With third-base coach Joe McEwing among this year's class of inductees, manager Robin Ventura and the entire coaching staff made their way to Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant for the occasion. McEwing was inducted alongside another former Met in Rusty Staub; Peter O'Malley, the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Bill Madden of the New York Daily News; and Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy.
"It's a true honor," McEwing said. "Any Hall of Fame that you're inducted into, it means people think enough of you to believe that you're making a solid impact on and off the field. And when it relates to your heritage and baseball, two things that you're passionate about, it's humbling and it's an honor."
McEwing was introduced by Jeff Manto, a longtime friend and the White Sox hitting coach, who was among those filling several tables near the podium with friends, family and coaches. They did save one seat for a late-arriving guest: Mets third baseman David Wright, who broke into the big leagues during McEwing's tenure in New York. The All-Star didn't stay for lunch -- Foley's features a David Wright Sandwich of grilled chicken in buffalo sauce with lettuce, tomato and blue cheese dressing -- but he did pause for photos and to sign autographs as he made his way to the door.
"Joe's been a special favorite of mine, a class act," said Shaun Clancy, the owner of Foley's and the president of the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. "When we started this, there were two guys who sprang to mind straight off the bat: Joe was one and Sean Casey was the other. Sean went in with one of the first classes ... and we were finally able to get [Joe] taken care of.
"The fact that Robin Ventura brought the entire coaching staff, that shows the level of respect that they have for Joe."
Madden was on hand to accept his plaque, but Staub and Shaughnessy were unable to attend. Singer-songwriter Terry Cashman -- "Baseball's Balladeer" and a 2011 inductee -- accepted on behalf of Staub, and Shaughnessy's son, Sam, stood in for his father. O'Malley, who owned the Dodgers following his father's death in 1979 until the family sold the team in 1998, also made the trip to New York.
"I'm very proud, I'm very honored and I really salute Shaun for the work he's done, the passion he has, to recognize the Irish tradition in baseball," O'Malley said. "Because if he hadn't done that, no one else would've stepped forward to do that. He's captured that here at Foley's, and I really tip my hat to him and I'm happy that he's done it, and I'm glad to be included."
In his introduction, Clancy touched on O'Malley's contributions to growing the game of baseball around the world, specifically his funding of the O'Malley Fields at Corcaigh Park in Clondalkin, West Dublin. The complex is considered the main home of Irish baseball.
"Peter O'Malley has been a huge help to me and also to baseball in Ireland," Clancy said. "This was a very satisfying class. Other years, you're fighting to get people to come or to acknowledge it, but the five guys that we put in this year, there was tremendous support."
None more than from the South Side of Chicago.