The Emerald Diamond: How the Irish Transformed America’s Greatest Pastime

Charley Rosen, Author
Charley Rosen. Harper, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-208988-5
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-208991-5
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FoxSports.com analyst Rosen (Bullpen Diaries) provides a virtual roll call of every Irish player who ever donned a professional baseball uniform, recounting statistics and exploits in exhaustive detail. Large numbers of immigrants, scant employment opportunities, and a hatred of all things English, such as cricket, contributed to Irish immigrants embracing baseball. The game helped them “assimilate into American life,” and Rosen contends that it was primarily Irish players who “popularized and modernized the game” through the early 20th century. Rosen is heavy on statistics, but light on analysis. The result is a chronicle of achievements more than the case for recognition stated in the title. Innovations by Irish players include the development of pitcher/catcher communication, various defensive strategies, and shin guards for catchers, but those are overshadowed by the litany of batting averages and ERAs. More focus on the careers and present-day manifestation of the contributions and innovations of longtime managers such as Ned Hanlon and John McGraw would have pleased all baseball fans, Irish or not. (Apr.)
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