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Friday, March 17, 2017

The Best Irish Ballplayers of All Time

#1 Troy O’Leary!

There have been 48 Irish-born ballplayers in the major leagues (Baseball Reference lists 47 of them, but inexplicably leaves off their list the appropriately nicknamed Henry “Irish” McIlveen, who was born in Belfast and played for the Pirates and Yankees from 1906 to 1909). First-generation Irish-Americans, men who were born in the United States but grew up in the Irish immigrant milieu, make up an even larger number. But the farther we get from the massive Irish immigration of the nineteenth century, the more Irish-descended ballplayers became absorbed in baseball’s (and America’s) melting pot.

The last Irish-born player to take the field in a game was Joe Cleary, who gave up seven earned runs in a third of an inning for the Washington Senators in 1945. Other than that brief appearance, 1918 was the last major league season to feature natives of Ireland on any team’s roster, as Jimmy Archer and Paddy O’Connor played their final games for the Reds and Giants, respectively.

Irish ballplayers after 1918 meant Irish-Americans, the sons and grandsons of immigrants. As the Irish mixed into American society, the Irish origins of American ballplayers became less remarkable, especially amid the ever-widening range of national origins of 21st-century players. We hardly think of Daniel Murphy or Tanner Roark as Irish ballplayers, or even as Irish-Americans, any more than we think of Max Scherzer as German.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 17, 2017 at 11:41 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: irish

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   1. Jacob Posted: March 18, 2017 at 04:07 AM (#5419193)
I wouldn't figure O'Leary is Irish, since he's black.
   2. Max Parkinson Posted: March 18, 2017 at 04:26 AM (#5419194)
Not only that, but he's proud.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: March 18, 2017 at 06:51 AM (#5419196)
The Mets have an a-ball pitcher who was born in Ireland. I don't know if there have been many others in the minors.
   4. Adam Starblind Posted: March 18, 2017 at 09:17 AM (#5419204)
Shawn Green!
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 18, 2017 at 09:39 AM (#5419209)
Spud Chandler. Mick E. Mantle. Bartolo Colon, whose weight is always Dublin.
   6. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 18, 2017 at 10:06 AM (#5419211)
The article makes one debatable choice for its Irish team, moving Andy Leonard from outfield to short and putting Jimmy Walsh in the outfield. The alternative would be just putting Jimmy Hallinan at short. I can't fathom why someone making up an imaginary team would pass on a plausible left-handed shortstop, but maybe they just timelined very heavily from 1875 to 1915.
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 18, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5419242)
No Irish ballplayer could ever be as badass as Killer O'Grady.
   8. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: March 18, 2017 at 11:38 AM (#5419245)
I wouldn't figure O'Leary is Irish, since he's black.


These are the jokes.
   9. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 18, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5419247)
Bartolo Colon


You mean Bart O'Colon?
   10. winnipegwhip Posted: March 18, 2017 at 02:21 PM (#5419298)
Billy Bean nominates Patrick Fitzhenry and Henry Fitzpatrick
   11. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 18, 2017 at 02:51 PM (#5419308)
I suppose BB-ref doesn't last the player born in Belfast because he would be on the list of player born in the UK.
   12. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 18, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5419309)
Although on the other hand, when most of these players were born all of Ireland was part of the UK.

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