In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Dodgers will be donning special green jerseys and caps today. If you remember, St. Patrick’s day was quite a special event during Spring Training in Vero Beach, Florida. The celebration reflected Walter O’ Malley’s Irish heritage. O’ Malley started a St. Patrick’s Day party tradition in Dodgertown on March 17, 1952. The parties were green and grand complete with Irish music, skits, green beer, and traditional Irish grub like corned beef and cabbage. Now that the Dodgers play in Arizona, these Irish festivities just aren’t the same as they once were in Dodgertown.
The Dodgers play split squad games today, so there is plenty of time to pour yourself a Guinness and listen or watch some Dodger baseball. It must be due to the luck of the Irish, because during tonight’s game we will be able to enjoy Vin Scully’s wonderful voice for the first time this baseball season.
Let’s take a look at those from the Dodger family who’s heritage hails from Ireland.
Walter Francis O’ Malley was born in the Bronx, New York of an Irish father Edwin Joseph O’Malley. He was inducted in to the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. The longtime owner of the Dodgers, both in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, won four world championships and eleven National League pennants. He spurred the Western migration of baseball when he moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles and built their home of Dodger Stadium almost fifty years ago. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. O’Malley’s Irish roots came from County Mayo, Ireland on his great-grandfather’s side.
Vincent Edward Scully is the greatest sportscaster to ever announce a game. He is the longest tenured broadcaster in professional sports history with a single club with 62 years and counting (1950-Present). Like O’Malley, Scully was born in the Bronx. His mother was a Roman Catholic homemaker of Irish descent with red hair just like her son. In 1982 Vin received the prestigious Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Steve Garvey, first baseman, was part of the beloved Dodger infield composed of fellow players Davey Lopes at second base, Bill Russell at shortstop, and Ron Cey at third. Garvey holds the NL record for 1,207 consecutive games played. He won the 1974 NL MVP, three-time NLCS MVP, and 1981 World Championship among his many other accomplishments and awards. His family ancestry is from the County of Cork in Ireland.
Frank McCourt, the soon-to-be ex Dodgers owner, is also Irish-American.
Justin Todd Coffey, the newest addition to the Dodger bullpen, has a very meaningful Irish last name. An Irish surname, Coffey comes from the Gaelic term ‘cobhthach’ which means triumphant and winning. Sounds perfect!
Walter O’ Malley often said,
“Half the lies they tell about the Irish aren’t true!”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at Lasorda’s Lair.