The Haverhill City Council is set tomorrow night to name the major league baseball diamond at Swasey Field in memory of Haverhill native Mike Ryan, the Red Sox’ “Impossible Dream” season catcher.
Councilors are expected to name the diamond the “Mike Ryan Memorial Baseball Field.” Members will also order the Ryan family be authorized to place a granite bench overlooking the newly designated space.
Ryan, who died at age 78 a little more than a year ago, 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.
Paul Ryan, cousin of the baseball legend, told WHAV listeners last year his cousin had a “modest start” in baseball. He explained 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.”