With St. Patrick’s Day 2017 now a memory (for some, a foggy one at that…), the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IAB HOF) has announced the names of the nominees on its 2017 induction ballot. They include current and former players, managers, broadcasters, and baseball executives:
Current and Former Players
· Eric Byrnes: An 11-year MLB veteran known for his speed and hustle. He now serves as an analyst for the MLB Network.
· Al Leiter: Longtime player for the New York Mets (1998-2004) and Yankees (1987-89; 2005), three-time World Series Champion, two-time All-Star. Now serves as a commentator for YES Network and MLB Network.
· Adam Dunn: Power-hitting first baseman and two-time All-Star who clubbed 463 home runs in a 14-year career.
· Tom McCarthy: Play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies’ broadcasts.
· John Rooney/Mike Shannon: Longtime radio broadcast team for the St. Louis Cardinals.
· Pat Hughes: Play-by-play voice of the Chicago Cubs Radio Network since 1996. Broadcasted historic World Series victory in 2016.
Hall of Famers/Legends
· Casey Stengel: An eight-time World Series Champion (one as a player, seven as a manager for the New York Yankees), he was named to the prestigious MLB All-Time Team in 1997. Famously guided the 1962 New York Mets. Wore uniform of all four New York teams. Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.
· The O’Neill Brothers: Four brothers — Mike, Jack, Steve and Jim — from Connemara who played in the Major Leagues. Steve hit .333 in the 1920 World Series, won a title as the manager of the 1945 Detroit Tigers, and never had a losing season in 20 years of managing. Mike played six years for the Cardinals and Reds and was the first NL pitcher to hit a Grand Slam in the 20th century. Jack played five years as a catcher with the Cardinals and gave signals to his brother, Mike, as Gaeilge (in Gaelic). Jim played shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1920 and 1923.
· Roger Bresnahan: A star of the Dead Ball Era, “The Duke of Tralee,” popularized the use of shin guards for catchers and developed the first batting helmet.
· Nicole McFadyen: Long-time Baltimore Orioles head groundskeeper and one of only two women in the Major Leagues to hold the position.
· Joe McDonald: Longtime executive with the New York Mets (1965-80) with nearly 50 years of baseball work under his belt. He has been a part of five World Series Championships: Mets (1969); St. Louis Cardinals (1982); and Boston Red Sox (2004, 2007, and 2013).
Charles Comiskey: Longtime owner of the Chicago White Sox.
“This year’s ballot includes modern players, two Hall of Fame managers, a Dead Ball Era legend, current day broadcasters and a female groundskeeper,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.
Results of the voting will be announced in late April. The induction ceremonies will take place this summer at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.), which houses the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Voters include past inductees into the IAB HOF and a distinguished panel of baseball historians.
Additionally, The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame will present its annual Pete Caldera-Duke Castiglione “I Didn’t Know He Was Irish” Award, which goes annually to an honoree whose Irish roots are not widely known.
Additionally, the IABHOF and Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant is helping raise awareness of the Baseball United Foundation, which advocates for the growth and development of baseball and softball at all age and skill levels in Ireland. The foundation works directly with Baseball Ireland — the governing body of baseball in Ireland — to assist with field construction projects and to provide equipment and coaching. Learn more at www.SupportIrishBaseball.org
“There is a long lineage of major league baseball players and executives of Irish descent,” said Clancy, who is from County Cavan in Ireland. “The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame arose from two great passions: pride in my Irish heritage and the game of baseball.”
With the blessing of the National 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.
Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans during the sport’s 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.