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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Press Release: Walter O'Malley, Vin Scully, Others To Be Honored In New York

From the press release... presumably no spontaneous combustion resulted:
New York, NY (July 1, 2009) – Longtime Brooklyn and LA Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, sluggers Steve Garvey and Paul O’Neill, longtime umpire Jim Joyce, veteran sportscaster Vin Scully and Ed Lucas, a blind reporter who has covered the Yankees and Mets for more than 40 years, will be inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at Noon.

The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is housed at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant ( 18 W. 33rd St. ) in Manhattan and, with a blessing from Cooperstown , recognizes current and former players, managers, executives, journalists and entertainers of Irish descent.

The game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days -- when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage -- up to today as major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan , Canada , and elsewhere. Honorees are chosen based on a combination of factors: impact on the game, popularity, contributions to the community, and, of course, ancestry.

“Our goal is to celebrate the contributions of Irish Americans to the game of baseball, both on and off the field,” said Shaun Clancy, founder of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame and owner of Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant, where it is housed. “We’re honored that Steve Garvey and Peter O’Malley, who will represent his father and the O’Malley family, are flying in to attend the ceremony.”

“The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is the first New York City organization in the past half-century to honor Walter O’Malley. His Dodger teams won four World Series and 11 N.L. Pennants during his years of ownership,” Clancy continued. “Significantly, he was co-owner and legal counsel for the Dodgers when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. This part of his resume had as much impact on the game as any of his other accomplishments, which also include his team’s legendary World Series victory in 1955.”

“This is a great honor,” said former Dodger great Steve Garvey, one of the most popular players of the 1970s and early 80s. “I’m as proud of my Irish roots as I am my accomplishments on the baseball field.”

“My father was most proud of his Irish heritage and would have loved this honor, particularly since it is in New York , where he was born,” said Peter O’Malley, son of the longtime Dodgers owner and a former president and owner of the team.

Many of baseball’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), all-time ERA leader Big Ed Walsh and NY Giants manager John McGraw. In fact, the large 1945 class of inductees enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame included nine Irish Americans: Roger Bresnahan, Dan Brouthers, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hughie Jennings, King Kelly, and Jim O'Rourke.

Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans in the sport dating from its infancy – a legacy that has been 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. Inductees include players, managers, team executives, umpires, journalists, broadcasters, entertainers. In addition to giving each inductee a copy of his plaque, Foley’s will make a donation to Umps Care and Ed Randall’s Bat For The Cure in their names.

“As an immigrant myself, I am so proud of the positive response to the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame from both the inductees and visitors. Learning the game helped me fall in love with America ’s national past time and my adopted homeland,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia outside of Cooperstown . “We’re thrilled to host and celebrate the honorees here today and celebrate their impact on the game and the community.”

The 7x9 inch brass plaques feature the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame logo, an image of each inductee with a brief list of career and personal accomplishments, as well as Irish roots and/or connections and the date of induction. The plaques were designed by engravers Ashburns, Inc.

The “Starting Nine” inductees last year 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 columnist Red Foley.

About Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant

A popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, Foley's NY Pub & Restaurant (www.foleysny.com) is located on 18 W. 33rd St. , across the street from the Empire State Building . The "Irish bar with a baseball attitude" features walls adorned with 2,000 autographed baseballs, hundreds of bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys, stadium seats and other artifacts that make Foley’s the best baseball bar in New York and one of the best sports bars in America.

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