Jewish Major Leaguers in Their Own Words: Oral Histories of 23 Players

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As of the 2010 season, 15 Jewish players were on Major League Baseball rosters, a distinction ascribed to only 165 men between 1870 and 2010. In this niche collection of rambling oral histories, 23 former (and many now-deceased) Jewish players discuss their childhoods, their careers, and the impact their religious heritage had on their time spent playing America's favorite pastime. Anti-Semitism once ran deep among ballplayers and fans, although Harry Danning of the New York Giants admitted African-Americans suffered worse treatment. Hank Greenberg, who spent most of his long career with the Detroit Tigers, "was a hero to Jewish and non-Jewish fans alike" for sitting out a game on Yom Kippur in 1934, but journeyman Saul Rogovin, who played during the 50s, confided he never felt accepted among his peers. Elliott Maddox explains his decision as an African-American to convert to Judaism during his playing days in the 70s, while Jose Bautista, who last played in 1997, is indifferent to religious affiliation, maintaining that "We're all the same." Ephross, former editor for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, pared down the lengthy interviews (conducted by numerous journalists) and converted them from Q&A format to first person narratives, making for an easy read. However, notable players like Sandy Koufax, National League MVP Ryan Braun, and three-time All-Star Kevin Youkilis are unfortunately missing. B/W photos. (Mar.)
The Kentucky Democrat
a very good book and I highly recommend it
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786465071
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/5/2012
  • Pages: 227
  • Sales rank: 779,876
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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