Podcast: Paul Ryan Shares Memories of Mike Ryan, Red Sox ‘Impossible Dream’ Season Catcher

Mike Ryan trading card. (Public domain.)

WHAV Sports Director Paul Ryan.

WHAV Sports Director Paul Ryan recently shared family memories of his cousin, Mike Ryan—the Red Sox “Impossible Dream” season catcher who passed away July 7 at age 78.

He said his cousin had a “modest start” in baseball. He explains there was no baseball program at St. James High School, but he was asked by Irving “Sheik” Karelis to play for Karelis Jewelers at Cashman Field in Haverhill. When he was 18—as a member of the Northeast League, a semi-pro league—Mike was invited to play in the all-star game at Yankee Stadium. He was one of only three from New England.

“Mike had a great day out there,” Ryan said. He explained he was chosen as the most valuable player that day.

Mike Ryan signed a contract with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in October 1960 and began his professional career in 1961 with the Olean Red Sox of the New York-Penn League. He went on to spend 35 years in professional baseball, including his first seven in the Red Sox organization as a player. A former catcher, he played in 79 regular season games for the Red Sox during their 1967 Impossible Dream season, also appearing in Game 4 of the 1967 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Mike Ryan was definitely my idol. He was my idol,” he said.

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