The 2019 Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame class was announced Friday as the athletic department welcomed in four former student-athletes, one athletic trainer, and one team. The group will be inducted on the evening of Friday, Oct. 4, during Swarthmore’s annual Garnet Weekend celebration.
The eighth class in Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame history is composed of George “Moose” Earnshaw, Class of 1923; Ruff Herndon; Caitlin Mullarkey ’09; Cathy Polinsky ’99; Michelle Walsh ’98; and the 1974 men’s soccer team.
Established in 2012, the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame honors the student-athletes and administrators who have contributed to the College’s success. The 2019 class was chosen from more than 200 nominations by a selection committee of administrators, coaches, and alumni for their significant and distinctive impact on Swarthmore College athletics and the College itself.
2019 Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame Class
George “Moose” Earnshaw, Class of 1923, was a three-sport letter-winner at Swarthmore in football, basketball, and baseball, and is arguably one of the most successful professional athletes to ever wear the S. After an excellent career on the diamond with the Garnet as a power hitter and pitcher, the 6-foot-4 Earnshaw made a name for himself in Major League Baseball with the Philadelphia Athletics, the Chicago White Sox, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out 1,002 batters in his career, won 127 games, and won the World Series with the A’s in 1929 and 1930 and the American League Pennant in 1931. Overall, Earnshaw won four games as a starter in the World Series and is a member of the A’s Wall of Fame.
Ruff Herndon began working as an athletic trainer at Swarthmore well before Earnshaw was a student and continued with the Garnet for a remarkable 62 years. Herndon, an African-American raised in Richmond, Va., just after the Reconstruction Era and during Jim Crow segregation, became Swarthmore’s athletic trainer in 1904, nearly 40 years before the first Black students were admitted to Swarthmore. Four Swarthmore presidents and 11 athletic directors came and went during Herndon’s time at the College. A collection of letters to Herndon from his retirement celebration in 1964 painted a portrait of a man admired by many and known for his “decency, dignity, and intelligence.”
A star in soccer and track & field, Caitlin Mullarkey ’09 was selected as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, earning a spot in Swarthmore history in her first year of eligibility. Mullarkey is just one of 31 students in school history to earn the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. The honors biology graduate was a semifinalist for the NCAA’s Woman of the Year Award and earned Academic All-America honors in the indoor mile. She graduated with four school track records and still holds the top mark for the indoor 5,000-meter run and the steeplechase. On the soccer field, she was the first defender in Centennial Conference history to be on the All-Centennial First Team all four seasons and was an all-region defender three times. Mullarkey, who attained a Ph.D. in clinical medicine and vaccinology, is a professor at McMaster University in Toronto.
Cathy Polinsky ’99 earned All-America honors five times as a swimmer at Swarthmore, including three honors her freshman season. Polinsky’s first trip to nationals saw her garner All-America recognition as a member of the seventh-place 200-yard medley relay team, the 200-yard freestyle relay team, and the 400-yard medley relay team. In 1997, she earned All-America recognition in two relays, the 400- and 800-yard freestyle. She qualified for nationals again her senior year, competing in three events as an individual: the 100- and 200-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley. At the time of her graduation, she held the school record for the 50- and 100-yard butterfly and factored into four relay records. She has been named one of the most powerful women engineers in the world and works as the chief technology officer at Stitch Fix.
Michelle Walsh ’98, a three-sport captain of the field hockey, women’s basketball, and softball teams at Swarthmore, holds College records in each sport. Walsh, who is already in the Hall as a member of the 1996 field hockey team, has the 10th-most career assists in field hockey, the seventh-most steals in women’s basketball, and numerous softball records. She remains the program’s all-time leader in total bases, batting average, slugging percentage, runs batted in, home runs, and triples. She is the last player in Centennial Conference history to bat .500 for a season and was an All-Conference player three times, including first team recognition in 1996. Walsh’s love for Division III athletics continues today, as she is the athletic director at Vassar College.
The 1974 men’s soccer team advanced all the way to the NCAA Division III National Championship game, and became the first program in Swarthmore history to compete for an NCAA title. Led by coach Bill Stetson, the Garnet went 10-3-2 during the season, with the only losses coming against Division I teams. The Garnet opened the 16-team NCAA Tournament with a win over Lynchburg and then shut out Lock Haven and MacMurray in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. The Garnet’s quest for the school’s first NCAA title was stopped in the championship by Brockport State. McWelling Todman ’77, who scored a tournament-high five goals for Swarthmore, was inducted into the Hall as an individual in the inaugural Class of 2012.