The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IAB HOF) today announced the names of its 2017 inductees, who include accomplished former players, one of baseball’s greatest managers, and two current broadcasters.
The induction ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 13, at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.), which houses the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Voters include past inductees and a distinguished panel of baseball historians.
Current and Former Players
- Al Leiter: A longtime player for the New York Mets (1998-2004) and Yankees (1987-89; 2005), Leiter was a three-time World Series champion and a two-time All-Star. He now serves as a commentator for YES Network and MLB Network.
- Pat Hughes: The play-by-play voice of the Chicago Cubs Radio Network since 1996, Hughes broadcasted the Cubs’ historic World Series victory in 2016.
Hall of Famers/Legends
- Casey Stengel: An eight-time World Series Champion (one as a player, seven as Yankees manager), Stengel was named to the MLB All-Time Team in 1997. He also famously managed the 1962 Mets and wore the uniform of all four New York pro teams. In 1966, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
- The O’Neill Brothers: Four O’Neill brothers — Mike, Jack, Steve and Jim — from Connemara, Ireland, played in the Major Leagues. Steve hit .333 in the 1920 World Series, won a title as the manager of the 1945 Detroit Tigers, and never had a losing season in 20 years of managing. Mike played six years for the Cardinals and Reds and was the first 20th century NL pitcher to hit a Grand Slam. Jack played five years as a catcher with the Cardinals and gave signals to his brother, Mike, as Gaeilge (in Gaelic). Jim played shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1920 and 1923.
“This year’s ballot includes a popular modern player, four Irish-born Major League brothers, an award-winning radio announcer, and ‘Baseball’s Greatest Character’, Casey Stengel,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.
The IAB HOF will also present its Pete Caldera-Duke Castiglione “I Didn’t Know He Was Irish” Award, given to an honoree whose Irish roots are not widely known. This year’s honoree is Mike Siano of MLB.com.
Foley’s 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: 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 percent 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. Some of them included Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw. Today, major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere.
Shaun Clancy 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.