Special to The Irish American Post
The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IABHOF) inducted its Class of 2019 on June 28, which included two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy, Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy, Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker, former Red Sox CEO John Harrington, John Fitzgerald, a founder of The Baseball United Foundation, and Danny O’Connell, who scored the first-ever West Coast run in MLB history.
The induction ceremony was held at Foley's NY Pub & Restaurant, 18 W. 33rd St., home of the IABHOF. Honorees included players, managers, scouts, broadcasters, executives, and entertainers of Irish descent who have impacted the game of baseball in a positive way. The voting is conducted by past honorees and a panel of baseball historians.
Inductees into the 2019 Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame celebrated at Foley’s Bar in New York.
The 2019 inductees:
Dale Murphy: During a career spent mostly with the Atlanta Braves, Murphy won back-to-back NL MVP Awards (1982–83), four Silver Slugger Awards (1982–85), and five Gold Gloves (1982–86).
Danny O'Connell: During a career cut short by military service, he amassed over 1,000 hits in the Major Leagues, hit in 26 straight games with the Pirates in 1953, led the 1961 Washington Senators in hits, and scored the first ever West Coast run for the SF Giants against the LA Dodgers on Opening Day 1958.
Danny O’Connor 2019 Inductee who played for the Milwaukee Braves, San Francisco Giants and Washington Senators
Tom McCarthy: The announcer has done play-by-play for the Philadelphia Phillies for the past decade.
Brian Snitker: NL Manager of the Year Award for the 2018 season, Snitker has been with the Atlanta Braces since signing as a minor leaguer in 1977 and also served as a minor league manager and coach.
John Fitzgerald: Founder of the Irish Junior National Baseball Team, the first team to win a gold medal for Ireland international competition and the founder of the Baseball United Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to advance youth baseball in Ireland and around the world.
John L. Harrington: CEO of the Red Sox, instrumental in assembling the successful Boston teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s. He championed inter-league play and the Wild Card playoff format, built the club's spring training facility in Fort Myers and brought the All-Star Game to Fenway Park in 1999.
"This year's class includes one of the best all-around players of the 1980s, the reigning NL Manager of the Year, an award-winning baseball documentarian, an iconic baseball executive, and one of baseball’s best broadcasters,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s Pub. The venue features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.
The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame also presented its annual Pete Caldera-Duke Castiglione “I Didn’t Know You Were Irish Award, which goes to an honoree whose Irish roots were not widely known. This year’s honoree was Tyler Tumminia, senior vice president of the Goldklang Group, which owns several professional baseball teams.
New this year was the introduction of the Clive Butterworth Award, which recognized outstanding volunteer service to youth and amateur baseball in Ireland. The first award posthumously went to the award's namesake, Clive Butterworth, who introduced the game of baseball to Ireland in 1958. He was solely responsible for the growth of youth and adult amateur baseball in Waterford and Dublin for nearly a decade.
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% 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.
Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans during the sport's infancy. 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.
John Mooney, curator of the Irish American Hall of Fame, inductee John Fitzgerald, and Shaun Clancy, president of the Irish American Hall of Fame, paused in the celebrations for a photo.
The Fitzgerald family gathered to honor John Fitzgerald, founder of the Irish Junior National Baseball Team.
The “Starting Nine” inductees in 2008 were: the late Mets and Phillies reliever Tug McGraw, Yankee announcer John Flaherty, sportswriter Jeff Horrigan, NY Mets groundskeeper Pete Flynn, retired sluggers Mark McGwire and Sean “The Mayor” Casey, Kevin Costner, star of Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, legendary owner-manager Connie Mack, and longtime official scorer and sports columnist Red Foley.
2009 inductees: Walter O’Malley, longtime Brooklyn and LA Dodgers owner; sluggers Steve Garvey and Paul O’Neill, Jim Joyce; veteran sportscaster Vin Scully, and Ed Lucas, a blind reporter who has covered New York baseball for four decades.
2010 inductees: Tim McCarver, veteran TV analyst and former player; Bob Murphy, longtime Mets announcer; Michael “King” Kelly, the game’s first superstar; Yankees GM Brian Cashman; Bill James, famed statistician and an advisor for the Boston Red Sox.
