The prestigious Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame has just announced its class for 2013. The “other” Baseball Hall of Fame, honors players. executives, and journalists of Irish descent. The player pool is a tad smaller than you may think. The 2013 player class is tiny but Super. It is also made up completely of ex-Mets. Super Ginger, Rusty Staub and “Super” Joe McEwing headline it this year. The other recipients include longtime owner of the LA Dodgers Peter O’Malley; Hall of Fame baseball writer Bill Madden of the New York Daily News; and award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe Dan Shaughnessy.
The induction ceremony will occur noon on Tuesday, May 7th at Foley’s NY Pub and restaurant. Shaun Clancy is not only the head of the IBHA but he is also the bar owner. Clancy is psyched about the talent chosen especially the Mets players.
We are (also) proud to honor two of the most popular players in Mets history: Rusty Staub, a main cog in the 1973 NL Championship season, and “Super Joe” McEwing, a tough and versatile competitor for the 2000 World Series team.”
“Le Grande Orange” or the Big Ginger had a very solid major league career. He was a lifetime .279 hitter who amassed over 2700 hits. He currently ranks 6oth all time on the MLB hits list. He is the only player in MLB history to have 500 hits for four different teams. He also smacked 292 career dingers and drove in close to 1500 runs. He is a six-time All Star and had his number 10 jersey retired in Montreal. He played in parts of nine seasons with the Mets with his best coming in 1975. He came in fourteenth in MVP voting that year as he hit nineteen home runs and drove in 105 RBIs that year. He also played a huge part in the Mets 1973 NL championship run which was eventually cut short by the A’s that year in a hard fought World Series. He hit 36 doubles that year to go along with his 15 jacks and 75 RBIs. Staub has had a resurgence of sorts for the Mets in 2013. He was chosen to throw out the ceremonial Opening Day pitch at Citi Field on his 69th birthday. He also got to pose for pictures with Emma Rossum who sang the anthem that day. Lucky. It is not surprising that the IBHA would open its doors to the affable and popular star, Rusty Staub.
Joe McEwing? He’s a little more of a question mark. How the hell did they settle on Super Joe McEwing? I mean I loved the guy but it’s a Hall of Fame? I would like to see the ballot criteria. Baseball player? Check. Irish? Check. Mc at beginning of last name? Check. Boom, Hall of Fame. Some of the other players that are members include Nolan Ryan, Tug McGraw, Mark McGwire, Tim McCarver, Steve Garvey, John Flaherty, and Paul O’Neill. It is obvious that is a heavily New York player laden club but most of these guys had very memorable careers. How about Kevin McReynolds? He has a Mc in his last name. He also had a great mustache. They seem low on Irish guys with mustaches. He played 6 years for the Metsies and hit 122 home runs for them. He factored in MVP voting in 1988 when he hit 27 home runs, drove in 99, and stole 21 bases. He also played the hell out of all three outfield positions despite never being popular enough to earn a gold glove.
McEwing was on the list last year along with Dale Murphy and Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson. Nelson, the four-time World Series champion beat them both out and took the prize. It must have been the mustache thing again. Poor Dale Murphy can’t buy a Hall of Fame induction. His fifteen year limit on the Cooperstown ballot expired this year. Apparently he can’t get a free beer in Foley’s either. Murph played for 18 years and won back to back NL MVP awards. He was the Silver Slugger award winner four straight seasons and won five straight golden gloves for Atlanta from 1982 to 1986. He played in seven career all-star games but he was no Joe McEwing.
Super Joe played every position besides pitcher and catcher in his rookie season in 1999 for the Cards. He was a lifetime .251 hitter. He didn’t have much power but occasionally he muscled an extra base knock and it was usually an important one. He was a fan favorite because of the energy and enthusiasm he brought to each game he played in. He had a knack for getting a big hit or making a big play when it was needed most. He was a big part of the 2000 NL Champion New York Mets and his intangibles played a huge role in keeping the team loose but focused. He was beloved by Mets players and coaches including Mike Piazza and David Wright. Piazza was visibly upset when Joe was released in 2005.
“He was so unselfish and he was the biggest cheerleader for everybody and wanted nothing but for everybody to be successful,” Piazza said. “And he was always there to pick up the slack. This is a sad day.”
Stop by and have a beer at Foley’s to celebrate the newest Mets Hall members. Stick around to check out the really cool selection of baseball schwag. If Piazza can pull himself away from his ballet dancing maybe he can even induct Joe into the IBHA in May. It might be the closest his Italian ass ever gets to the Irish Baseball Hall of Fame. Hopefully Mike will be enshrined in the larger baseball Hall of Fame located a little further upstate next year. I just wonder if Dale Murphy will get into the Irish one before Daniel Murphy does.