Every Cub Ever (O)

    By Rick Kaempfer
    Jan 14th, 2015


    ~Mike O’Berry 1954 (Cubs 1980)
    O’Berry was one of the backup catchers for the Cubs in 1980. They acquired him from the Boston Red Sox for Ted Sizemore. After the season the Cubs traded him to the Reds for relief pitcher Jay Howell. That would have been a great trade if the Cubs had held on to Howell. He went on to become an all-star closer for the A’s and Dodgers. O’Berry played five more years in the big leagues with the Yankees, Reds, Angels, and Expos.

    ~John O’Brien 1866 (Colts 1893)
    O’Brien had one of the great nicknames on the Cubs (then known as the Colts). He was known as “Chewing Gum”. Unfortunately for John, he played during the years before chewing gum magnate William Wrigley bought the team. He was a second baseman who only played four games in Chicago. He also played for the Pirates, Orioles, and Louisville, all before the turn of the century.

    ~Pete O’Brien 1867 (Colts 1890)
    Pete was a 23-year-old backup second baseman on the Cubs (then known as the Colts). He hit .283 and played a respectable second base, but never played in the big leagues again.

    ~Johnny O’Connor 1891 (Cubs 1916)
    If his name sounds Irish, there’s a good reason for that. Johnny O’Connor was born in Ireland. He came to America and attended the University of Illinois. The catcher got one shot in the big leagues, and it wasn’t on offense. He came in as a defensive replacement on September 16, 1916, but was replaced by Art Wilson before he got a chance to bat. The game was in Philadelphia, and the Cubs lost to Grover Cleveland Alexander (his 29th win of the season) and the Phillies, 6-3.

    ~Hank O’Day 1862 (Cubs manager 1914)
    He was the umpire who made the most controversial call in baseball history…the play that became known as “The Merkle Boner.” The NY Giants never forgave him for favoring the Cubs on that play, and were especially suspicious of him because he was born and raised in Chicago (although he played for the Giants in his playing days). In 1914, that call looked even more suspicious when Hank O’Day was hired by the Cubs to manage their team. Not only did they hire O’Day, they hired him to replace beloved Cub Johnny Evers, who owner Charles Murphy had run out of town. Evers spent the 1914 season managing (and playing for) the Boston Braves. The Braves went to the World Series. The Cubs finished in fourth place, 16 ½ games behind the Braves. Under Murphy’s and O’Day’s reign, the Cubs were the third most popular team in Chicago in 1914 behind the White Sox and the Federal Whales (who played in what is now known as Wrigley Field). Within a year, owner Charles Murphy was run out of the league by his fellow owners. Chicago fans cheered when it was announced. O’Day left even sooner; his managing career with the Cubs lasted exactly one season. He went back to his original job…National League umpire. He remained in that job until 1927. He was recently (2013) elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame (as an umpire).

    ~Ken O’Dea 1913 (Cubs 1935-1938)
    Ken was primarily Gabby Hartnett’s backup during his tenure with the Cubs. The Cubs were very good during those years, and O’Dea played an important role. He got some playing time in both the 1935 and the 1938 World Series for the Cubs, and responded with key hits in each series, including a homer off Hall of Famer Red Ruffing in 1938. After that series, O’Dea was traded to the Giants along with Billy Jurges and Frank Demaree for Dick Bartell, Hank Leiber, and Gus Mancuso. He stayed in the big leagues until 1946, and won two World Series as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals (1942 & 1944)

    ~Bob O’Farrell 1896 (1915-1925)
    Bob was the starting catcher for the Cubs in the years before Gabby Hartnett took over the job. He was considered an outstanding defensive catcher, renowned for his toughness. One year O’Farrell suffered a skull fracture after wearing the wrong equipment and getting a foul ball to the face. By 1925 the Cubs thought his best days were behind him and they traded him to the Cardinals. All he did with St. Louis was win the MVP award, and help lead them to their first World Series championship. The following year he was the player/manager and led the Cardinals to a second place finish. O’Farrell ended up playing 21 years in the big leagues.

    ~Hal O’Hagan 1869 (Orphans 1902)
    Hal was a backup first baseman for several clubs, including the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) in 1902. he started the season in Chicago, but also played for New York, Cleveland, and then New York again–all in that same season. Even though Chicago had a future Hall of Famer at first (Frank Chance), they gave Hal more playing time than any of his other teams that year. Just 11 years later, Hal passed away at the age of 43.

