Nickname(s): Orator Jim
OF-C-1B-3B-SS 1872-93, 1904 Middletown Giants , New York
Manager in 1881-84, 93 Buffalo , Washington
- Led League in hr 80
- Hall Of Fame in 1945
O'Rourke batted .300 or better in 13 of his 22 years in the National Association,
National League, and Players' League, and was a member of seven championship clubs
- five of them in Boston during the 1870s. He was the first man to gain a hit in
National League history (April 22, 1876). From 1881 to 1884 he was player-manager
for Buffalo (NL). He managed in the minors, served as president of the Connecticut
League and Eastern Association, and returned to the Giants to catch one game on September
22, 1904, at age 52 the oldest man to complete a major league game. Because of his
verbosity, players and umpires called him "Orator Jim." One obituary eulogized, "Words
of great length and thunderous sound simply flowed out of his mouth." His son, Queenie
O'Rourke, was a utility man for the Highlanders (Yankees) in 1908.
|FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY|
|» February 25, 1881: Jim O'Rourke signs with Buffalo. He boasts that the contract is for $2,000, but the Buffalo Courier puts the figure at $1,300. |
» May 7, 1892: Bill Hutchison hurls a one-hitter, permitting only a Jim O'Rourke 9th-inning single, to lead the Chicago Colts to an 8–0 win over the Giants.
» September 22, 1904: In the opener of a twinbill with the Reds, the Giants win, 7-5, behind Joe McGinnity. Their 100th win, it clinches the NL pennant for New York. In the final game of his 19-year career as an OF/C, future Hall of Famer Jim O'Rourke, 52, catches for Joe McGinnity. It is O'Rourke's first ML game since 1893 (Benton Stark writes that O'Rourke hit .358 in 1900, but it was not in OB) and is 1-for-4 and scores a run. He'll be elected to Cooperstown in 1945. The Reds come back in the nitecap to win, 7-3, in seven innings beating Hooks Wiltse.
» September 14, 1912: Former ML player and current president of the Connecticut League "Orator" Jim O'Rourke catches a complete game for New Haven (Connecticut League) at age 60.
» April 25, 1945: Baseball writers cannot seem to get any Hall of Fame candidates past the 75 percent requirement, but a committee selected to bring in some old-timers succeeds with a group of turn-of-the-century names: Jimmy Collins, Roger Bresnahan, Fred Clarke, Dan Brouthers, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Jennings, Mike "King" Kelly, Jim O'Rourke, Wilbert Robinson, and Hugh Duffy. Collins, overlooked in six HOF elections, was on the all-time teams of Connie Mack and John McGraw.