Loyal Sons, Part I & II

Jan 01, 2012

When I sent my email entitled “Loyal Sons”, I wrote it off the top of my head. Today I went back to my notes and found that I left out three important of “sons of” who attended Notre Dame, so I am adding those folks to what I sent previously.

A third Hall of Famer sent his son to Notre Dame. Cornelius McGillicuddy (better known as Connie Mack) sent his son Earle to Notre Dame. Earle was on campus for only a semester, before leaving for a professional baseball career.

Bill Bradley was one of the top third basemen of the first decade of the 20th Century. He sent his son Norman to ND.

Rinaldo Angelo Paolinelli had a .276 batting average in 774 Big League games, before becoming one of the top National League Umpires for 22 years. His retired not long after calling the third strike to end Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. By then, his name was Babe Pinelli. His son Ralph came to ND.

All of these men had great baseball skills and obvious great judgment in advising their children on their education.

Go Irish!

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Hoping to stir your blog readers to rush out and buy Notre Dame Baseball Greats, here’s more ND baseball stuff….

Arguably, the first two famous people who sent their sons to Notre Dame were General William T. Sherman and Allen Pinkerton. Each of these men played significant roles during the Civil War while their children were at Notre Dame. But………..being a baseball kind of guy, I am more interested in other “sons of” who came to Notre Dame.

Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh was the star of the 1906 White Sox, the “Hitless Wonders” who won the World Series against the more powerful, cross-town rival Cubs. His battery mate was Billy Sullivan. Each sent their sons to Notre Dame and two of their sons followed their dads to the Major Leagues. And, for one game, the sons also served as a battery, the only time in baseball history that sons of a Major League battery also became a Major League battery.

According to noted baseball historian Bill James, the last Major Leaguer to play in the field bare-handed was third baseman Jerry Denny. His son Harry Denny (Class of 1921) led the Harry Denny Notre Dame Orchestra.

My all-time favorite baseball player is Stan “The Man” Musial, one of the top handful of players ever to play in the Major Leagues and one of the most popular players in the history of the game. One of Stan’s other nicknames was “The Donora Greyhound”. He must have passed along his speed to his son Dick, who went to Notre Dame and was a sprinter on the Irish track team.

One of Stan’s Cardinal teammates was the loquacious catcher Joe Garagiola. Joe’s son is an ND man. Bob Scheffing was also a National League backstop during the 40’s. His son Bob, is also an ND grad (and once lived in the same off-campus house that I later lived in).

Johnny McHale played football and baseball for the Irish and later played for the Tigers. He was in baseball for five decades, serving as General Manager and Assistant Commissioner of Baseball. He was one of the most respected men in the game. He was a member of the Arts and Letters Advisory Council at Notre Dame. In 1970, Notre Dame added a young alumnus to the Arts and Letters Advisory Council. The young alumnus was in awe when he found himself seated between John McHale and Don McNeill (like Pat O’Brien, a Marquette man), the host of the long-running “Breakfast Club” radio show. This young alumnus told McHale that he still had a letter from him he received when he wrote the Detroit Tigers recommending trades. This young alumnus told McNeill that he and his mother listened to “The Breakfast Club” and marched around the breakfast table every morning while listening to his show. Modesty prevents me from naming this young alumnus. In any case, John McHale’s son graduated from ND. And, by the way, McNeill’s son, Fr. Don McNeill, C.S.C. became a pillar of the Notre Dame community.

Nick Etten won the American League home run championship in 1944 while playing for that team in New York. His son, Nick, was the starting left tackle on Notre Dame’s 1962 football team.

A big thrill for me a couple years ago was when I met future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, while we were recruiting his son Conor. I’m pleased that Conor enrolled at ND. If he’s half the player his dad was, he’s going to be a good one for the Irish.

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