James Edward (Tip) O'Neill

One of the Greatest Hitters of All Time

O'Neill started his career right here in Woodstock as the backbone to the 1878 Canadian Champion Woodstock Actives. The son of a family which owned the O'Neill house in Woodstock, later named the Oxford Hotel. While a member of the Woodstock Actives, "Tip" pitched two no - hitters in that Championship year.

O'Neill played 10 years of major league ball from 1883 to 1892 during which time he led the St. Louis Browns to four consecutive pennants in the 1880's. He retired in 1892 with a career average of .340. In 1887, O'Neill blossomed into one of the greatest hitters of all time batting .492. A feat that has never been equalled or approached.

 

Tip O'Neill And Verge Lee

The significance of his feat has since been in dispute because of a statistical technicality that has left O'Neill's accomplishments in obscurity and one of baseballs earliest superstars without a place in the Hall of Fame. In 1887, for the only season in baseball history, batters were given credit for a hit for each time they received a walk. According to the baseball rules committee, the highest single season batting average in major league history belongs to Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters who hit .438 in 1894. The Sporting News, however, after more recent research, credits O'Neill with an all time record average of .442 after his walks are excluded.

O'Neill was the original long ball hitter. In his history making season he also lead the league in average, runs with 170, doubles with 46, triples with 24 and home runs 13 making him the only player in history to lead the majors in these categories in the same season.

Accounts of his playing days claim his turns at bat were welcomed with the sounds of blaring trumpets and his picture was painted on the side of the Browns team train.

Although his feat is recorded at Cooperstown Baseball shrine, he has never been considered for nomination to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Of the eight players in baseball history who batted more than .420 in a single season, only one was born outside the United States, and only one is not a member of the hall.

James Edward (Tip) O'Neill of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.

Home / Actives Today / Actives 1879 / Schedule / Roster / Rules and Customs / Terminology /

1st recorded Base Ball Game / Tip O'Neill / Links / Gallery / Acknowledgements