web analytics
February 2, 2015 / 13 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Designated Hebrew

Ron Blomberg poses for Irwin Cohen at Yankee Stadium in 1973.

Ron Blomberg poses for Irwin Cohen at Yankee Stadium in 1973.

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.

Only two days after Richard Nixon was inaugurated for his second term as president, former president Lyndon Johnson died in his bed at his Texas ranch at age 64.

The Jewish world also mourned the passing four days later of noted actor Edward G. Robinson. Born Emanuel Goldenberg in Romania, Robinson often aided Jewish and Israeli causes.

On the last day of April, the Watergate scandal forced the resignation of Nixon aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman. A few weeks later we started following the televised Watergate hearings. Popular evening viewing included “Columbo,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “All in the Family,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “MASH,” “The Odd Couple,” “Sanford & Son” and “The Waltons.”

Two weeks after Henry Kissinger was installed as secretary of state, the Yom Kippur War broke out as Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a surprise attack on Israel. Some 2,688 Israeli soldiers were killed in the nearly three weeks of military battles that followed.

On Armistice Day in America, a U.S.-brokered cease-fire was signed between Egypt and Israel. Nineteen days later, David Ben-Gurion died at 87 and in the waning days of December, Theo Epstein, who would grow up to be the general manager of the first Boston Red Sox team to win a World Series in 86 years, was born.

Jewish ballplayers were on the move that year. Traded by the Oakland A’s to the Texas Rangers the previous winter, Mike Epstein started the ’73 season as the Rangers’ first baseman. Yale graduate Steve Greenberg, a first baseman as his father Hank was, went to spring training with Texas but was sent back to the minor leagues without ever playing in a regular season game.

Epstein played in only 27 games before being traded to the California Angels. Epstein finished the season with a combined .209 average and nine home runs in 307 at-bats. Richie Scheinblum started the season with the Cincinnati Reds before being swapped to the Angels, giving them two Jews in the lineup at times. Scheinblum’s totals for 1973 were four homers and a .307 average in 283 at-bats.

Injuries limited Norm Miller to only 11 at-bats and he managed a .273 average with Houston and Atlanta. Ken Holtzman became the first Jewish 20-game winner (21) since Sandy Koufax (27) in 1966. Holtzman led the Oakland pitching staff in victories and ERA (2.97) and was the only pitcher to win two games in the World Series over the New York Mets. Future Cy Young award winner Steve Stone, who was traded by San Francisco to the Chicago White Sox, had his third consecutive losing season (6-11, 4.24 ERA).

But 1973 was the year Ron Blomberg became the answer to the following trivia question: Who was baseball’s first designated hitter?

The DH rule, which went into effect only in the American League, was instituted to create more excitement by having a position player bat instead of a weak-hitting pitcher.

It was a drab, dismal, cold afternoon on April 6, 1973, in Boston’s Fenway Park. Blomberg was batting sixth in the Yankees’ lineup and Red Sox designated hitter Orlando Cepeda was slotted in the firth spot for the home team.

Luis Tiant, Boston’s starting pitcher, was wild and gave up a double and two walks to load the bases, allowing Blomberg to bat in the top of the first inning. Blomberg walked, trotting up to first base and down in history.

The Red Sox went on top the Yankees 15-5 and Blomberg’s bat went to baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Injuries limited Blomberg to 301 at-bats in 1973 and he posted a .329 batting average with 12 home runs, serving as designated hitter in 55 games and seeing action in 41 games at first base.

The year was memorable for Blomberg and this columnist, too. It was my first year on the baseball beat (except for Shabbos and Yom Tov) and I brought the big, friendly Southern-born Blomberg bagels whenever the Yanks played in Detroit.

To order Irwin Cohen’s informative book on Jewish History & Baseball’s Jews, send a check for $24.95 (includes shipping), payable to Irwin Cohen, and mail to: 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Michigan, 48237-1027.

About the Author: The author of 10 books, Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and interviewed the legendary Hank Greenberg. He went on to work for a major league team and became the first Orthodox Jew to earn a World Series ring. He can be reached in his Detroit area dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Designated Hebrew”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Baseball-Insider

As the years flew by, one thing remained constant in Sid’s life – the New York Yankees.

With the retirement of Lou Gehrig in 1939, Hank Greenberg (right) became the American League’s All-Star first baseman.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

Many former baseball players who left us with happy memories also passed away in the past year.

“No kid is worth a million dollars to sign,” Newhouser said, “but if one kid is, it’s this kid.”

Zimmer was popular with veteran teammates like Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider – and with a rookie lefthander named Sandy Koufax.

I’m sure readers noticed those full-page advertisements that ran prior to last month’s meeting about the situation at the Brooklyn home of Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rav of Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin. Avrohom chaired the even along with his brother Menachem, a prominent askan and the president of Lubicom.

I spoke twice during Pesach. The first topic was the Holocaust and Jewish ballplayers and the second was how I, a frum-from-birth Jew, ended up in major league baseball.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/designated-hebrew/2013/08/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: