Dan Sheehan

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Daniel J. Sheahan
also known as John M. Ryan

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown

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Biographical Information[edit]

Dan Sheehan was an outfielder for the Washington Nationals (7 games) and Wilmington Quicksteps (2 games) of the Union Association during its only season, 1884. For well over a century, his playing record for the two teams were attributed to discrete players, and were listed under the assumed name of John Ryan, although it had been established what his correct name was.

There is some uncertainty about the correct spelling of his last name, as in different sources, such as census records and city directories, it is spelled Shehan, Sheahan, Sheehan and Shahan, Sheahan being the most common spelling.

In July of 1878, 19-year-old Daniel Shehan was mentioned in Washington, DC newspapers as "well known in the baseball fraternity as the second baseman of the Astoria club"; unfortunately for him, he was mentioned because he had just been arrested and charged with following a young woman and making an indecent proposal. He apparently pled guilty to a lesser offence, but those reports allowed researchers to determine his address and then trace him over the years. In the 1860 census, he is listed as a one-year-old child. He was living with his widowed mother Ellen starting in 1871. An older sister named Catherine or Kate is also listed as living with them, as well as two younger siblings in the 1870 census. Starting in 1885, his profession is listed as police officer. Around 1889, the entire family moved to Kansas City, but not Daniel.

In 1886, it was reported that Daniel was shot in the hip while on duty, and nine years later his mother applied for a pension as a result of the shooting but was denied. Ellen Sheehan died in Kansas City at the age of 84 in 1909, as reported by the Kansas City Star, which mentioned she had previously lived in Washington, DC, and stated her son John (Daniel's younger brother) was a police detective in the city. The obituary makes no mention of the older son. The reason was that he had been interned at an insane asylum in Limerick, in his mother's birth country, Ireland. There is no indication how or why he got there, but he died in the asylum in 1897 and his death certificate confirms he had been born in Washington in 1859.

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Daniel Sheehan", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, September/October 2016, pp. 3-4.

Related Sites[edit]