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Orator O'Rourke

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Orator  O'Rourke: The Life of a Baseball Radical


Hall-of-Famer Jim O'Rourke (1850-1919), was the son of Irish immigrants who taught him the values of thrift, hard work and clean living.  He become one of the first sport superstars, playing professionally for over forty years. O'Rourke was also a manager, umpire, team owner, league president, and practicing attorney, having earned a law degree from Yale.


O'Rourke struggled against prejudice toward his Irish heritage to win acceptance into baseball clubs. He  then defended his new profession against a disdainful attitude toward people who labored for their living. As his renown grew (he played on nine pennant-winning teams) O'Rourke's demands grew bolder.   There even was a moment when he and other major leaguers formed a secret society to merge the labor and capital classes into one amalgam of equals, in the now forgotten Baseball War.  



"thoroughly researched...superb" Sports Collectors Digest

"those of us who know nineteenth-century baseball history well can still learn a lot from Orator O'Rourke. ...[A] life worth knowing about and a book worth reading"  Nine

"of great interest...prodigiously researched"  Edward Achorn, Providence Journal

"marvelously researched and well written. The reader sees clearly that baseball, as always, reflects the spirit of its time." Larry Levine, Quinnipiac University.

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Supplemental information.  Images, and new research about Orator O'Rourke:


Children  |  Records  |  Salary  Images  |  Geneology and Residences  (click on Excel box below



About the Author. 

Roer is a member of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research.  Specializations include:


  • Nineteenth Century Baseball, especially Fairfield County, Connecticut
  • Jim and John O'Rourke
  • Early History of College Baseball
  • Blacks and Women in Baseball
  • History of Protective Equipment and Fatalities in Baseball