Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, July 1, before the Yankees’ 4-2 win in the Bronx against the Seattle Mariners.
“I am delighted that the Yankees have chosen to honor Fordham’s contribution to the great American pastime,” Father McShane said before the game. “I hope to do Fordham proud in my fifteen seconds on the mound.”
Father McShane’s honor, in which he tossed a strong throw to Yankee catcher Jorge Posada from halfway between home plate and the pitcher’s mound, commemorated the 150th anniversary of baseball at Fordham. That rich history includes Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch, the Fordham Flash; Esteban Bellán, the first Latin American to play professional baseball in the United States; Coach Jack Coffey, the inspiration for Coffey Field and the only major leaguer to play with Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth in the same season; Vin Scully, a second-string outfielder who went on to become the legendary voice of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and Michael Kay, Yankees play-by-play announcer on the YES Network.
It was also the second time Fordham’s president has thrown out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, following Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., president emeritus of Fordham, who did it on June 21, 1991.
Fordham’s winning tradition continued this past Catholic High School Athletic Association season, in which Fordham Preparatory School captured its first CHSAA championship since 1992. The Fordham Prep Baseball Team was honored on the field at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, as part of the Yankees’ “Field of Dreams” program.
As the Yankees took the field on the warm, humid summer evening, they were followed by members of the Prep team, who stood alongside Yankee players Derek Jeter, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher during the national anthem.
Father McShane, who traded his maroon Fordham hat for the navy blue of a Yankees cap, got a great reception from the hometown crowd, as the camera beamed his image onto the JumboTron in center field. When Posada greeted him after the pitch, Father McShane thanked him and offered a blessing to the catcher.