Inside Pitch Magazine, September/October 2023

Last Inning: The Fightin' Irish...Wolfhounds

by Adam Revelette

A Wolfhound pitcher on the moundThe Irish Wolfhounds, the world’s first All-Irish baseball club, made its debut this past summer at aptly named Clover Stadium in Pomona, New York. The game preceded a Frontier League contest between the New York Boulders and the Lake Erie Crushers, as the ‘Hounds took on the NY Finest Baseball Club, a team of NYPD officers who played in college and/or the pros. 

Each Wolfhounds player either has or qualifies for Irish citizenship, making them eligible to represent Ireland in the Olympics and World Baseball Classic. “There are many talented baseball players who are Irish citizens and could help Team Ireland qualify for the Olympics and World Baseball Classic,” explained Wolfhounds GM John Fitzgerald. “We hope to see Ireland compete at baseball’s highest levels. Until that time, Irish Baseball fans can rally around the Wolfhounds Baseball Club.” 

“I’d love to see Ireland in the World Baseball Classic,” said Steve Garvey, a former NL MVP, World Series Champion and 10-time MLB All-Star. “I believe millions of baseball fans in Ireland and America would love to see it too. That’s why the Irish Wolfhounds project is so important,” added Garvey, who is also the first-ever Irish Baseball Ambassador, appointed by the Irish American Baseball Society.  

Players who suited up for the Wolfhounds included former major league pitcher Ryan O’Rourke, former Mets minor league pitcher Keelan Smithers, and Mitch Hillert, who pitched professionally in Germany. The team is managed by Vin Malzahn and has also welcomed big-name guest coaches that include Loyola Marymount head coach Donegal Fergus, former major leaguers Steve Lyons and Rob Delaney, and two-time World Series champion Shane Spencer.  

"I'm really happy to be involved with the Wolfhounds,” said Spencer. “The idea of helping Ireland get to the World Baseball Classic is exciting and I am looking forward to helping these players achieve their goal.” 

“It's a fantastic opportunity for the players to learn,” Malzahn said. “Our coaches change from game to game because these guys have busy schedules, but we’ve had an incredible staff. At every game, players got to work with and learn from a diverse, well-qualified group of coaches to help them prepare for the road to the World Baseball Classic.” 

Eric Holtz, who was the head coach for Team Israel from 2017-2021, has also joined the team. During that time, Israel advanced from the lowest level of European Competition all the way to the World Baseball Classic Qualifying round and the Olympics. Holtz also coached the team at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “When I look at this roster, I see players who have played at the college and professional level. We have a former major leaguer. I know these players have what it takes to put Ireland on a path to the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic,” he said. 

The Wolfhounds is a project of the Irish American Baseball Society, a non-profit organization that supports youth baseball programs in Ireland and operates the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. The Irish American Baseball Society celebrates the Irish impact on the game of baseball and supports the development of youth baseball programs in Ireland and America. Membership is open to anyone who loves baseball and Ireland, regardless of their ancestral heritage. For more information, visit The Irish American Baseball Society is a non-profit subsidiary of Emerald Diamond International. For more information, visit  

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