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George O'Donnell

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George Dana O'Donnell

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 175 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

A tall and thin right-hander, George O'Donnell was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Browns before the 1949 season. The 6' 3", 175 lb. pitcher won 18 and lost 22 in the Browns minor league system in 1949 and 1950. He was then sent from the St. Louis organization to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a unknown transaction before the 1951 season.

In 1951, O'Donnell immediately went 22-10 for the Waco Pirates, leading the Big State League in victories plus being chosen for the All-Star team and followed that up with a 14-10 record and a 2.71 ERA in 1952. George then went to the Pacific Coast League and helped the Hollywood Stars win the pennant in 1953 with a 20-12 record and a 3.61 ERA while pitching 281 innings, again making the All-Star team.

All this good got George invited to Forbes Field without having to buy a ticket and O'Donnell went 3-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 21 games for the Pirates in 1954, in his only year in the majors. George recalled his debut and one of his two base hits being a home run. "In my first game I came in for Bob Friend in relief for two innings and gave up one base hit at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, PA. I remember Robin Roberts was pitching for the Phillies. I hit a homer off Windy McCall of the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in a game that I pitched four innings in relief and got credit for the win." George lasted about three months with the Pirates, rejoining the Hollywood Stars in late July and pitching well for the Coast Leaguers through 1957.

O'Donnell stayed in the minors through 1961, winding up his 13-season minor league run with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League. George appeared in 530 games, pitching 1,948 innings on his way to a career 127-93 record and a 3.44 ERA.

After baseball, O'Donnell went back to his native Winchester, IL and worked on his father's grain farm. He married Marianne Freidl, and they had two sons. George then worked for the State of Illinois as a hearing officer in the State Drivers License Bureau. He later became the chief hearing officer and retired after 27 years of service in 1991. He passed away in Springfield, IL in 2012 at the age of 83.

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Baseball Players of the 1950s

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