Happy St. Patrick's Day!
For many people, the feast day of the man who brought Catholicism to the Emerald Island and, by doing so, helped to save much of the Western literary canon, is a day to throw on something green and drink dyed-green beer until bagpipes sound like a highly-melodic instrument. However, on occasion, some irritating blogger of dubious Irish descent will try to turn it into a time to celebrate the contributions that the Sons and Daughters of Erin have made in this country.
Our purview here is baseball and like so many other parts of American life, the game has been shaped by men of Irish decent. The great players of the early days of professional baseball were largely Irishmen. Michael Joseph "King" Kelly and James Henry O'Rourke were two of the game's first major stars, earning themselves place in the Hall of Fame for their play in the 1870's and 1880's. Former catcher Cornelius McGillicuddy, Sr. is known as one of the greatest owners and managers in the game's history under the name Connie Mack .At the start of the 20th century, Mack's Athletics teams battled for baseball supremacy against another club under the direction of a notable descendant of Hibernia. Mack's A's played in five World Series from 1905 to 1913 and they meant John McGraw's Giants in three of them. One of McGraw's stars, Roger Bresnahan, erroneously known as the Duke of Tralee (his parents hailed from the town, but he was born in the U.S.) is credited with introducing shin-guards. From Kelly and O'Rourke to Sean Casey and Vin Scully, Irish-American's have left their mark on the game in just about every way possible.
One of the many things the Irish people are known for is their love of stories. Well, today -as millions of beer ads across America like to claim- everyone is a little Irish. So give us a story or two. Who is your favorite Irish-American baseball player in the history of the sport?
Breakfast Links 3/17:
Over at Bless You Boys, Patrick O'Kennedy celebrates St. Paddy's day with the story of another great Irish-American.
Six pitchers with elbow injuries could miss the entire 2014 season.
With Jose Iglesias out for an extended period, Drew was a logical fall-back plan for Detroit, but the Tigers aren't going after the veteran shortstop.
The Dodgers added a pair of bench players to their 40-man roster.
It seems the M's have an innovative plan that involves having two everyday second baseman on the field at once.