The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame has announced its 2023 class of inductees, and it includes three legends of the game: Jim Palmer, Jim Leyland, and John McSherry.
From the early days of the game, Irish Americans have played a vital role in shaping baseball into the national pastime we know and love today. The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is a testament to that legacy, and the 2023 class of inductees is a fitting tribute to the contributions of Irish Americans to the sport.
Jim Palmer: 3x Cy Young Award Winner
Jim Palmer is a former pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles who played in the major leagues from 1965 to 1984. He was a three-time Cy Young Award winner, a six-time All-Star, and a member of three World Series championship teams. According to the Irish Baseball Ancestry Database, Palmer’s biological father, Michael Joseph Gerehan was born in Ardlougher, County Leitrim. His biological mother, Mary Ann Moroney, was born in County Clare. However, Palmer was adopted as a baby and he was not aware of his Irish roots at the age of 72.
In an interview with Irish American Baseball Society me,mber Kevin Kernan for BallNine.com, Palmer discussed how his wife, Susan, made the discovery while doing research on a laptop during the MLB playoffs.
Palmer was born in 1945 and was soon adopted, and simply did not know of his Irish background. When Palmer was watching those four-hour October baseball games in 2017, Susan began her genealogical laptop research and eventually discovered Jim’s biological parents Mary Ann Moroney and Joe Geheran. Susan persuaded Jim to take a DNA test to further trace his lineage.
Susan connected with a descendant of the Moroneys of County Clare in Ireland. A first cousin, Pat Moroney, was located and visited the Palmers at their Florida home. Moroney, when he lived in the Bronx, used to watch Jim pitch against the Yankees.
Jim Leyland: 3x Manager of the Year and World Series Champion
Jim Leyland is a former manager who led four different teams to the playoffs during his 22-year career. Leyland began his coaching career in the minor leagues in 1970 and worked his way up to the majors, where he won three Manager of the Year awards and a World Series championship with the Florida Marlins in 1997. Leyland’s Great Grandmother, Catherine Carr, had family roots in County Cork. His Great Grandfather, John Walsh, was born in Wexford.
“I’m really happy to be inducted into the Irish Baseball Hall and really looking forward to it. I’ve seen some of the people getting into this Hall of Fame and it’s pretty impressive.’’ – Jim Leyland
John McSherry: A Highly Respected MLB Umpire for 25 Years
John Patrick McSherry was a beloved umpire who worked in the major leagues from 1971 to 1996. McSherry was known for his calm demeanor and his ability to defuse tense situations on the field. He was also a tireless advocate for his fellow umpires, serving as the president of the Major League Umpires Association for several years. McSherry’s untimely death in 1996 was a loss felt deeply throughout the baseball community.
“John was a great guy; it was sad what happened to him,’’ Leyland said. “I went way back to Tiger Town in the minor leagues with John, waaay back. He had very good judgement and he was one of those guys who knew how to handle situations.”
These three inductees represent the best of Irish American baseball. They have left a lasting impact on the game and inspired countless players and fans along the way. The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is proud to honor their contributions to the sport and to celebrate the rich history of Irish Americans in baseball.