Honoring New York Mets pitcher P.J. Conlon on St. Patrick’s Day is the least we could do to pay tribute to MLB’s lone Ireland-born player.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Every year on March 17th people from all over the globe have an opportunity to celebrate Irish culture. From wearing the color green to dying the Chicago River, Americans have come to embrace the annual tradition. Fans of the New York Mets have another unique reason to celebrate the Irish holiday: pitcher P.J. Conlon.
The Mets are the only team in Major League Baseball with an Irish born player in their organization. In fact, Conlon is the first MLB player from Ireland since Joe Cleary in 1945.
Conlon was born in the Irish port city of Belfast to his parents Patrick and Susan. Though he moved to California before his second birthday, the Conlon family embraced their heritage in Ireland. His father was also a native to Ireland, and his mother had Scottish heritage.
Conlon attended the University of San Diego, where he quickly became a notable MLB prospect. During his three-year collegiate career (2013-2015), he appeared in 54 games, while recording 22 wins, 213 strikeouts, and a 2.83 ERA.
After being drafted in the 13th round (389th overall) by the Mets in the 2015 draft, Conlon began his professional baseball career in the minor leagues. After a solid performance with the Brooklyn Cyclones, he was moved up to the St. Lucie Mets in 2016. He would finish the year by being named the Mets Organizational Player of the Year award. He was also selected by fans as the Top Starting Pitcher in the MiLBY.
Conlon made his major league debut on May 7th, 2018 in a regular season game against the Cincinnati Reds. He proudly displayed his Irish roots by wearing a special glove with the colors of the Irish flag embordered on it.
In ten Spring Training appearances in 2019, Conlon has pitched 20.1 innings with nine strikeouts and a 2.66 ERA.
At the close of the 2018 season, Conlon has only two innings of major league experience to his name. He has posted a 3.52 ERA in 92 appearances in the minor leagues since 2015.
Baseball reference projects the Irish star will get considerable opportunity to prove himself at the major league level in 2019 (he is projected to pitch 52 innings).
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One thing is for sure. If Conlon does get a chance to play in the major leagues, he will have fans across the Atlantic Ocean cheering him on.