Sunday, May 10, 2009

#71 John O'Donoghue

#71 John O'Donoghue
I still can't figure out why the Athletics cards look so good in this set. Green + red + black + yellow? Somehow it just works.

Fun facts about John O'Donoghue:

-A product of the University of Missouri, John signed with the hometown Kansas City A's in 1959.

-After some struggles in his first four minor league seasons, he won 14 games between AA and AAA in 1963, earning a September call-up to the majors.

-Earned his first career win on May 12, 1964, allowing two runs (both unearned) on two hits and four walks in seven innings to beat the Angels, 6-2. He even hit an RBI single in his first at-bat!

-Earned a career-best 10 wins in 1964; Orlando Pena was the only other K.C. pitcher to win double-digit games that year.

-Was an All-Star in 1965, despite winning only nine games and leading the American League with 18 losses. Considering his 3.95 earned run average and the terrible nature of the A's (59-103 as a team), his Ws and Ls were pretty deceiving.

-Spent two seasons in Cleveland, where he went 14-17 as a swingman with a solid 3.51 ERA.

-Had a day to remember on August 19, 1967, one-hitting the Tigers in a 5-0 Cleveland win. He struck out eleven and walked only two.

-Was one of the very few bright spots for the Seattle Pilots in 1969, their first and only season before moving to Milwaukee. Pitched 55 games (all in relief), saved six, and posted a 2.96 ERA. Of the 25(!) pitchers that passed through Sicks' Stadium that year, only Bob Locker had a lower mark.

-Finished a nine-year career in 1971, having gone 39-55 with a 4.07 ERA and 10 saves.

-Coached in the Orioles farm system after retiring. His son, John Preston O'Donoghue, pitched eleven games for the O's in 1993 and was kind enough to answer a few questions for an interview on my NumerOlogy website.
#71 John O'Donoghue (back)


  1. They can full bleed, emboss, shellac, die cut or coat cards, but they cannot top stuff like this card. The uni, stare, pose, colors and background.... terrific stuff by Topps and their photographer. And they probably never knew it.

  2. I agree with you completely about the '65 Topps K.C. cards. They had arguably the worst team in baseball that year, but the best looking cardboard. Also, Boutons' dealings w/ O'donoghue and co. in Ball Four were hysterical.

  3. Anon - My other favorite designs from 1965 Topps are probably the Cubs and Cardinals. They stuck with the team colors - nothing like the neon pink for the Yankees and Pirates.

  4. I noticed an error on the back of this card. Pocatell-O is misspelled Pocatella.

  5. FYI I tried to click on the NumerOlogy link and Firefox told me it was an "attack page." I tried googling it and it said it will "harm my computer".