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Bill O'Donnell

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William Joseph O'Donnell

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 4", Weight 175 lb.

[edit] Autobiographical account

I started my professional baseball career in 1953 with the Oshkosh Giants of the Wisconsin State League. I was 18 years old and part of the New York Giants farm system, having been signed to an AA contract with the Nashville Vols of the Southern Association. I was a right-handed pitcher and had a record that year of 14-11 with Oshkosh. This tied for the most wins on the team. As an 18-year-old, I stood 6'4" and weighed 175 pounds. My best pitches were a slightly sinking fastball and a fairly good curve ball. I had pretty good control of my pitches for a youngster. My manager was Dave Garcia, who also played second base. This was a class D league of good quality.

The next season, 1954, I moved up in classification to C ball with the St. Cloud Rox (Minnesota) of the Northern League. Our manager was Charlie Fox, who also shared catching duties on the team. My record was 12 - 9. Willie Kirkland, outfielder, was on the team and later made the big leagues with the San Francisco Giants. In addition, one of our lefthanded pitchers, John Fitzgerald, also pitched very briefly for the San Francisco Giants. Manager Fox later managed the San Francisco Giants.

Still under contract to the Nashville Vols, I became part of the Cincinnati Reds organization when Nashville switched major league affiliation from the Giants to the Reds in 1955. I was assigned to the Rock Hill Chiefs (S.C.) of the Class B Tri-State League. My record that year was 11-7. In addition, I was married in February 1955.

I was not in military service from 1956 - 57. Instead, I had married in February 1955 and we had our first baby in March 1956. I did not go to spring training because our son was born during the time I would have been going to spring training camp. We had our second child in June 1957. So I was out of baseball until I tried a comeback in 1958 with Fox Cities Foxes (Appleton, Wis.) Class B, conveniently located a relatively short distance from my home in Oshkosh. However I was released by the club that year, and never returned to professional baseball. I am not certain what my pitching record was as I was released after about 5 weeks. I may have been credited with one or two wins. The Foxes manager was Pete Suder, a former major leaguer with the Philadelphia Athletics.


submitted by Bill O'Donnell, June 10, 2006

[edit] Other statistics and a different Bill O'Donnell

Bill's ERA was 3.90 for Oshkosh in 1953, 3.82 for St. Cloud in '54 and 4.85 for Rock Hill in '55. He won his only decision with Fox Cities in 1958.

There was also a William Joseph O'Donnell with the Mayfield Clothiers, also a Giants farm team, in 1953, but this is a different person. That O'Donnell was 2 for 20 with 7 strikeouts as a right-handed hitter in 11 games. He did not play 10 games at any position that year and did not pitch 45 innings, making him a mystery man unknown to both this O'Donnell and Pat Doyle's database, which identifies them incorrectly as the same person.

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