A County Clare man is regarded as one of Major League Baseball’s most pioneering figures.
He is credited with creating the now commonly used sports term for a supporter, ‘Fan’, as well as the first person to emphasise the importance of scouting.
Timothy Paul “Ted” Sullivan was born in Clare on March 17, 1851. After attending Saint Louis University, he managed four teams during the 1880s, one of which was the 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association, who finished with an astonishing 94-19 record. He moved on in midseason to manage another UA team, the Kansas City Cowboys. During his time in Kansas City he also made his only three field appearances. He didn’t manage again until the 1888 Washington Nationals hired him to finish out the season. He led the team to a mark of 38-57, and ended his major league career with a record of 132-132. Sullivan later managed in the minors, including a stint with the Nashville Tigers of the Southern League in 1893.
Sullivan is considered a pioneer of early baseball; he founded both the Northwest League and the Texas League, both minor leagues that still exist and thrive today. Credited with discovering Charles Comiskey, he is considered by some to be the first person to emphasise the importance of scouting.
Sullivan was a great promoter of the game; he would tell stories of baseball’s beginnings, and of its many star players. He authored books detailing these, including a barnstorming trip around the world in 1913–1914 by Comiskey’s Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants. He is also credited as the originator of the word “fan”, as in baseball fan. Sullivan later became a team executive and owner.