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Showing posts from April, 2023

Irish Connections to Fenway Park's first opening day, April 20, 1912

The very first Opening Day at Fenway Park, April 20, 1912, had the appearance of an old-fashioned Irish field day.  Bucky O'Brien was on the pitcher's mound. Umpire Tommy Connolly was behind home plate, and ace sports reporter Timothy Murnane was scribbling for T he Boston Globe. Mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy, threw out the first pitch, officially kicking off the first major league game to take place at Fenway Park. It was the Boston Red Sox versus the New York Highlanders, later renamed the Yankees. In the stands, the fanatical Royal Rooters, an Irish-American fan club led by pub owner Michael "Nuf Ced" McGreevey, cheered for the hometown team and mightily jeered the New Yorkers. Some things never change. There has been more than a tinge of Irish in the Fenway Park story, especially in the early years of the park's 100 year history. Irish-American ball players and coaches dominated the rosters in the fi

Running Legend Johnny Kelley Finished the Boston Marathon 58 Times

As we await the 127th running of the   Boston Marathon   on Monday, April 17, 2023, we pay tribute to the race's legendary runner, John Adelbert Kelley, who holds the record for running more Boston Marathons than any other athlete.   Kelley ran his first marathons in 1928 and 1932 but did not finish either race.  He ran again in 1933 and then competed in every single race through 1992!  He finished in the top 10 eighteen times, taking first place in 1935 and again in 1945.  He owns the record for the most races started (61) and the most finished (58).  His best time was two hours and thirty minutes, posted in 1943.  He was 84 when he ran his last race in 1992, posting a time of Five hours and fifty-eight minutes. Born in 1907 in West Medford, outside of Boston, Kelley traces his ancestry to County Wexford.  "My father's people left to go to Australia," he told  The Boston Globe  in 1981, when he was preparing for his 50 th  race.  "The boat stopped in Boston and

Boston's Tom Burke Won the 100 and 440 yard races in the first Modern Olympic Games, held in Athens, Greece in April 1896

Thomas Edmund Burke (1875- 1929) became the first athlete in the Modern Olympic Games to win two races, the 100 yard dash and the 440 yard run. Burke, just 20 years old at the time, was one of  six Boston athletes  who made the trip to Athens, Greece in April 1896 to participate in the revival of the Olympics. He handily won both races. The  New York Times  reported, "At the pistol shot Burke of the BAA bounded ahead, followed closely by the German Hofmann, who was beaten by two meters by Burke at the finish, with the other runners bunched closely as far behind....Amid cheers, the American flag went up." Winner Tom Burke is crowned by Greece's Prince Constantine Burke was born in Boston's West End; his father was an undertaker at St. Joseph's Church, and later attended English High School in Boston. He competed for the Suffolk Athletic Club in South Boston and the  Boston Athletic Association (BAA) . When he won the Olympic medals Burke was a second year law stude