Hebrew Hammer

A Biography of Al Rosen, All-Star Third Baseman


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About the Book

This first biography of four-time all-star Al Rosen covers the career of perhaps the best player on the fabulous Cleveland teams of the 1950s. From 1951 to 1956, Cleveland won one American League pennant (1954) and finished second to New York the other five seasons. Rosen was selected as the League’s Most Valuable Player in 1953, the last Cleveland player to be so honored. He led the League in home runs (43) and RBI (145). Washington’s Mickey Vernon edged Rosen by a single percentage point (.337 to .336) for the league batting championship. His play between the white lines was not the only place where Rosen left his mark on the game. He spent 14 seasons as a president or general manager for the New York Yankees (1978–1979), Houston Astros (1981–1985) and the San Francisco Giants (1986–1992). Under his guidance, those teams won two pennants and one world championship. Rosen is the only person in Major League Baseball history to win an MVP award as a player and to be recognized as Executive of the Year by The Sporting News (1987).

About the Author(s)

Joseph Wancho is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and has contributed articles to more than 35 books on the history of baseball. He lives in Brooklyn, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph Wancho
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8131-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4393-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
One. From Spartanburg to Miami 5
Two. World War II and Three Cups of Joe 11
Three. The Hebrew Hammer 23
Four. It’s Unanimous! 47
Five. 111–43 and a Fractured Finger 61
Six. Decline and Retirement 80
Seven. George, Billy, Lem and a World Championship 105
Eight. The Houston Mediocres 135
Nine. A Pennant by the Bay 158
Epilogue 189
Appendix 193
Chapter Notes 197
Bibliography 213
Index 215

Book Reviews & Awards

• “A more comprehensive examination of the Cleveland slugger’s career is unimaginable. Wancho, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, has put in a lot of work to chronicle Rosen’s life from his childhood in South Carolina and Miami, where he suffered taunts from schoolmates because he was Jewish.”—Akron Beacon Journal

• “Rosen’s life represents a vacant slot on the baseball bookshelf, and this work fills that void nicely.”—William H. Johnson, author of Hal Trosky: A Baseball Life and Marion Motley: A Life in and Beyond Football

• “A satisfying examination of Al Rosen’s career on and off the field, which often doesn’t get much attention outside of his MVP season.”—Jonathan Knight, author of Summer of Shadows: A Murder, a Pennant Race, and the Twilight of the Best Location in the Nation

• “Detailed”—NY Sports Day