O’Brien, William (1993)
In 1992, the Boston College Varsity Club inducted one baseball player at Its 23rd Hall of Fame Induction. The lone Eagle diamondeer chosen was Bill O’Brien, 67. Tonight Maine's Baseball HoF will welcome this Portland native and former Cheverus High pitcher into its ranks.
Bills baseball career began in Portland Little League Three at Riverton and continued with the Deering VFW Babe Ruth team and the Andrews Post American Legion nine. On all levels, the slender right hander was a standout.
At Cheverus, he was a freshman pitcher on Jack Dawson's 12-4 1960 Telly Champion that featured Dick Joyce (HOF '77) and Joe Cloutier and, as a sophomore, he was still behind All-stars Joyce and Cloutier on Hank Stillman's undefeated (16-0) Telly titlests.
Bill was a top hurler in his last two years at Cheverus; Captain in ‘63, and hooked up in some memorable games with the likes of Eddie Phillips (HoF '79) and Rick Swan (HOF ‘87).
But it was at Boston College that Dame Fortune smiled on O'Brien, especially in 1967, when the Eagles won the Regional NCAA playoffs and qualified for the Omaha World Series.
But, let's backtrack a little.
His sophomore season was aborted when his physical revealed a heart problem.
By the time numerous tests finally revealed a little murmur.
The ‘65 Campaign was down the drain.
1966 was a good year for O'Brien. With his assortment of curves and sliders, he had a 7-2 record with a sparkling ERA of 1.89 and three shutouts.
But the Eagles were eliminated in the regional playoffs.
White 1967, for most New Englanders, recalls memories of Car! Yastrzemski and the Red Sox Impossible Dream team, at B.C. the faithful remember the heroics of the underdog Eagles.
B.C. was the fourth team selected for the regional playoffs.
the Eagles eliminated Dartmouth in a three-game series that opened with Bill's 4-3 victory.
At UMass, Bill won two games to send the Eagles flying to Omaha.
At Omaha, O'Brien struck out ten and beat Rider College 3-1 in the opener.
After an 8-1 loss to Arizona the Eagles faced elimination against Houston.
O'Brien relieved in the 8th inning to strike out Tom Paciorek (later a major leaguer), but Paciorek retaliated in the 13th to end the B.C. joy ride 3-2.
Coach Eddie Pellegrini said, “Of all the guys I had at B.C., O'Brien was the one who took the whole team on his shoulders and just carried them”.
Surely, the statistics substantiated the coach's comments.
In two seasons, Bill started 22 games, or 50% of B.C.'s contests, with a 14-8 record.
He pitched 200 1/3 innings, 52% of the innings thrown by Eagle hurlers, and finished with a career ERA of 1.52 !!!
Bill lives in Scarborough with his wife, Karen.