New York Mets Twitter. History-maker: PJ Conlon.
pitching to victory
'It's something you dream about' - Ireland's first Major League Baseball player in 73 years
A thumb injury didn’t overshadow the occasion as the New York Mets won in Cincinnati.

Updated at 17.11

IT WAS A night to remember for Belfast-born PJ Conlon in Cincinnati as he became the first Irish player to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in 73 years.

His New York Mets side overpowered the Cincinnati Reds 7-6, with Conlon lasting 3 2/3 innings in his debut and retiring seven of the first eight batters he faced.

The 24-year-old left-handed pitcher had a single off Homer Bailey but it costed him, as he hurt his thumb and was forced to an early exit from play.

But the man of the moment was nevertheless delighted with his evening’s work.

“I’ve gotten unbelievable support, and all these people reaching out to me yesterday and today,” Conlon told post-match, after wearing an Irish flag stitched onto his glove.

“It means a lot. You could see them in the stands, waving the Irish flags. They’re proud of it, and I’m proud of it.

“It’s just something you dream about. It was cool. It was just so fun. It was a heck of an experience. It came out of nowhere.”

With several family members in the crowd to cheer Conlon on, his father Patrick was proud as punch in the stands:

“I don’t even think about it until someone brings it up and then I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy,’” he said.

“It’s something special. He’s going down in the record books, in the Wikipedia book, which is amazing. A little kid from Belfast done good.”

Mets manager Mickey Callaway concluded: “I thought he threw the ball great.

“He wasn’t afraid to pitch in off the plate to set up his offspeed stuff.”

Conlon and his family emigrated to America when he was just two-years-old. He attended the University of San Diego and was picked for the Mets in 2015.

He’s now the first Irishman to appear in the big leagues since Cork native Joe Cleary made a brief appearance for the Washington Senators in 1945.

Originally published at 14.05

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