April 3, 2003
Helluva Ball Club
(Page 2 - Previous Page)
• Jimmie Reese (originally Hymie Solomon), Babe Ruth's former roommate with the New York Yankees, who was the Angels' fungo-hitting coach for 23 years until his death in 1994 at age 92. So beloved was Reese by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, that the all-time strikeout king decided to name his son for Reese. No, Ryan did not choose Hymie or Solomon. He is Reese Ryan.\n
• Award-winning sportscaster Irv Kaze, the Angels' public relations director during their entire stay in Los Angeles, had the dubious task of promoting a team with only one recognizable name: Jewish playboy (on his mom's side) Bo Belinsky. And it had more to do with Belinsky's choice of girlfriends -- Ann-Margaret, Mamie Van Doren and Jayne Mansfield -- than his ability on the pitcher's mound.
Kaze, who died last year, was a proud and observant Jew. He once shared with me that he asked the gabbai (official) at a Chicago shul to say a misheberach (a special prayer asking for a speedy recovery of those who are sick) to end an Angels' losing streak (and there were many more opportunities).\n
• Angels' skippers Harold "Lefty" Phillips and Norm Sherry were the only two Jewish managers hired by a major league team on a noninterim basis since Boston Braves' owner Judge Fuchs decided to hire himself to manage his team in 1929.\n
• Richie Scheinblum and Mike Epstein were all-stars (with other teams, naturally) before they joined the Angels in the 1970s, near the end of their careers. They wore black armbands in memory of the Munich 11 out of Jewish solidarity.\n
• Fairfax High School star pitchers Larry Sherry and Barry Latman were picked up by the Angels late in their careers in a futile attempt to lure Jewish fans.
Similar to the Boston Red Sox who have been cursed to not have won a World Series since the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920, the Angels had been haunted since Greenberg and friends were denied their rightful ownership in 1960.
Then came Eisner. Just in case this is a one-year fluke for my Angels, the mighty Yankees better keep looking behind their backs. The Yanks' historic archrivals, the Red Sox, recently hired 29-year-old Theo Epstein (Jewish, bright, single, handsome and rich) as the team's general manager. Â
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