What better day to announce the nominees for the Irish-Amercian Baseball Hall of Fame than St. Patrick’s Day.The Hall and the ceromonies are held at one of my favorite places in all of the city, Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (run by Shaun Clancy and his dad John, two great men of County Cavan) 18 W 33 St across from the Empire State Building. SO if you are at the parade today stop by Foley’s as I’m sure the joint will be jumpin’ for sure.
Here are the nominees :
HALL OF FAMERS and LEGENDS
Big Ed Walsh – Baseball’s All-Time ERA Leader
Wee Willie Keeler – A .341 lifetime hitter who shares the longest ever NL hitting streak (44 games) with Pete Rose
Mighty Casey of the “Mudville Nine” – Character in Ernest Thayer’s famous poem
CURRENT LIVING EX-PLAYERS
Nolan Ryan – Baseball’s All-Time Strikeout Leader, now president of the Texas Rangers
“Super Joe” McEwing – Popular versatile player, now a White Sox minor league manager
Jeff Nelson – Four-time World Series champion, now a broadcaster with MLB Network
John McGraw – Legendary New York Giants manager
Tom Kelly – Minnesota Twins two-time World Series champion manager
“Walpole Joe” Morgan – Former Boston Red Sox manager
Gene Monahan/Steve Donohue – Longtime New York Yankees trainers
Mike Kindle – President of Baseball Ireland (Dublin)
John Fogerty – Writer/Singer of “Centerfield”
Terry Cashman – Writer/Singer of “Talking Baseball” (30th anniversary this year)
John Fitzgerald – Filmmaker of “The Emerald Diamond”
“The nominating committee has come up with some intriguing names this year,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia outside of Cooperstown. “We believe it is significant that baseball’s all-time strikeout king and its all-time ERA leader are both of Irish descent and have New York connections. So do the legendary manager John McGraw, players Wee Willie Keeler, Joe McEwing and Jeff Nelson, Yankees trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue, and songwriter Terry Cashman.”
With the blessing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Foley’s, a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent. Inductees are chosen based on a combination of factors, including impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry.
The game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage. Many of the game’s biggest stars at the turn of the 20th century were Irish immigrants or their descendants, including Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw. Today, major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere.
Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans in the sport dating from its infancy – a legacy overshadowed in recent years by other ethnicities. He decided to celebrate his roots and those who helped make the game great by creating a shrine to Irish Americans in baseball in 2008.
McGraw has to be a lock to be named to the Hall. I will always have soft spot for McGraw for if it wasn’t for him I might be a Highlander fan today. When my father and one of my uncle’s decided to leave Boston after a living there a year when they arrived from County Sligo, they both had jobs laying gas pipes in Canarsie for Brooklyn Union Gas. On a day off they both decided to take a trip to the Bronx to see Babe Ruth and the Highlanders. When they got the Stadium, there were surprised by the lack of people around. That was because the Highlanders were on the road they were told by the cop on the beat. The cop told them if they wanted to see a baseball game, take a walk over the bridge to the Polo Grounds and go watch the Giants. So off they went.
As they took their seats they noticed a guy barking orders at players, they asked who he was, a fan told them “That’s McGraw, he runs the team” They looked at each ‘What ? An Irishman is the boss?” That was it my dad and uncle became die hard NY Giants fans, even though they lived in Brooklyn and stayed in Brooklyn to raise families in the heart of Dodger country. When the Giants left town both of them and the Mets were born they became Mets fans as did my brothers and my cousins. Things happen for a reason who knows, if the Highlanders were home that day, this site might have been The Tom Tresh Society. I hope Mugsy gets elected to the Hall with a landslide vote.