I had a hell of a time hunting down this thread, which hasn't been contributed to for years, but I'm hoping to revive it. As a journalist who's written for an Irish-American newspaper for the last dozen years or so, this guy's a personal cause for me. I recently found out, through my research of the Irish in baseball, about Bond, who was Irish born (like MANY other 19th Century players and almost none after about 1919). I can't be unbiased, but I think he should be in. He was the first great major league pitcher, pitched his team to two pennants, and as unfortunate as it was that his peak was so short, he sure made the most of it.
For said paper (The Irish Herald, based in San Francisco), I interviewed David Fleitz, who wrote a book called The Irish in Baseball: An Early History. Here's what he answered when asked which Irish players he thought belonged in the hall:
Especially with Mullane's nomination, I thought it was interesting that he mentioned Bond first. Don't know if we've had a discussion about Leonard, but being that Bond was active later, once the leagues became more organized, he seems like the best choice for an Irish-born player, and an easier one to root for than Mullane, who was not well-liked.
Tommy Bond definitely belongs; though he barely qualifies by playing only 10 seasons. He was the first man to win 40 games three years in a row, and pitched Boston to pennants in 1877 and 1878. His strikeout to walk ratio is the best of all time, and his record is better than many, despite his short career.
I would [also] support Andy Leonard, the first great Irish-born player. He was a power hitter for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings and was a mainstay on Boston ’s six pennant winners in the 1870s.
Tony Mullane might belong also, though his career was checkered with his racial attitudes (he made unflattering quotes about Moses Walker, his African-American catcher for Toledo in 1884) and an 1885 suspension for contract jumping. Still, Mullane has a better record than many in the Hall. If I had to choose one, it would be Bond. If Bond had won 300 to 350 games, he would be much better remembered today. So would Leonard, had he come along a decade later.
I mostly just wanted to revive the thread, since Irish baseball players fascinate me. Any further thoughts on him?
Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."
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