Failte Irish American Hall of Fame

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Influence on America’s Pastime

The intersection of Irish immigration and the civil war also led to an interesting and unlikely Irish influence on what was to become America’s national past time – baseball.   By the early 1860’s the game similar to the one we know today began to evolve.  It spread across the country during the civil war by soldiers from Massachusetts and New York who introduced the game to Midwesterners and Southerners.    Cities such as Boston, New York and Chicago (all with large populations of Irish immigrants) embraced baseball.  Irish Americans influenced the development and growth of baseball into a professional sport.

In Boston, Andrew Jackson Leonard, a native of County Cavan, played for the Boston Red Stockings.  Leonard played a number of positions, most notably left field.  He excelled as a hitter with some sources crediting him with 211 hits in 54 games.  Charles Comiskey,   a first baseman and manager of the St. Louis Browns was the son of Irish immigrants from County Cavan.  He was raised in Chicago and it was said that as he ascended the baseball management ladder, that he dreamed of one day owning the Chicago White Stockings.   And, in 1901 became the owner of the team.

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