    ~Troy O’Leary 1969 (Cubs 2003)
    Troy played eleven seasons in the big leagues, and had a few very good seasons with the Boston Red Sox. The outfielder’s final big league season came with the Cubs. He was one of the contributors to the division champion team of 2003, although he didn’t make the final playoff roster.

    ~Ryan O’Malley 1980 (Cubs 2006)
    The downstate native (Springfield) pitched in the Cubs organization for most of the ’00s and although he was never exactly dominant in the minors, he did get one shot at glory in 2006. The 26-year-old got two starts in August and pitched fairly well. In his first start, things got emotional. Per Yahoo! News:

    O’Malley is just one of eight pitchers since 2000 to throw at least eight innings with zero runs allowed in his major league debut. That is some rare air. “It was one of the better pitched games the Cubs had that year,” Len Kasper said. “Just at the end, he hugged his dad and he had shaving cream all over his face, his dad had shaving cream on his face and he’s crying. We got really emotional in the booth. Right when I signed off, Bob and I were basically crying. I’ve never ever experienced that before as a broadcaster and I don’t know if I ever will again. That game, of the thousands I’ve called in my career, still stands out as one of my favorites.”

    He pitched just one more game, and never got another chance. O’Malley spent the next two years in the minors before hanging up his spikes at the end of the 2008 season.

    ~Jack O’Neill 1873 (Cubs 1904-1905)
    He was born in Ireland, and four of his brothers also played in the big leagues. Jack was a catcher.

    ~Will Ohman 1977 (Cubs 2000-2007)
    Ohman was a lefty reliever who experienced some severe arm troubles while he was a member of the Cubs. Those arm troubles caused him to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2002-2004 seasons. When he finally returned to the big leagues as a situational lefty, he had some success. In 2005 Ohman appeared in 69 games for the Cubs and posted a 2.91 ERA. That was probably his best season in Chicago. He later also pitched for the Braves, Dodgers, Orioles, Marlins, and White Sox.

    ~Augie Ojeda 1974 (Cubs 2000-2003)
    Augie came up with the Cubs during the summer of 2000 and immediately became a hit with the fans who seemed naturally predisposed to root for the litle guy. In Augie’s case, that was a literal description. He was only 5’9″. Over his four seasons with the Cubs, Augie went up and down between the minors and the big leagues. He filled in at second base, shortstop, and third base, but hit a disappointing .196 in a Cubs uniform. Ojeda had a more successful run with the Diamondbacks after his Cubs days were over. His stint in Arizona included facing his former team in the 2007 playoffs. Augie hit .444 for the series.

    ~Gene Oliver 1935 (Cubs 1968-1969)
    Gene was one of the veterans on that memorable 1969 Cubs team; a 34-year-old backup catcher. He didn’t get to play much because Randy Hundley didn’t like to take a day off, but Gene was an important presence in the dugout, and beloved by his teammates. He had a couple of very good seasons with the Milwaukee Braves in the mid-60s, and also caught for the Cardinals, Philies, and Red Sox. 1969 was his last season in baseball.

    ~Nate Oliver 1940 (Cubs 1969)
    He was a diminutive infielder on a Dodgers team that recently had another diminutive infielder nicknamed Pee Wee (Reese), and Nate Oliver became known as Pee Wee too. In 1964 he was the starting second baseman for the Dodgers, but for the rest of his career Nate Oliver was strictly a role player. He did play for the Dodgers team that won the 1965 World Series and the 1966 team that lost the series to the Orioles, but Nate only got in one game. He was standing on second base as a pinch runner when Lou Johnson flied out to the end the series. The Cubs got Pee Wee in a trade with the New York Yankees early in their memorable 1969 season (in exchange for future Cubs manager Lee Elia). Oliver didn’t play too much, only 49 at bats in 44 games, but he bonded well with his teammates and became a fan favorite. Along with reserve outfielder Willie Smith, he became part of the singing Cubs. Willie and Nate sang the song “Pennant Feeling” (a parody of the Righteous Brothers song “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”), and then along with reserve catcher Gene Oliver sang “Hey Hey Holy Mackeral.” But as the Cubs faded late in 1969, Nate Oliver’s Cubs career faded into the sunset. His final big league game was in a Cubs uniform; September 27, 1969. After his playing career was over Nate transitioned into coaching, as an infield and batting instructor, and also manager, in the farm systems of the Angels, Cubs and White Sox. (Photo: Topps 1970 Baseball Card)
    AUDIO: That Pennant Feeling…

    ~Barney Olsen 1919 (Cubs 1941)
    Barney was a Cub for the last two months of the 1941 season. They actually gave him a decent shot at playing at the end of the year. The 22-year-old centerfielder hit .288, and played well. But he spent the entire 1942 season in the minors and then was drafted into the military. Olsen played in the minors again after the war, but never made it back up to the show.

