Six inducted to the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame

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Despite the best efforts of 19th century racists, the Irish took over baseball in the late 1800s and never really let it go. And because of that, appropriately enough, the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is a thing. And, wonderfully, it’s housed in a great Irish pub/baseball bar.   Today it announced its 2012 honorees:

  • Jimmy Breslin, author of one of the most famous baseball books ever written, Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?, which chronicled the 1962 New York Mets inaugural season;
  • Tom Kelly, two-time World Series champion manager with the Minnesota Twins;
  • Gene Michael, scout and GM responsible for signing players including Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, among others;
  •  “Walpole Joe” Morgan, popular former player, scout and a manager of Boston Red Sox;
  • Jeff Nelson, longtime reliever, four-time World Series champion with the Yankees;
  • “Wee Willie” Keeler, a legend of the Dead Ball era when nearly a third of major league players were of Irish descent.

Induction ceremonies will take place a week from today at that great bar: Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant in New York.

Twins to retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.

Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.

Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.

Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.