William Henry O’Kelleher Jr., better known as “Wee Willie” Keeler, was born on March 3, 1872.
Willie was the son of William Sr. and Mary Kelleher (née Kiley), of County Cork.
Standing 5-foot-4 and weighing 140 lbs, Keeler used his 46 oz. bat to spray the ball around the field. His motto was, “Keep your eye on the ball and hit ’em where they ain’t!”
Some highlights from Wee Willie’s oversized impact on the game of baseball:
- He collected over 200 hits in eight consecutive seasons, a record that stood for over 100 years.
- His 44-game hitting streak is still tied for best in National League history.
- Keeler batted .424 in 1897 – still the record for the highest batting average in a season for a left-handed batter.
- Over the course of an 18-year career, Wee Willie batted .341 with 2,932 base hits, 1,719 runs scored, and 495 stolen bases.
- Wee Willie Keeler was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 and the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.