    ~Vern Olsen 1918 (Cubs 1939-1946)
    Olsen’s big league career was interrupted by a three year tour of duty in the military. He was a member of the Cubs starting rotation before the war, notching two seasons of double-digit wins. But while the Cubs were on their way to the World Series in 1945, Olsen was stationed in Hawaii. When he came back in 1946, he was a shell of his former self. The Cubs released him after the season.

    ~Mike Olt 1988 (Cubs 2014-2015)
    Olt was also a first round pick (Rangers), and also hasn’t developed as projected. The Cubs more or less gave him the starting third base job out of spring training in 2014, and while Olt showed tremendous power (12 homers in 187 ABs), he had a very difficult time making contact. He struck out 84 times and hit only .139. That led to a demotion to Iowa. He was likewise given the big league job in 2015, but after only a few games was replaced by a little known rookie named Kris Bryant. After spending most of the season on the DL, Olt was waived in September. The White Sox quickly snapped him up.

    Steve Ontiveros~Steve Ontiveros 1961 (Cubs 1977-1980)
    He may not have been a good replacement for Bill Madlock at third base, but Steve Ontiveros wasn’t terrible. He came within one hit of batting .300 in 1977, a year in which ¾ of the Cubs infield was mustachioed, including good ol’ #16. He played parts of three other seasons with the Cubs and didn’t do much before being released in the middle of the 1980 season. Nevertheless, he will always be remembered as the best mustachioed third baseman with a last name starting with “O” in Chicago Cubs history. No one else even comes close. (Photo: Topps 1978 Baseball Card)

    ~Rey Ordonez 1971 (Cubs 2004)
    He was a slick fielding shortstop who never did quite master the trick of hitting big league pitching. The Cubs were the last team to give him a chance and he hit .164.

    ~Kevin Orie 1972 (Cubs 1997-1998, 2002)
    One of the many “next Ron Santos” to man the position, Orie was the starting third baseman as a rookie in 1997. He had a decent season, hitting 8 homers and 44RBI. But he had a sophomore slump the following year and was shipped off the Marlins before the season was over in the trade that brought Felix Heredia to Chicago. Orie later came back to the Cubs for his final season in the big leagues.

    ~Jose Ortiz 1947 (Cubs 1971)
    The Puerto Rican played with the Cubs in 1971. He and fellow speedster Brock Davis shared the centerfield position with limited success. The Cubs went out and got Rick Monday after the season, and Ortiz’ time in the big leagues was over. He previously also played for the White Sox.

    ~Ramon Ortiz 1973 (Cubs 2011)
    Ortiz had a very promising start to his career with the Angels. He won 15 games for them in 2002 and anchored the team’s rotation. But by the time he came to the Cubs in 2011, Ortiz had compiled six straight seasons of ERAs over five. He appeared in 22 games for the Cubs in his one season in Chicago, and registered an ERA of 4.86.

    Available in the Just One Bad Century store…

    ~Bob Osborn 1903 (Cubs 1925-1930)
    Osborn pitched for the Cubs during one of the big hitting eras in major league history. He got a cup of coffee with the team during their pennant winning year, but his best season was 1930–a notriously tough year for pitchers. Osborn won 10 games that year for the Cubs.

    ~Donovan Osborne 1969 (Cubs 2002)
    The Cubs took a flier on Osborne after he had major arm problems with the St. Louis Cardinals. The formerly effective starter had gone two full seasons without pitching a ball, and he just didn’t have it anymore. He registered a 6.19 ERA in limited appearances out of the bullpen.

    ~Tiny Osborne 1893 (Cubs 1922-1924)
    His real name was Ernest Osborne, but he came by his nickname much the same way Curly Howard came by his. He was the opposite of Tiny. He was 6’4 and weighed 215 pounds. Tiny wasn’t much of a pitcher with the Cubs. He had a losing record in his three Cub seasons, but he did lead the league in one category in 1922: He hit 12 batters. We’re guessing nobody charged the mound.

