web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with US President Barack Obama at the White House, Oct. 1, 2014.
Netanyahu, Obama Focus on Different Priorities in White House Talk
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
War hero Lou Brissi’s card was a much-sought-after one in Topps’s inaugural 1952 collection.

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

Derek Jeter

“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.

Even if a player reaches the big league level, there’s still no guarantee he’ll remain with one team for long. Former Jewish outfielder Richie Scheinblum comes to mind.

The snow has melted in most parts of the country and here in Florida, where I have my winter dugout in the Orthodox enclave of Century Village in West Palm Beach, I had the opportunity to take in several spring training games.

If you’re visiting spring training sites, Arizona has two advantages – fewer games are rained out and the facilities are much closer to each other than is the case in Florida.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: