John Thomas O'Brien (born December 11, 1930) is a former backup second baseman and pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1953, 1955–58), St. Louis Cardinals (1958) and Milwaukee Braves (1959). O'Brien batted and threw right-handed. His twin brother, Eddie, was also a major league infielder.
|Second Baseman / Pitcher|
Born: December 11, 1930|
South Amboy, New Jersey
|April 19, 1953, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 19, 1959, for the Milwaukee Braves|
|Runs batted in||59|
|Earned run average||5.61|
O'Brien attended Seattle University, where he played on the basketball team for the Chieftains (along with his brother Eddie) and scored 43 points in a stunning 84–81 upset over the Harlem Globetrotters on January 21, 1952. In 1953, O'Brien became the first player in NCAA history to score 1,000 points in a season. O'Brien would be the shortest NCAA All-American player to be named until 2016 when the similarly 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) Tyler Ulis of Kentucky was named a member of the first team. Later he and Eddie were drafted by the NBA's Milwaukee Hawks in 1953, but the twins never played in the NBA.
In a six-season career, O'Brien was a .250 hitter (204-for-815) with four home runs and 59 RBI in 339 games played. From 1956–58, he also doubled as a pitcher, appearing in 25 games (all but one in relief) and 61 innings, surrendering 61 hits, walking 30 and striking out 35. He lost three of four decisions (.250) with an earned run average of 5.61.
While in Pittsburgh, Johnny and Eddie O'Brien became the first twins in major league history to play for the same team in the same game. They are also one of only four brother combinations to play second base/shortstop on the same major league club. The others are Garvin and Granny Hamner, for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945; Frank and Milt Bolling, with the Detroit Tigers in 1958, and Billy and Cal Ripken, for the Baltimore Orioles during the 1980s.
In retirement, O'Brien worked variously as a city councilman in Seattle, a sportscaster of Seattle University basketball games along with Keith Jackson, the head of security, sales and promotions at the Kingdome and an energy consultant for the Alaskan shipping industry.
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- Raley, Dan (January 20, 2002). "Fifty years ago tonight, Seattle U. upset the mighty Globetrotters". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Seattle, Washington. Retrieved January 24, 2008.
- Gastineau, Mike (2010). The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists. ReadHowYouWant.com. p. 71. ISBN 9781458779748. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
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- Marazzi, Rich; Fiorito, Len (2003). Baseball Players of the 1950s: A Biographical Dictionary of All 1,560 Major Leaguers. McFarland. p. 284. ISBN 9780786446889. Retrieved 27 December 2017.