Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history: Number 10 - Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's oldest, most charming and most successfull baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.

Cutting straight to the core, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number ten.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

The tenth best moment in Hurricanes history actually takes the form of a single game, a game packed with memories, none bigger than the final at bat of Hurricanes legend Gordon Ireland. The game in question was the 2004 Irish league encounter between the Hurricanes and the Blacksox. In terms of a competitive affair, it wasn’t much, with the ‘Canes dismantling the Sox 15-0. The score was actually 12-0 after 4 innings and the ‘Canes also managed to no-hit the Sox.

Most memorable was Gordon Ireland’s final at bat on the day, and in Irish baseball. Gordy was a legendary Hurricane and Irish National team player also. He played both first and third and hit the ball harder than most in Irish baseball history. The Hurricanes scooped Gordy up in the 1998 Irish League restructuring draft. Captain Tom Kelley had two picks consecutively early on. Other Captains assumed he wouldn’t pick two catchers at once; however TK knew that Gordy, one of the two in question, could also play other positions, and wanted his bat in the lineup anyway, and grabbed him while he could. If there is ever a list of greatest Irish baseball draft moments that will be right up there.

Gordon Ireland (left) under the Green Monster; 2001 Irish team tour of New England

As well as being a crucial member of the late nineties/early 2000’s Hurricanes sides, Gordy was an integral part of all the early Irish National Baseball teams. On top of being a big slugger, he was also a real black hole of a first baseman; the ball went in and never, ever came back out. You could say Gordy was born to play first base.

Gordy’s finest league season was undoubtedly 2002, and a case could be made that his statistics were the finest in Irish baseball history that balmy summer. His finest swing of the bat, and the number ten greatest moment in Hurricanes history, came in that 2004 league game against the Blacksox. This was Gordy’s last game for the Hurricanes as he was to retire that 2004 season.

The O’Malley field at Corcaigh Park is most definitely a pitcher’s park. The extreme dimensions, the weather and the slight uphill slant all add up to very, very few home runs being hit at the home of Irish league baseball. The center field ‘wall’ is over 400 feet back! Even the left and right field corners are a good poke.

For his final at bat as a Hurricane, Gordy slammed the ball to deep left field, mimicking Ted Williams who hit a home run in his final at bat for the Red Sox. It is no exaggeration that the two deeds are similar when placed in the context of the two leagues. Except of course, Gordy’s home run ball probably went a little further.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history
10.
Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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