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Play ball as Irish hall announces nominees

Nolan Ryan. Hand in glove with the new baseball season, the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (yes, there is such a thing) has announced its nominee ballot for 2012 inductions.The list includes Dead Ball Era superstars Roger Bresnahan (“The Duke of Tralee”), “Big Ed” Delahanty, and “Wee Willie” Keeler; former players “Super Joe” McEwing (Mets, Cards, Royals, Astros and White Sox), Dale Murphy (Braves), Jeff Nelson (Yankees, Mariners); managers Tom Kelly (Twins),  Jack McKeon (Marlins) and “Walpole Joe” Morgan (Red Sox); executives Gene Michael (Yankees), Peter O’Malley (Dodgers) and Charles Comiskey (White Sox); media Jimmy Breslin, Ed Coleman, and Hal McCoy; and entertainers Jimmy Fallon, Rosie O’Donnell and Amy Madigan.Voters for the hall, located at Foley’s Pub & Restaurant at 18 W. 33rd St, in Manhattan, include past inductees and a panel of baseball experts. The hall, according to a release, recognizes players, executives, journalists and entertainers of Irish DescentResults of the voting will be announced in May; induction ceremonies will take place at Noon on Friday, July 27, 2012, at Foleys. Voters include past inductees into the IAB HOF and a panel of baseball historians.The 2012 nominees are an eclectic bunch. Roger Bresnahan: “The Duke of Tralee” pioneered the use of shin guards and batting helmets. “Big Ed” Delahanty was one of the great early power hitters of the game; his lifetime .346 average ranks fifth all-time. “Wee Willie” Keeler, the Dead Ball Era star, holds the second longest hitting streak at 44 games.“Super Joe” McEwing was a popular utility player for the Cardinals, Mets, Royals, Astros and White Sox. Dale Murphy was a two-time National League MVP for the Atlanta Braves. Jeff Nelson was a longtime reliever for the Yankees and four-time World Series champion.Tom Kelly was Twins manager who won World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. Jack McKeon was a two-time National League Manager of Year whose 2003 Florida Marlins won the World Series. “Walpole Joe” Morgan was a popular former player, scout and a manager of Boston Red Sox.Gene Michael, a scout and former Yankees GM, signed players such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. Peter O’Malley is a former owner of the LA Dodgers and longtime supporter of Baseball Ireland. Charles Comiskey is the famed owner of the Chicago White Sox.Jimmy Breslin is veteran New York journalist and sports writer. Ed Coleman is a New York Mets radio broadcaster and Hal McCoy is included as a Cincinnati Reds beat writer.Jimmy Fallon is the star of “Fever Pitch,” Rosie O’Donnell was a co-star in “A League of Their Own” while Amy Madigan co-starred in “Field of Dreams.”“We have a diverse group of nominees, including former players, scouts, managers, owners, journalists and entertainers,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia outside of Cooperstown.With the blessing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Foley’s, a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, 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, including impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry.According to the release, the game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players having claimed Irish heritage.Many of the game’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), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw.Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall of Fame after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans in the sport dating from its 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.The “Starting Nine” inductees in 2008 were: the late Mets and Phillies reliever Tug McGraw, Yankee announcer John Flaherty (featured in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day issue of the Irish Echo), 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 sports columnist, Red Foley.2009 inductees: Walter O’Malley, longtime Brooklyn and LA Dodgers owner (Executive category); sluggers Steve Garvey and Paul O’Neill (Players category), Jim Joyce (Umpire); veteran sportscaster Vin Scully, and Ed Lucas, a blind reporter who has covered the Yankees and Mets for four decades.2010 inductees: Tim McCarver, veteran TV analyst and former player; Bob Murphy, longtime Mets announcer (Media category); Michael “King” Kelly, the game’s first superstar (Hall of Famers and Legends category); Yankees GM Brian Cashman (Executives category); Bill James, famed statistician and an advisor for the Boston Red Sox (Executives category).2011 inductees: Nolan Ryan, baseball’s all-time strikeout king, Big Ed Walsh, baseball’s all-time ERA leader, legendary New York Giants manager John McGraw, New York Yankees trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue, “Baseball’s Balladeer” Terry Cashman, and Chuck Lennon, former player, coach and lifetime fan of Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball.Foley’s dubs itself the “Irish Bar with a Baseball Attitude” and features walls adorned with over 2,500 autographed balls, hundreds of bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys, stadium seats and other artifacts. 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