Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
I was one of 2,400 people at the recent Yeshiva Beth Yehudah dinner held in downtown Detroit.
That’s not a misprint – 2,400 people turned out at the annual dinner for the day school I attended decades ago and my grandchildren attend today.
It’s the biggest yeshiva day-school dinner in the country and has been for several years. The biggest names in local politics (such as Michigan Sen. Carl Levin) show up and the biggest names in national politics are guest speakers.
This year the guest speaker was Vice President Joe Biden. After a very pro-Israel speech from Biden, it was strolling dessert time and I ran into some familiar old faces from my early yeshiva days. After talking politics, the subject turned to baseball, specifically the first full year we started following the game.
All of us could think back 60 years to 1951. What a baseball year it was.
It was the last season for Joe DiMaggio and the first for Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. It was the year the St. Louis Browns’ flamboyant owner Bill Veeck sent up a 3-foot-7 inch pinch-hitter (who walked on four pitches that would have been strikes to any other major league batter).
It was the year Ralph Kiner won his sixth consecutive National League home run crown. It was the year Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Preacher Roe won 22 games and lost only three. And, of course, it was the year the Dodgers blew the pennant.
The arch-rival New York Giants lost just nine of their final 47 games to tie the Dodgers for first place at season’s end, setting up a three-game playoff. In the bottom of the 9th of the final playoff game at the Polo Grounds, Brooklyn was ahead 4-2. With two Giants runners on base, Ralph Branca was brought in to pitch to Bobby Thomson. Thomson homered to left in the late afternoon gloom to send Brooklyn into mourning. Thomson’s memorable homer became known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”
But 60 years ago Jewish baseball history was made in Detroit. And our young class was there. In those days the Tigers gave away tickets for some May and June midweek games against bad teams like the Philadelphia Athletics.
It was May 2, 1951. The Tigers had their Jewish battery working at the time – Saul Rogovin pitching and Joe Ginsberg catching. Rogovin was pitching a no-hitter when he yielded a hit with one in the seventh inning. In the ninth, with Detroit leading 3-1, Lou Limmer came to bat in a pinch-hitting role. Rogovin, Ginsberg and Limmer had two things in common – they were born in New York and were Jewish.
When Limmer reached the batter’s box, umpire Bill Summers stated, “I got me three Hebes, let’s see who wins.” Rogovin eyed the runner on first base and aimed his pitch for the target Ginsberg presented with his glove. However, Limmer lined the pitch into the lower right field seats to tie the score and send the game to extra innings and Rogovin to the showers.
The Tigers went on to win the game and less than two weeks later Rogovin, who would go on to become a teacher in the New York public school system after his baseball career, would be traded to the Chicago White Sox.
As May was nearing its end, Cal Abrams of the Brooklyn Dodgers had a 14-for23 streak to lead the National League with a .470 batting average. Abrams’s hitting inspired a headline in the New York Post that went, “Mantle, Shmantle, We Got Abie.”
Abrams cooled off as the weather warmed up and was used less frequently. When the season ended for Brooklyn, Abrams totaled 155 at-bats and posted a .280 batting average. Lou Limmer batted 214 times with five homers, but his low .159 batting average would earn him a ticket back to the minor leagues for the next two years.
Saul Rogovin became one of the best pitchers in the A.L. leading the league with a 2.78 ERA while winning 11 and losing seven. Joe Ginsberg was a backup catcher but eleven years later would make history as the Mets’ starting catcher in their first-ever home game.
The big Jewish stars of ’51 were Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians and Sid Gordon of the Boston Braves. Rosen batted .265 with 24 home runs and 102 RBI while Gordon outslugged him (.287, 29, 109). Both were third baseman while Gordon was also used in the outfield.
The 1951 season also saw the last Jewish player in the history of the St. Louis Browns (who became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954).
Harry Duquesne Makowsky was born in Paris, France, and was seven years old when the family moved to New York and changed their last name to Markell. Living four blocks from Yankee Stadium, Harry mastered baseball and English and idolized Hank Greenberg.
After serving in the military in World War II, Markell began his pro baseball career with the nickname “Duke” and reached the majors in 1951. Markell appeared in just five games, winning one and losing one with a very high ERA of 6.33.
Duke Markell would be released the following spring and continue his career in the minors before becoming a New York City police officer.
The 1951 World Series took place within walking distance of where Markell grew up. Only the Harlem River separated Yankee Stadium from the Polo Grounds.
Looking for a good Chanukah present for a baseball fan Irwin Cohen’s book is titled “Tiger Stadium/Comerica Park,” but it’s the story of an Orthodox Jew in the baseball field and how the whole thing was bashert. To order, send a check for $19.95, payable to Irwin Cohen, to 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Michigan, 48237. Cohen, the president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, can be reached in his dugout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.
This year’s parade, the 87th annual extravaganza of marching bands, floats, and giant balloons, featured something really unique and different: a balloon/float of a large blue dreidel.
He strengthened his resolve
Knew his life he would lose,
But when the king uttered the words
With great pride he refused.
Just like you
I too have a soul
A soul that is G-dly
Just like you.
Now my friend
I ask you,
Am I different from you?
It’s not Chanukah without latkes! That’s true; but don’t make the same boring latkes this year. Go for something healthier, more vibrant, and flavorful.
Each year at our family Chanukah party, we try to introduce a new activity, to keep things fun and exciting for the children and adults alike. Last year’s addition – a huge hit – was a menorah-making contest.
Prof. Malka Schaps was born Mary Kramer, a Protestant, in Cleveland, Ohio. When she was sixteen, she started questioning the rationale of moral conduct: Why be good?
Brooklyn native Lipman Pike was one of baseball’s earliest paid players.
The World Series was born 110 years ago. So were the New York Yankees, as New York inherited the remnants of the old Baltimore Orioles, a charter member of the new American League that was formed in 1901. A year later the team was headed to last place and bankruptcy. Manager John McGraw jumped to the National League New York Giants to assume the same position and brought some Orioles players with him.
Rewind eight decades to 1933.
That year marked the rise of the greatest villain of our time and the biggest Jewish sports hero of all time.
The year 1973 was an interesting one indeed.
Forty years ago, the Conservative movement’s commission on law and standards adopted a new regulation admitting women into the traditional minyan.
“I had to grow a tough little hide as everybody was fair game to be razzed and needled.”
Rewind sixty years to 1953.
Television was considered kosher by most and featured the likes of Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, George Burns, Red Buttons, Perry Como, Arthur Godfrey, Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger, Dinah Shore, Red Skelton, Danny Thomas, Jack Webb as Joe Friday on “Dragnet” and many others who provided great memories.
Readers of my monthly Baseball Insider column may have noticed its absence last week (the column appears in the second issue of every month). The reason for that is I have something more serious and personal to share with you, something that didn’t seem appropriate for a baseball column.
Let me tell you about my new book.
Like you, I’m interested in Jewish baseball players and Jewish history. So, after years of research, first-hand observations and interviews, I combined the aforementioned information from the post-civil war era to the present and came up with a book titled Jewish History in the Time of Baseball’s Jews: Life on Both Sides of the Ocean.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/1951-a-great-year-in-baseball/2011/12/07/
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