A gentleman when the game was hard-bitten, played by rough-and-ready lads out to win whatever the cost..."" Australia had few sporting heroes in the years preceding its federation in 1901. But before its twentieth-century Olympic trailblazers and Depression-era icons such as Phar Lap and Don Bradman, came an Australian sporting pioneer who was celebrated on the most glamorous stage in the world - American major league baseball. Joe Quinn's story has, until now, been lost in the land of his birth. This tale gallops from the deprivation of famine-ravaged Ireland through colonial Australia to the raucous ballfields of nineteenth-century America, with their unruly players and owners, affray and adulation and backroom betrayals. Through 17 seasons in the major leagues, ""Undertaker"" Joe Quinn earned his place amongst the colourful characters who pioneered the modern game of baseball, as much for his ability to stand apart from their bad behaviour as for his steadfastness on the field. Meet Australia's first professional baseball player and manager, a man born to Irish refugees in an outback squatter's camp and whose willingness to ""have a go"" in the grand Australian tradition will live long in the minds of sports fans on both sides of the Pacific.
Rochelle Llewelyn Nicholls is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine. She also writes about the science of baseball and has worked as a sports scientist with talented junior players at both the Western Australian Institute of Sport and the American Sports Medicine Institute. She lives in Australia.