"I think Hank Greenberg was the great American hero," Washington filmmaker Aviva Kempner says. "What he did on Yom Kippur. What he faced. He was our Jackie Robinson."
Jackie was the first. Jackie could not just play the game for himself. He was playing the game for every one of his race who had been denied a chance, whose future was closed because of racism and segregation. Indeed, as I remember it, Jackie played the game for every minority kid whose opportunities were constrained because of discrimination.
During Yom Kippur, many Jews fret over whether Jewish Major Leaguers will play on the holiest of holidays. This has become a growing problem, because the number of Jews playing Major League Baseball (MLB) has been increasing.
Former Major Leaguer Art Shamsky will serve as Israel's ambassador to the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Jupiter, Fla.
Whole barbecued pigs, cheerleaders and elegies to skinny-dipping farmers' daughters. That was the organized noise Sunday night at the opening bash of the Republican National Convention at Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.
Hyman (Hank) Greenberg, Major League Baseball player extraordinaire and subject of “Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn’t Want to Be One” by Mark Kurlansky (Yale University Press, $25.00), probably would have disliked being included in the “Jewish Lives” series published by Yale University Press.
From his office in Pico-Robertson, Ephraim Moxson counts Jewish professional athletes. There are five playing in the National Hockey League, a couple in the National Basketball Assn., four in the National Football League. But in Major League Baseball, there will be, by the end of 1999, 11 Jewish ballplayers. "That's more than any decade, even the 1960s," says Moxson, co-publisher of the Jewish Sports Review.
Which raises two questions: Why so many Jews in the majors? And why should we care?