cedar Rapids professional baseball alumni who have played in Cedar Rapids either before or after their MLB debut. O’Connell played in the major leagues before and after he played in Cedar Rapids. He made his big league debut at age 19 on August 22, 1891, playing for the Baltimore Orioles. O’Connell played 8 games at second base, shortstop and in the outfield for the Orioles while hitting .172 with 1 double, seven RBI and stole a pair of bases in 29 at bats in 1891. The Orioles finished in fourth place with a 71-64 record under manager Billy Barney. O’Connell returned to the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers at age 30 in 1902. He appeared in eight games playing first and second base while hitting .182 in 22 at bats as the Tigers posted a 52-83 record under manager Frank Dwyer.
John O’Connell played for 19 different teams in ten minor league seasons between 1891 and 1905. He made stops playing for Lynn, the Mobile Blackbirds, Chattanooga Chatts, New Orleans Pelicans, Dover, Worcester, Bangor Millionaires, Lewiston, Lawrence Indians, Cedar Rapids Rabbits, Quincy Bluebirds, Topeka Giants, Ottumwa Giants, Scranton Miners, Utica Pentups, Albany Senators, Omaha Omahogs, Des Moines Hawkeyes, Colorado Springs Millionaires, Milwaukee Brewers, Evansville River Rats, a second tour with Cedar Rapids, Fort Wayne Railroaders, Boise Fruit Pickers, Vancouver Veterans and the Seattle Siwashes.
John O’Connell was a member of the 1896 Cedar Rapids squad that finished fourth with a 32-47 record in the Western Association under managers Hiram Ebright and Belden Hill‘s guidance. O’Connell returned in 1902 to play for the Rabbits squad that finished third in the Three-I League with a 63-56 record under Belden Hill.
John O’Connell passed away two days short of his 36th birthday on May 14, 1908 in Derry, NH. He was buried at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts.