John Louis Donnelly
- Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown
- Height 5' 6", Weight 132 lb.
- Debut April 14, 1873
- Final Game October 30, 1874
- Born November 15, 1850 in Philadelphia, PA USA
- Died December 24, 1913 in Minneapolis, MN USA
John Donnelly was mainly an infielder for two seasons in the National Association. He was with the Washington Blue Legs in 1873 and the Philadelphia Whites in 1874. However, he had the misfortune of sharing a last name with another early professional ballplayer from Philadelphia, PA, Pete Donnelly, who was not related, and for well over one hundred years, his playing record was listed under his namesake. Researchers from SABR cleared up the confusion in 2016.
John Donnelly first shows up as a back-up player for the Experts, an amateur club in Philadelphia, in 1870, a team for which Pete Donnelly was a regular. The two played for the Experts in 1871 as well, John at the beginning of the season before joining the Marions, another amateur team, while Peter returned from his old squad after being expelled from the Fort Wayne Kekiongas. In 1872, John opened a store selling cigars and baseball equipment, then joined the Neptune club based in Easton, PA; he also played with the Olympics of Philadelphia that summer. He then joined the Washington club in 1873 and married later that summer.
In 1874, he was enlisted to be the captain of a semi-pro team in Scranton, PA, but that September he showed up back in the National Association with Philadelphia. There was speculation he would return the following season, but that didn't happen. He is mentioned as a reserve for the Philadelphia Athletics over the next few years, but was not used in a game (in those days, a reserve would only be called up if a regular player was hurt, as there were no in-game substitutions).
While Donnelly's name did not appear in the papers after 1876, he did move to Minnesota in later years, joining a colony founded by his uncle Ignatius Donnelly, who was a minor media celebrity in those days. He died in Minneapolis, MN in 1913.
- "John Donnelly Found", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, July/August 2016, pp. 1-4.