JP “Pat” Malone

     Lots of bars sponsor softball teams, but not many have supported as many as J.P. “Pat” Malone of McGaffer’s Saloon in Forest Park. Over 35 years, Malone has spread it around generously to teams competitive and not so competitive. In that time, Pat has become as much a part of the Forest Park softball scene as Clinchers and beer. He sponsors from 10 to 18 teams annually. Certainly Malone expects, like any owner, to be paid back through players patronizing his establishment. And McGaffer’s is , indeed, a popular hangout for many area softball players. But his dedication to softball is much more than a business strategy. “He actually goes and sees as many games as possible,” notes Terry Collins, the pitcher for the McGaffer’s Rockets team. Adds regular Rich “Chubbs” Polfus, “He’s just an all around great sponsor. He’s helped keep softball alive in the Forest Park area.” At last years Forest Park Invitational, Malone sponsored not one, but three teams: the Rockets, the Bats and the Bridgeport Crush. “Softball doesn’t work unless there are sponsors like J.P.,” says Polfus. The extent to which Malone supports and honors his teams is evident to anyone approaching the saloon from the east on Roosevelt Rd. There on the side of the building , painted on the brick, is a roll call of some of the teams who have called the place home. These include the Moonlighters, McKickers, Knock Outs, Rockets, Flames, Club Orange, Hilltopp, Heads Up, Lite Headed, Ice Nine, Cjiefs, Chili Sauce, Sport’n’Wood, Groggers, Spike the Dog, Bat’n’Brew, Bat Girls, McGaffer’s Co-ed and the Screwballs.  Inside, over 50 trophies line the upper shelves and cabinet tops high above the bar. Two dozen photographs of past and present McGaffer’s teams hang throughout the room. Asked why one dedicates his life to a saloon, Malone thinks for a moment, shrugs, and says “If I didn’t have this place, I’d have to stay home at night. It’s about the friendships you build up over the years. I’ve met so many good people over the years.” It takes one to know one, Pat.