A big league player for 17 years, Steve O’Neill played catcher for four different clubs — the Indians, Browns, Red Sox and Yankees. After retiring as a player in 1928, O’Neill turned to managing.
O’Neill became a minor league player/manager in 1929. In 1932 he became a player/coach for the Toledo H the Triple-A affiliate of the Indians. In 1934 Indians manager Walter Johnson needed a pitching coach and promoted O’Neill.
In 1935 Cleveland started the season 46-48 before firing Johnson. O’Neill took the reigns and led the Indians to a 36-23 record the rest of the way. In three years at the helm of the Tribe, O’Neill led them to a 199-168 record.
O’Neill went on to manage four clubs including the 1945 World Champion Tigers. His time as a skipper lasted 14 seasons. In each of them, O’Neill’s teams posted a winning record.
His overall record as a pilot stands at 1,040-821. His .559 winning percentage is greater than that of Hall of Fame managers Walter Alston, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Leo Durocher, Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa, Tommy Lasorda, Sparky Anderson, Casey Stengel, and others.
In the collection is an original vintage photograph of O’Neill in an a Cleveland uniform. The picture is adorned with O’Neill’s bold fountain pen signature.