Erin Go Basebraugh*

irish_baseball

I am drinking some Donegal Whiskey as I write this, because I can think of no finer way than to celebrate my 9% Irishness and the great holiday of St. Patrick’s Day than to drink some fine Irish whiskey as I write. Wait, am I stereotyping the Irish? My best friend is Irish-American, and she said it was cool, so we’re good.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a fascination with all things Irish, without quite knowing why. Favorite color: green. I wore a Claddagh ring. Step Dancing fascinated me. I couldn’t do it–I have too much Latin hip motion, but it is so fascinating to watch. The accents. I have visited the Motherland, Ireland, which is unimaginably beautiful. I stayed in Adare, a small picturesque town near Limerick and toured the countryside from there: the people hospitable, the food shockingly delicious, and the land green, luscious, endless. The birthplace of personal favorites James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, Dublin, is amazing. Yes, the Guinness does taste better there. The Trinity College Old Library and the Book of Kells–I almost wept at its beauty. But what the heck does this have to do with baseball…

Despite what that racist Old Hoss Radbourn would have you believe…

…many an Irishman has contributed to baseball.

The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is located at Foley’s NY Pub and Restaurant. Its goal is to:

 “…recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent who have significantly and positively impacted the game of baseball.”

According to its website, during the beginning days of baseball, up to 30% of baseball players were of Irish-American descent.

Here are the inductees by year.

2008

Connie Mack

Kevin Costner

Sean Casey

Mark McGwire (PEDs do not disqualify you from this HOF maybe because most everyone is on performance detracting substances?)

Frank “Tug” McGraw

Pete Flynn

John Flaherty

Arthur “Red” Foley

Jeff Horrigan

 

2009

Steve Garvey

Walter O’Malley

Paul O’Neill

Jim Joyce

Vin Scully

 

2010

Tim McCarver

Brian Cashman

Bill James

Bob Murphy

Mike “King” Kelly

 

2011

Big Ed Walsh

John McGraw

Terry Cashman

Nolan Ryan

Chuck Lennon

Gene Monahan

Steve Donohue

 

2012

Jeff Nelson

“Wee Willie” Keeler

Gene “The Stick” Michael

Jimmy Breslin

Tom Kelly

“Walpole Joe” Morgan

Mike Roarke

 

2013

Rusty Staub

“Super Joe” McEwing

Bill Madden

Peter O’Malley

Dan Shaughnessy (This HOF sucks!!!!)

 

2014

David Cone

Tom Gorman

Bill Shea

Hal McCoy

Dave Schofield

 

2015

Mike Sweeney

Jack McKeon

Shannon Forde

Dave O’Brien

Bill Murray (Okay, this HOF is pretty cool. I rewatched Groundhog Day last Sunday night. Has there ever been a funnier movie about existentialism? Murray is a minor deity.)

 

In addition to the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, you might be aware of the effort to get baseball going in Ireland. It all started with St. Louis native Mike Kindle moving to Ireland in 1990, missing baseball something awful, and being shocked to see a bumper sticker about Irish softball on someone’s car. He rapped on the poor man’s car, scaring the bejeezus out of the driver. He thought he was being hijacked. Kindle only wanted to know where he could find softball in Ireland. For a few years, they played co-ed soft pitch softball, but then they wanted something a little bit more competitive and faster, and in 1996, baseball in Ireland was born. About 30 guys played at that point. They wanted to play competitively in Europe. Others couldn’t believe there was an actual baseball team in Ireland.

The first practice had 15 guys in a park in Dublin. They played in a park for soccer or Gaelic sports. They had makeshift backstops. Bases were stolen from softball teams. They had four balls.

The Irish team went to the 1996 European B-Pool Championship in Hull, England. They drew the Czech Republic team in the first round–“studs” per the Irish team.

The Irish team had a ringer: Gus Hernandez, a infielder of Mexican-Irish baseball player by way of marriage. He got the Irish team’s first hit off the Czech’s team intimidating lefty pitcher. Gus proceeded to get immediately picked off by the lefty. It was the first time the Irish team had ever faced a LHP. Ireland lost the game 23-2.

I got that story from The Emerald Diamond: The True Story of Ireland’s National Baseball Team. If you really want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, pour yourself a pint of Guinness and watch it. It’s fantastic. Sláinte!

Side note: I normally don’t want jerseys. They are too damn hot to wear and way too expensive, but if someone were to buy me that Ireland jersey, I would be very happy.

