James Edward O'Neill
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0½", Weight 167 lb.
- Debut May 5, 1883
- Final Game August 30, 1892
- Born May 25, 1858 in Springfield, ON CAN
- Died December 31, 1915 in Montreal, QC CAN
"I think that the golden age of batting was from 1885 to 1891. . . The hits that Brouthers, O'Neil and Browning made were the real thing. They fairly smoked as they sped along. . . I think that those three fellows . . . if they could be back in the game, and as husky as they were then, would beat .350 easy . . ." - Hall of Famer Jake Beckley, who broke into the majors in 1888 and was still around in 1903 to make this comment comparing O'Neill to more modern players
Tip O'Neill was an excellent player for ten major league seasons in the 19th century. His lifetime batting average was .326, and he played on the St. Louis Browns teams in the 1880s that were quite successful.
O'Neill, who was born in Ontario, Canada and died in Quebec, Canada, pitched at first in Canada with the 1878 Canadian champion Woodstock Actives. His family owned a house in Woodstock, ON.
He broke into the majors at the age of 25. O'Neill broke in primarily as a pitcher, but fairly quickly became an outfielder. In his games as a pitcher in 1883 and 1884, he went 16-16 with a reasonable 3.39 ERA. From 1884 to 1889, and also in 1891, he was with St. Louis. In six of those seasons he hit over .320, with a peak in 1887 when the American Association decided to let walks be counted as hits. That year, he hit .492 under those rules, and scored 167 runs.
He was a big name in the American Association, leading the league in batting average twice, and finishing in the top five three other times. He was among the leaders most years when he was with the Browns, but 1887 was his dominant year when he led the league in virtually every category: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases, RBI, hits, runs scored - but not in singles. In the 1887 AA season, he became the first and remains the only Canadian player to win the Triple Crown. Larry Walker and Joey Votto have come close in recent years but neither managed to win the Triple Crown in their MVP seasons.
He got his nickname "Tip" because he would hit foul tips on pitches in order to wait out a pitcher till he got the pitch he wanted, or till he drew a walk.
He is the only player in baseball history to lead his league in hits, doubles, triples, and home runs in the same season (Stan Musial came close in 1948). He was the first major leaguer to hit 50 doubles in a season.
In Tip's honor, the "Tip O'Neill Award", given annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, recognizes the Canadian baseball player who has "excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball." Tip was one of the inaugural inductees into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
- AA Triple Crown (1887)
- 2-time AA Batting Average Leader (1887 & 1888)
- AA On-Base Percentage Leader (1887)
- AA Slugging Percentage Leader (1887)
- AA OPS Leader (1887)
- AA Runs Scored Leader (1887)
- 2-time AA Hits Leader (1887 & 1888)
- AA Total Bases Leader (1887)
- 2-time AA Singles Leader (1886 & 1888)
- AA Doubles Leader (1887)
- AA Triples Leader (1887)
- AA Home Runs Leader (1887)
- 2-time AA RBI Leader (1886 & 1887)
- AA Winning Percentage Leader (1884)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (1886, 1887 & 1889)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 5 (1886, 1887 & 1889-1891)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1887)
- Runs, right handed batter, season, 167, 1887
- Most times hitting for the cycle, season, 2, 1887 (tied)