Group hopes Bridgeport steps in to save historic home

A nonprofit organization is stepping in to save a Bridgeport home that is also a piece of baseball history.

First Hit, Inc. wants to turn the house of Jim O?Rourke, an early baseball great, into a museum to showcase memorabilia from Bridgeport?s only Hall of Fame player. O?Rourke is credited with getting the first hit in the National League, for Boston, when it was formed in 1876.

O?Rourke was born in 1850 and was the son of Irish immigrants. He overcame anti-Irish prejudice and played for Boston in his early days. In 1879, he won a National League championship with the Providence Greys and later had a couple of stints with the New York Giants, the last of which was in 1904 when he was almost 60 years old.

The house is currently located at Steel Point, an area slated for redevelopment.

The city of Bridgeport has offered locations where the house can be moved so it will not be torn down. It hopes to do work near the O?Rourke house toward the end of the year, which could mean the end of efforts to save the house.

First Hit says none of the proposed alternative sites have worked out. The organization says more effort should have been put into incorporating O?Rourke?s house into the plans.

Mayor John Fabrizi says the city has tried to find a solution, but it can't foot the bill.

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