Cashman among Irish HOF's 2010 class

Cashman among Irish HOF's 2010 class

NEW YORK -- For years, Brian Cashman has yearned to visit Ireland. The Yankees general manager -- who's of Irish descent -- constantly heard stories about his family's heritage, but never quite had a chance to explore his homeland.

But on Friday morning, Cashman enjoyed a unique opportunity to reconnect with his roots. Foley's New York Pub, an Irish bar located on 18 West 33rd Street, organized a ceremony to induct the Yankees general manager into its Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame.

"It's an honor to be here and this is really cool," Cashman said. "Ireland for me is a place you want to go to in the summer, and the summer -- and winter for that matter -- is a busy time for me ... I'll get over to Ireland. But it's an honor to be at this place."

Cashman, however, wasn't the only inductee in Foley's Class of 2010. FOX broadcaster Tim McCarver, baseball statistician Bill James, longtime Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy and former Chicago White Sox player Mike "King" Kelly were also enshrined in the bar's special ceremony.

"I'm so delighted to be here today," said McCarver, who will be announcing the Yankees' game against the Red Sox on Saturday. "My forefathers landed in Ellis Island and raised cranberries in Minnesota. How some six generations later I came up with this accent is for you to figure out. My parents would be very, very proud that I'm here at Foley's."

And the mastermind behind the Hall of Fame project is Foley's owner Shaun Clancy. Clancy, a native of Ireland, immigrated to the United States knowing very little about baseball. But as he gradually grew accustomed to the culture, he started to learn about baseball's illustrious history.

During a visit to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, though, he was surprised to discover Ireland's profound impact in baseball, producing players, broadcasters, sportswriters, groundskeepers and umpires that have contributed to the sports' growth.

So in 2008, Clancy created the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame to honor the accomplishments of baseball's Irish heroes.

"It was a chance for me to combine my two great loves -- baseball and Ireland," Clancy said. "When we started this, we didn't expect it to gain the momentum that's it gained, but it's a huge thrill to get the opportunity to combine my two loves."

Some of the bar's past inductees include St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire, Mets reliever Tug McGraw, Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill, sportscaster Vin Scully, veteran umpire Jim Joyce and actor Kevin Costner.

But of this year's class, Clancy noticed he shared the most professional parallels with Cashman. Like the GM -- who started as an intern for owner George Steinbrenner in 1986 -- Clancy also ascended from the bottom of Foley's, washing the dishes and cleaning tables in 1982 at his father's request.

"The only difference was my father didn't wear turtlenecks," Clancy said, referring to Steinbrenner's attire and pointing toward Cashman.

But Cashman is used to Clancy's jokes. For the past five years, the Yankees general manager has made sporadic visits to Foley's, grabbing the occasional meal and interacting with baseball fans. He even has an autographed baseball in Clancy's baseball shrine.

In fact, Cashman has grown so attached to Foley's, he even mentioned the possibility of a career change.

"I look forward to graduating from the Yankees and maybe having the chance to bar tend here one day," Cashman said with a smile.

Didier Morais is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.