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John O'Neil

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John Francis O'Neil

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Kentucky native John O'Neil spent sixteen seasons in professional baseball from 1939 to 1954. The infielder spent seven seasons in the minors before getting his shot at the major leagues. O'Neil broke the .300 barrier for the first time in 1945, hitting at a .315 clip for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League. He also fielded the shortstop position at a .938 percentage in 164 games.

His 1945 performance opened the door to the show and O'Neil made his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies on April 16, 1946 and stayed the season with the big league club in 1946. He appeared in 46 games, hitting at a .266 clip and fielded the shortstop position at a .957 percentage. This year was his only time in the big leagues.

John still had eight seasons to play, all in the minors, and spent the 1947 year with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, hitting at a .272 average. O'Neil spent the rest of his minor league run in the Pacific Coast League with the exception of a short stint for the Southern Association's New Orleans Pelicans in 1952. He finished out his 15-year minor league run in 1954, with the Jamestown Falcons of the class D Pony League, and was the player-manager for the Salinas Packers of the class C California League.

John's career minor league totals show that he appeared in 1,804 contests and hit at an estimated .260 average in 6,401 at-bats and fielded at a .946 percentage. Records also show that O'Neil was the second of four managers for the Jamestown Tigers of the class A New York-Pennsylvania League in 1963. From 1964 to 1984, he was a scout for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

O'Neil settled in Jamestown, NY after his career and died there in 2012, a day short of his 92rd birthday.

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