Any other Irish among us?

Edit: Sadly, I cannot live blog this afternoon’s Rays-Phillies games from Brighthouse Field. My boss is an Englishwoman, and she does not understand the importance of this holiday to my people. And by my people, I mean alcoholics.

*h/t paper lions

44 thoughts on “Erin Go Basebraugh*

  1. Me! Well, sorta. I have a traceable Irish ancestor who came to these shores about five bajillion years ago.

    Got much more English in me than anything else, but I will take those handful of Irish ancestors and run with it.

    I look frickin’ good with red hair, too. I got that pale blue eyed thing going on, the red hair makes me look like my skin glows. 🙂

    Like

    • Haha, awesome. Go for the red hair, I agree it would look amazing on you. Us redheads, taking over! I get good feedback too on the red hair, even though I am basically your opposite, with espresso eyes and olive skin. It’s a flattering color on people, I think, but I love red hair.

      When I saw Irish on that DNA test, I laughed so hard. Irish? Really? I give new meaning to the term “Black Irish.” Nothing about me appears remotely Irish, although I do have a very light smattering of freckles that you have to get close up to see. And again, a taste for whiskey.

      Today though, we’re all just a little bit Irish, right?

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  2. My wife is third generation Irish. And she is serious about it. Her father moved the family down from Rhode Island, and in New England you don’t mess around with Irish heritage.

    I am nominally English/German, but not having had the DNA done, I strongly suspect a touch o’ the green. I do like good whiskey.

    We took an extended driving tour of Ireland some years back and basically did the whole country. Stayed in B&B’s where, when asked, I would claim to be “Irish by marriage.”

    And yes, Indy, the worst glass of Guiness I had in Ireland was better than the best glass I ever had in the States.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Irish by marriage, we’ll take it! Wasn’t Ireland lovely? I missed the northern portion, and next time, I would like more time to explore Dublin. Loved Dingle, Galway, and Kinsale.

      That DNA test was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself. Unlocking the genome was such a surprise.

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      • Donegal is hard core Ireland. You should definitely go there. And we had some good experiences in and around Derry, too. We happened to go at a time when the Troubles were at their absolute low point. But I maintain that if you don’t go looking for trouble, the trouble doesn’t find you.

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        • I love Donegal whiskey. A trip there would be fantastic. Next time, more time to explore Scotland and England too although I can’t imagine I would love them as much as my Emerald Isle (oh, I am not big on jewelry, but my favorite gem since childhood is the emerald. Keep your diamonds. I was always fascinated by the giant emerald rock in the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.)

          It’s not a baseball diamond. It’s green. It’s actually an emerald cut in a diamond shape.

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        • Diamonds are boring. The colored stones are always more interesting.

          Yeah, Vicki is hassling me about another trip to Ireland. Loved it, but just so many other places to go. We are taking the grandson to London in June.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I never understood people’s fascination with diamonds. They are boring to me.

          Something is calling me back to Ireland. I have to watch a baseball game there.

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        • I went to London the week between the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics. It was amazing. Perfect.

          Scotland was fantastic, too. So beautiful.

          Liked by 1 person

        • We’re going to be in London the week before they vote on whether they stay in the EU. I hope it’s really interesting to be there then.

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  3. Wait, Foley’s has the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame? How have I not realized this in the times that I’ve gone there? Who’s up for a road trip to Midtown?

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  4. I have a goodly amount of Irish blood from my mother’s side; my mom was one of 13 farm kids that grew up in a rural, Irish-Cathoilic community in the 30’s and 40’s. Her grandparents (all 4 of them) emigrated to NB from the Galway area. I am related to lots of Ryans, Dugans, Feeneys and Kilfoils. Every year, there is a community picnic in August, a tradition that started as a church picnic in 1878 and has run every year since then. This year will be the 139th annual gathering. It was a staple of my childhood, and I don’t think I missed one from the time I was born until I moved away at age 19. I remember well the ubiquitous parade float built on the back of a flatbed truck that had a recurring theme, “The Irish Wake”. It had people dancing, playing the fiddle and washboard and everyone passing around the jug of whiskey, including the parish priest. Every so often, someone would grab the corpse in the coffin by the necktie, sit him up and give him a swig. It reminded me of the old joke… “Q: What’s the difference between an Irish wedding and an Irish wake? A: The wake has one less drunk Irishman.”

