Sports bars are not a rare find in Ney York City, but a pub that displays Babe Ruth’s 1919 transfer agreement from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees is as rare as an $8 beer at a stadium. The contract is just the tip of the iceberg. The walls of Foley’s are plastered with more than 3,000 signed baseballs, baseball cards, lineup cards from actual games, player bobbleheads, signed jerseys, even a brick from Wrigley Field.
One of the most remarkable signed baseballs boasts both Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca’s signatures. In the first nationally televised baseball game, Bobby Thomson hit the game-winning home run giving the New York Giants the National League pennant in 1951. Ralph Blanca was the pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers who gave up the hit. This was literally the “shot heard round the world” as it was broadcast on both television and radio, including Armed Forces Radio and therefore witnessed by millions. The fact that Blanca would cosign the baseball with Thomson speaks volumes about his sportsmanship.
Bar owner Shaun Clancy created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. Inductees include players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent who have had a positive impact on baseball. One of the more colorful inductees is Michael Joseph “King” Kelly, one of baseball’s first superstars. Kelly predominately played for the Chicago White Stockings and the Boston Beaneaters during his 16-year baseball career, which spanned from 1878 to 1893. Kelly was also a vaudeville performer and author. His autobiography, Play Ball, ghostwritten by Boston baseball writer Jack Drohan, was the first autobiography written by a baseball player.