Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own Words

Oral Histories of 23 Players


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SKU: 9780786465071 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

Between 1870 and 2010, 165 Jewish Americans played Major League Baseball. This work presents oral histories featuring 23 of them. From Bob Berman, a catcher for the Washington Senators in 1918, to Adam Greenberg, an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs in 2005, the players discuss their careers and consider how their Jewish heritage affected them. Legends like Hank Greenberg and Al Rosen as well as lesser-known players reflect on the issue of whether to play on high holidays, responses to anti–Semitism on and off the field, bonds formed with black teammates also facing prejudice, and personal and Jewish pride in their accomplishments. Together, these oral histories paint a vivid portrait of what it was like to be a Jewish Major Leaguer.

About the Author(s)

Peter Ephross was a longtime editor for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service and has published in Publishers Weekly, the Village Voice, and Forward. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Martin Abramowitz is the president of Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc., which documents American Jews in baseball and sponsored many of the interviews in this book.

Bibliographic Details

Peter Ephross with Martin Abramowitz

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 227
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, appendix, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6507-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8966-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Preface      1
Introduction      3

BOB BERMAN, Washington Senators, 1918      9
AL SCHACHT, Washington Senators, 1919–1921      14
ANDY COHEN, New York Giants, 1926, 1928–1929      24
HANK GREENBERG, Detroit Tigers, 1930, 1933–1941, 1945–1946; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1947      33
HARRY DANNING, New York Giants, 1933–1942      41
GOODY ROSEN, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1937–1939, 1944–1946; New York Giants, 1946      52
SAM NAHEM, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1938; St. Louis Cardinals, 1941; Philadelphia Phillies, 1942, 1948      62
CY BLOCK, Chicago Cubs, 1942, 1945–1946      68
AL ROSEN, Cleveland Indians, 1947–1956      73
MICKEY RUTNER, Philadelphia Athletics, 1947      85
MARV ROTBLATT, Chicago White Sox, 1948, 1950–1951      95
CAL ABRAMS, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1949–1952; Cincinnati Reds, 1952; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1953–1954; Baltimore Orioles, 1954–1955; Chicago White Sox, 1956      100
SAUL ROGOVIN, Detroit Tigers, 1949–1951; Chicago White Sox, 1951–1953; Baltimore Orioles, 1955; Philadelphia Phillies, 1955–1957      111
LOU LIMMER, Philadelphia Athletics, 1951, 1954      124
ED MAYER, Chicago Cubs, 1957–1958      133
LARRY SHERRY, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1958–1963; Detroit Tigers, 1964–1967; Houston Astros, 1967; California Angels, 1968 and NORM SHERRY, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1959–1962; New York Mets, 1963      141
MIKE EPSTEIN, Baltimore Orioles, 1966–1967; Washington Senators, 1967–1971; Oakland Athletics, 1971–1972; Texas Rangers, 1973; California Angels, 1973–1974      150
RON BLOMBERG, New York Yankees, 1969, 1971–1976; Chicago White Sox, 1978      154
ELLIOTT MADDOX, Detroit Tigers, 1970; Washington Senators/Texas Rangers, 1971–1973; New York Yankees, 1974–1976; Baltimore Orioles, 1977; New York Mets, 1978–1980      167
JOSE BAUTISTA, Baltimore Orioles, 1988–1991; Chicago Cubs, 1993–1994; San Francisco Giants, 1995–1996; Detroit Tigers, 1997; St. Louis Cardinals, 1997      179
JESSE LEVIS, Cleveland Indians, 1992–1995, 1999; Milwaukee Brewers, 1996–1998, 2001      186
ADAM GREENBERG, Chicago Cubs, 2005      195

Appendix: Jewish Major Leaguers      207
Index      213

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The greatest contribution of this ambitious book is the opportunity to read players’ perspectives on Jewish identification and to understand the choices they made. This book will satisfy readers interested in learning more about the lives of a diverse group of Jewish major leaguers…all of the players’ stories will be informative and interesting, engaging and enjoyable”—Nine
  • “the stories of the trials and tribulations of Jewish ballplayers are brilliantly recounted…a solid job…the wonderfully told stories of the players included give the reader an intimate feeling of what life was, and is like, as a Jewish Major Leaguer”—Washington Jewish Weekly
  • “manages to break new ground…a worthy addition to Jewish baseball fans’ bookshelves…fascinating personal vignettes”—Jewish Book Council
  • “engaging and stimulating…a source of pride for Jewish baseball fans”—The Buffalo Jewish Review
  • “a superb job…we get more of a ‘what’s it like’ for Jewish ballplayers…a very good book…highly recommended…in fact, I give it the following grade: A+”—The Kentucky Democrat
  • “Jewish Sports fans in general and baseball fans in particular will enjoy and appreciate this book”—Jewish Journal, Dade County