    That said, I can’t indulge in a good whisky right now as I am sitting at work and the employer frowns upon that sort of thing for some reason.

    Also, (full disclosure) I completely forgot about what day it was, got up, showered and put on a nice bright red golf shirt. On the way out the door my son asks why I’m not wearing green for St. Paddy’s. I told him I am… for the red-green color blind people.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awesome stories, nbjays. See, all that Irish blood. I knew there was a reason I liked you so much.

      I am not wearing my normal scrub tops today. I am wearing my Kelly green and white Ireland t-shirt purchased in Dublin with white scrub pants. The other person showing the most spirit today is a Puerto Rican surgical tech wearing a Kelly green hat, lol. The Latinos. We high-fived.

      You didn’t wear green because you want to get pinched all day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nah, New Year’s Eve is for amateurs. I’m a professional, trust me.

      I noticed awhile back how many of my Irish friends had birthdays around December. Did a little math… 9-10 months after St. Patrick’s Day. Coincidence?

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, boredom will lead to that.

          When I was posted to Germany in the fall of 1988, my sponsor (someone from my squadron who was assigned to me for the first week to help me learn my way around and get all my in-clearance paperwork straightened out) was a guy named Brian… a single guy and a dedicated party animal. Just before he left to go back to Canada a few years later, he started dating a girl named Vicki who was also heading back to the same place at the same time. The next time I saw him, some 5 years later in the mall in Cold Lake, he was carrying a one-year-old, had a two-year-old by the hand, was trying to corral the four-year-old running amok, and was accompanied by his very pregnant wife, Vicki.

          I said, half-jokingly “Jeez, Brian, they’ve figured out what causes that, you know.”

          He just looked at me and said “I know goddamned well what causes it… fuck all on TV is what causes it, which is why we are here to buy a satellite dish.”

          Then we all shared a good laugh.

          Liked by 5 people

      • True story: I have two younger sisters, 7 and 8 years younger than me. They share the same birthday… yes, they were both born on June 21, one year apart. I did a little math and went back 9 months to see if there was a common theme. Seems that common theme was me going off to school and giving my parents a much-needed break. One sister was born 9 months after I started first grade, the other nine months after I started second grade. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Edit: Sadly, I cannot live blog this afternoon’s Rays-Phillies games from Brighthouse Field. My boss is an Englishwoman, and she does not understand the importance of this holiday to my people.

    But it’s St. Patrick’s Day, where everyone’s a little bit Irish, except the Italians and the gays.
    -Kent Brockman

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the title, but I think Erin Go Basebraugh would have been good, too.

    If you like Irish whiskey, let me recommend Redbreast, it only comes in 12 yr and 15 yr. It is really nice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooh, good title. My whiskey brain was a little toasted last night. I am pleased it is fairly coherent and had such few typos. I will change the title.

      I will add those to my shopping list, thanks.

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  7. According to my mother who has done much family history research, my Dad’s family emigrated down here a few generations back from County Antrim. Sadly, church birth records were not well-maintained in that part of the world so there’s not a lot of documentary proof, although I did have an Irish primary school teacher who did confirm a lot of people with the same surname in the area he came from in Antrim.

    I’ve not been to Ireland yet, but have been to Scotland and managed to visit a small town in the south-west named Wigtown. This coastal village was once the closest port for travel from Scotland to Northern Ireland (it’s only about 15 miles from Wigtown to County Antrim) but fell into disuse once ships grew too large for the shallow estuary.

    Anyway, while walking through the graveyard of one of Wigtown’s three churches (as you do on holidays, right?) I came across a headstone with my family’s name on it. And then another, and another. Then I started finding headstones with my first name as well. Finally, I came across one from 1865 with my full name – yes, first, middle and last names, all spelled exactly the same. I can confirm it is a very, very creepy experience to see your own name on a grave!

    I informed my mother (Dad passed away some years before) that we may well be of Scottish anestry, or at least an Irish-Scottish hybrid. Further evidence for this is the six part drunk bottles of genuine whiskey currently in our pantry, none of which comes from Ireland…

    (by the way, Wigtown is famous for the Wigtown Martyrs, a particular nasty episode of religious intolerance from 1685. The account of what happened then produces disturbing echoes in today’s events. Donald Trump would have fit right in with that lynch mob)

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Wilson_(Scottish_martyr)
    http://www.executedtoday.com/2008/05/11/1685-margaret-mclachlan-wilson-covenanters-solway-martyr/

    Liked by 2 people

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