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He was born in East Bridgeport, Connecticut. On April 22, 1876, he made the first base hit in National League history. After leaving the major leagues following the 1893 season, he continued to play in the minor leagues until he was over 50 years old; in 1904 he made a final appearance with the New York Giants under manager and friend John McGraw, becoming at age 54 the oldest player ever to appear in the National League and the oldest player to ever hit safely in a major league game. He returned to the minors as president of the Connecticut League, and in 1912 returned to the field to catch a complete minor league game at the age of 60.
O'Rourke died of pneumonia at age 68 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 as one of the earliest inductees from the 19th century. His older brother John O'Rourke and his son James "Queenie" O'Rourke also played in the majors.
"O'Rourke has made a brilliant record for himself as an outfielder, being an excellent judge of a ball, a swift runner, and making the most difficult running catches with the utmost ease and certainty. As a thrower, too, he stands pre-eminent, being credited with a throw of 365 feet, the next to the longest yet accomplished by any player." — The Sporting Life
- List of major league players with 2,000 hits
- List of Major League Baseball players with 400 doubles
- List of Major League Baseball players with 100 triples
- List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 runs
- List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 RBI
- Hitting for the cycle
- List of Major League Baseball home run champions
- List of Major League Baseball runs scored champions
- List of Major League Baseball triples champions
|National League Home Run Champion|
(with Harry Stovey)
Template:1877 Boston Red Caps Template:1878 Boston Red Caps Template:1879 Providence Grays Template:1888 New York Giants Template:1889 New York Giants Template:1945 Baseball HOF Template:Baseball Hall of Fame outfielders
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||O'Rourke, James Henry|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||Major League Baseball player, manager|
|DATE OF BIRTH||September 1, 1850|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Bridgeport, Connecticut|
|DATE OF DEATH||January 8, 1919|
|PLACE OF DEATH||Bridgeport, Connecticut|