2011 inductees: Nolan Ryan, baseball’s all-time strikeout king, Big Ed Walsh, baseball’s all-time ERA leader, legendary New York Giants manager John McGraw, New York Yankees trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue, "Baseball's Balladeer” Terry Cashman, and Chuck Lennon, former player, coach and lifetime fan of Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball.
2012 inductees: Jimmy Breslin, author of Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?; Tom Kelly, two-time World Series champion manager with the Minnesota Twins; Gene Michael, former player, scout and GM responsible for building the modern Yankee dynasty; "Walpole Joe" Morgan, popular former player, scout and manager of Boston Red Sox; Jeff Nelson, reliever, four-time World Series champion with the Yankees; "Wee Willie" Keeler, Dead Ball era legend; and Mike Roarke, credited with teaching the split-fingered fastball to Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter and a supporter in the development of baseball in Ireland.
2013 inductees: Popular former Mets Rusty Staub and Joe McEwing; longtime owner of the LA Dodgers Peter O’Malley; Hall of Fame baseball writer Bill Madden of the New York Daily News; and award-winning columnist for The Boston Globe Dan Shaughnessy.
2014 inductees: veteran pitcher David Cone, longtime umpire Tom Gorman, Bill Shea, the driving force in bringing National League baseball back to New York in 1962, veteran baseball photographer Dave Schofield, and Hal McCoy, a longtime beat writer for the Cincinnati Reds.
2015 inductees: Mike Sweeney, five-time All-Star and former captain of the KC Royals; Dave O'Brien ESPN sportscaster and Red Sox radio announcer; Jack McKeon, a two-time NL Manager of Year whose 2003 Marlins won the World Series; Shannon Forde, a longtime member of New York Mets public relations staff; and minor league baseball team owner Bill Murray.
2016 inductees: Kevin Millar, a member of 2004 Red Sox who helped end Boston’s 86-year World Series title drought; Andy Leonard, recognized as the first native of Ireland (Co. Cavan) to play in the Major Leagues; Dave Wills, play-by-play announcer for the Tampa Bay Rays; Guy Gallagher, visitors’ clubhouse manager for the Tampa Bay Rays and chief communications officer for MLB Clubhouse Managers Association; and Ed Coleman, long-time WFAN correspondent for the New York Mets.
2017 inductees: Al Leiter longtime MLB pitcher, three-time World Series champion and Emmy Award-winning baseball analyst; Pat Hughes: play-by-play voice of the Chicago Cubs who called their historic World Series victory in 2016; Casey Stengel, “Baseball's Greatest Character”; The O'Neill Brothers, four siblings from Connemara, Ireland, who played in the Major Leagues; John Mooney, co-founder and curator of Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.
2018 inductees: Adam Dunn, slugger who hit 462 home runs mostly for the Cincinnati Reds; Eric Byrnes, hustling outfielder for the A’s during his playing career and an MLB Network personality today; Charles "Chub" Feeney: longtime front office executive for the Giants and National League President; Katy Feeney, beloved figure who handled an assortment of roles for Major League Baseball; Jack O’Connell: BBWAA’s secretary-treasurer who makes “The Call” to new National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees; Tom Whaley: Executive VP of the St. Paul Saints, one of Minor League Baseball’s most innovative teams.
2019 inductees: Dale Murphy, two-time NL MVP with the Atlanta Braves; Tom McCarthy, the Phillies’ radio play-by-play announcer; Brian Snitker, 2018 NL Manager of the Year; John L. Harrington, former Red Sox CEO who built successful Boston teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s; John Fitzgerald: founder of the Irish Junior National Baseball Team and the Baseball United Foundation, an organization that works to advance youth baseball in Ireland and around the world; and Danny O’Connell, who scored the first ever West Coast run in MLB history.
Editor’s Note: Located across from the Empire State Building, Foley's Bar is a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires, media and fans. The "Irish Bar with a Baseball Attitude" features walls adorned with 3,500 autographed balls, bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys, stadium seats and other artifacts that make it the premier baseball bar in New York and one of the best sports bars in America. For more information, call (212) 290-0080 or visit www.foleysny.com, Facebook or Twitter @foleysny.