    ~Johnny Ostrowski 1917 (Cubs 1943-1946)
    On March 3rd, 1945, Johnny was one of only six Cubs players who bothered to gather at Chicago’s Dearborn Train Station to board the train to spring training that year: Pitcher Ed Hanyzewski, minor league pitcher George Hennessy, semi-pro pitcher Al Nusser, former Giants catcher Joe Stephenson, a young player that had virtually no chance of making the team-Virgil Garriot, and Johnny. It didn’t seem to help the local Chicago boy too much. Ostrowski played in only seven games with the Cubs that season. He batted .300 in ten plate appearances, and didn’t make the post-season roster. The third baseman later played for the White Sox and the Senators.

    ~Reggie Otero 1915 (Cubs 1945)
    The Cuban born first baseman was a rookie for the 1945 Cubs, but he was no spring chicken. When he made his major league debut he was just a few days shy of his 30th birthday. Otero spelled Phil Cavarretta for a few games in September, but that’s the extent of his major league career. He may not have had much time in the bigs, but he did end up with a .391 average in his 23 at bats. Not a bad lifetime average.

    ~Billy Ott 1940 (Cubs 1962, 1964)
    No relation to Hall of Famer Mel Ott. Billy was an outfielder used primarily as a pinch hitter on two of the worst Cubs teams of all-time. He got 73 plate appearances over those two seasons and mustered a .164 batting average.

    ~Dave Otto 1964 (Cubs 1994)
    The local product (Elk Grove High School) is probably better known for his time as a fill-in announcer during Cubs broadcasts, but Dave Otto also got a cup of coffee with his hometown team. During the strike season of 1994, he appeared in 36 games and posted an ERA of 3.80. That was the last year of his nine season big league career. Otto also pitched for the A’s, Indians, and Pirates.

    Orval Overall 1909~Orval Overall 1881 (Cubs 1905-1913)
    Orval was a key member of the Cubs dynasty of 1906-1910. He was a two-time 20-game winner, and led the league in shutouts (twice) and strikeouts. For 108 years his claim to fame was that he was the last pitcher in Cubs history to win a World Series-clinching game. He won the deciding game of the 1908 World Series. (That honor now goes to Aroldis Chapman, who ironically served up a homer to tie the game, but got the win in Game 7 of 2016 World Series). Orval wasn’t much like the other guys on the team–he was a college boy who attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he was also an All-American football player. He pitched some of the greatest games in Cubs history, including two wins in the 1908 World Series. In one of those games he struck out four men in one inning–something no one else has ever done in the World Series since. He also started Game 1 of the 1910 World Series before being chased away from baseball by Cubs owner Charles Murphy during a contract dispute. He eventually returned to the Cubs with hat in hand in 1913, but by then, his time had passed, and he only won 4 more games in his career. (Photo: 1909 Tobacco Card)

    ~Ernie Ovitz 1885 (Cubs 1911)
    If you want to go back in time to watch Ernie Ovitz pitch, simply set the wayback machine to June 22, 1911 and go to West Side Grounds in Chicago. The Cubs were getting whalloped that day by the Pirates and the University of Illinois product was brought in to pitch the last two innings. Among the players he faced: Hall of Famer Honus Wagner.

    ~Dave Owen 1958 (Cubs 1983-1985)
    Owen was a backup infielder for the Cubs three seasons in the mid-80s. He will always be remembered for getting the winning hit in the famous Ryne Sandberg game against the Cardinals in the summer of 1984. Sandberg may have tied the game with homers against Bruce Sutter in the 9th and 10th, but Owen was the one who knocked in the game winner.

    ~Mickey Owen 1916 (Cubs 1949-1951)
    Mickey led a fascinating life in and out of baseball. He was a four-time All-Star with the Brooklyn Dodgers during early 40s, and though he set a fielding record as a catcher in 1941, he is best remembered for a fielding error he made in Game 4 of the World Series that season. He couldn’t handle a pitch that would have been the last out of the game (and tied up the series), but the runner reached first base on Mickey’s error. That led to a four run rally and a Dodgers loss. Owen didn’t serve in the military during the war, he was called up AFTER the war, and missed the 1946 season. When he came back, he was one of the players who bolted to the Mexican league. This angered Commissioner Happy Chandler so much, he wanted to ban those players from the major leagues for life. Chandler eventually cooled off, and Owen was allowed to return in 1949. That’s when he joined the Cubs. Mickey was the starting catcher for a few incredibly bad Cubs teams. After his playing days were over, he became a scout, then formed a baseball academy. Among the graduates of that academy…Michael Jordan, Joe Girardi & Charlie Sheen. Mickey later ran for public office, and served as the sherriff of Greene County in Missouri for three terms.

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