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Old-Time Baseball Player

BORN FOR THE DIAMOND — Not many people can claim to have their likeness on a baseball card, but Dominick “Dom” Mullaney could. This card, issued between 1909 to 1911, depicts Mullaney as a Jacksonville player. The local minor league team went by the nickname the “Jays” in 1909 & 1910 and by the “Tarpons” in 1911. The Mullaney card was published by Piedmont, “the cigarette of quality.”

Jacksonville’s club was a charter member of the South Atlantic League, better known as Sally League. This league ranks as one of the oldest of the minors, and it can boast of having produced more Hall of Famers than any other minor league.

Dom Mullaney certainly had baseball in his blood. He served as the first manager of the Savannah Pathfinders, another charter member of the league in 1904. Living in Jacksonville by 1908, according to the city directory, Mullaney managed the “Jacksonville Baseball Club.” It seems that baseball was very, very good to Mullaney, to paraphrase an old “Saturday Night Live” line.

CHEERS — You could say that Dom Mullaney was sort of like an old-fashioned “Sam Malone,” the baseball player/bar manager on “Cheers.” Mullaney did help supervise Nic’s Place, “the headquarters for baseball news.” A testosterone-laden hangout mainly for men, Nic’s featured pool, billiards, and bowling alleys. To keep spirits high, the establishment provided a long, saloon-like bar, which lay under a high ceiling of pressed tin. Over the counter slid mugs of Busch, Budweiser, Pilsner, and Wuerzburger beer, as well as glasses of whisky, brandy, fine wine, and mixed drinks. Special meals were made to order at all hours. Cigars proved another treat at Nic’s, and it’s easy to imagine that the business was sometimes shrouded in smoke. Nic’s Place stood downtown close to the docks & wharves that used to run along the waterfront. Its address was 130 West Bay Street, a site now occupied by a parking lot just north of the Omni Hotel.

Dom Mullaney and his wife, Laura, lived near Nic’s. They roomed at 222 Hogan Street, in the vicinity of Hemming Park.

-written by Glenn Emery


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