web analytics
April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Saluting Murray Franklin

"I had to grow a tough little hide as everybody was fair game to be razzed and needled."
Murray Asher Franklin

Murray Asher Franklin

At a speaking engagement recently in the college town of Ann Arbor (about 55 minutes from my dugout), an older Jewish fellow told me about his brother-in-law who had a long career as a pro baseball player.

Murray “Moe” Asher Franklin’s minor league career began in 1937 and his only major league stint was with the Detroit Tigers in 1941 and 1942. Franklin played shortstop in four games and third base in one game for the ’41 Tigers, hitting .300 in 10 at-bats. In 1942, in 154 at-bats, Franklin batted .260 while seeing fielding action in 32 games at shortstop and seven at second base.

Military service ended his major league career. He served in the Navy until the end of World War II but got to play on the Naval Air Station team with big league star infielders Johnny Pesky and Pee Wee Reese. Other big leaguers on the team included pitcher Johnny Sain and slugging outfielder Ted Williams.

Disappointed that the Tigers dropped him from their roster, Franklin opted to play for Mexican and Cuban teams before returning to stateside baseball with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League, one step below the majors, in 1949.

Bob Cobb, who owned the famous Brown Derby restaurant, sort of an expensive clubhouse to celebrities and movie stars, was the owner of the baseball team. Cobb sold shares of the ballclub to real Hollywood stars. Part-owners included Gracie Allen, Gene Autry, George Burns, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Cecil DeMille, George Raft, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor.

I was put in touch with Murry’s son Dell, who had many interesting stories regarding his father and playing for Hollywood in Gilmore Field.

“It was a small, intimate field,” Dell recalled, “with very little foul territory, making the fans real close to the players. Many comedians came to the games – Abbott and Costello, Jack Benny, Joe E. Brown, Bob Hope – and, of course, actresses like Anne Bancroft.”

Gilmore Field was the home of the Hollywood Stars from 1939 to 1957. The Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles after the 1957 season and the two triple-A teams in the area, the Stars and the Los Angeles Angels, moved to other West Coast cities for 1958.

Gilmore Field, which held about 11,000 fans, was near the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Blvd (near the Jewish community). The little ballpark, in which many movies were filmed, was razed in ’58 and much of the ballfield was turned into a parking lot for CBS Television City.

Jewish kids like Dell Franklin lucky enough to be around Gilmore Field in its heyday in the late ’40s and early ’50s, took away lasting memories of movie stars and the ballplayers who were on their way up to or down from the parent Brooklyn club. Dell’s dad played for Hollywood from 1949 through 1951, before hooking up to other west coast clubs.

“I accompanied dad to the clubhouse and onto the field during practice before games,” Dell said. “I remember the clubhouse as a sanctum, a private male society all its own, off limits to those who did not belong. I was accepted grudgingly in time because these men recognized that the game was as important to me as it was to them, and when I was not walking around pounding a ball into a floppy old glove, I was oiling their gloves and taking care of their bats.

“I had to grow a tough little hide as everybody was fair game to be razzed and needled. I had to dodge spurts of tobacco juice and snapping towels on my backside. It seemed everybody had a nickname and not complimentary at all. Mother was appalled at my language, but the players were profane, and I imitated them on and off the field, even the way they spit.

“My dad’s best friend and teammate for several years was Herb Gorman. He always told me to act properly and how important it was for me to grow up the right way. He was a sweetheart of a man.”

Last month I told readers about the tragedy of Herb Gorman and how his sudden death was the saddest occasion in Jewish baseball history.

About the Author: Author, columnist, and lecturer Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and worked in a front office position for a major league team, becoming the first Orthodox Jew to earn a World Series ring. He can be reached in his 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 “Saluting Murray Franklin”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
"Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah." That's his Jihad. What's yours? - An ad campaign sponsored by  the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
MTA Hopes to Change Rule, Ban ‘Killing Jews’ Anti-Jihad Ad
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”

South-Florida-logo

We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.

South-Florida-logo

The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.

“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.

Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

Every moment was a gift. I held each one, savoring.

We arrived in Auschwitz on Thursday, January 30, 2014. My seminary was taking us to see where the prisoners were kept. When we got there, I stepped off the bus in complete and total silence. I was in the back, and when we got to the gate I hesitated and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t […]

From the moment Israel was declared a Jewish state, it has been the subject of controversy and struggle.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

During the Second World War, a million and a half Jewish soldiers fought in the Allied armies, the Partisan units in Eastern Europe, and the anti-fascist underground movements in Western Europe and North Africa. These Jewish fighters won over 200,000 medals and citations. The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in Latrun, […]

The 2-day real estate event will take place in Brooklyn on April 26 and 27.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Baseball-logo-NEW

The Mets at least have hope for the future with some good young pitchers.

Baseball-logo-NEW

The big news this spring is that the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will be leaving their old spring homes north of Port St. Lucie and moving south to a beautiful new complex scheduled to open in two years in West Palm Beach.

A famous face from that first ’52 Topps set was Alvin Dark, who died in his South Carolina home recently at 92.

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

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.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/saluting-murray-franklin/2013/07/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: