web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Talking Philadelphia Baseball With Allen Rothenberg


Philadelphia’s Shibe Park in its heyday.

Philadelphia’s Shibe Park in its heyday.

I flew to Philadelphia recently. The last time I’d flown to Philadelphia I went with Mark “The Bird” Fidrych for the 1976 All-Star Game and surrounding events. Fidrych was the starting pitcher for the American League and I was a writer with full clubhouse and on-field privileges.

This time I went with my wife and we made our way from the airport to the train station and Amtracked for an hour and seven minutes to Lancaster, where I was on the roster of speakers at the Pesach in Lancaster program.

It was the first time we were away for Pesach. Last year I told you about the passing of our daughter, Chani, a”h, a young mother of seven children and a true eishes chayil. We lost her to cancer on the fourth day of Chol HaMoed in our home, where she spent the last three weeks of her life.

There are many wonderful Pesach programs that advertise in The Jewish Press but circumstances led us to Jewish Heritage, which operates the Lancaster program. We thought the seven kids and our son-in-law could use a change of scenery and they drove from Detroit to join us.

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.

My audience was filled with interesting people. One of them had a face I knew but couldn’t place. I asked the gentleman his name. As soon as he said “Allen Rothenberg,” I recalled the advertisement of his law firm with his picture that runs on a regular basis in The Jewish Press.

Allen’s family was at the hotel with him, and two family members were on the roster of speakers. Son Harry, who breezed through Harvard Law School, is a talented and interesting speaker on Jewish topics and has a popular blog on Yom Tovim and the weekly parshah on several websites including partnersintorah.org. Son-in-law Rabbi Dov Halperin was the founding rosh kollel of the Philadelphia Community Kollel and gives shiurim in Lakewood and elsewhere. I had the opportunity to hear both of them and it was time well spent.

Allen and his wife, Barbara, also a prominent attorney, have eight children, seven of whom are attorneys.

Allen has vivid baseball memories of growing up in Philadelphia and attending Sunday afternoon doubleheaders at Shibe Park, later renamed Connie Mack Stadium. Allen rooted for the Philadelphia Athletics (today’s Oakland Athletics), who were managed by iconic team owner Connie Mack.

Allen gravitated to outfielder Sam Chapman, the leading home run hitter of team. Mistakenly thinking Chapman was Jewish because he had a Jewish-sounding name and because he was a power hitter, Allen installed him as his favorite and yearned to wear Chapman’s uniform number four and, like Chapman, bat fourth in the lineup whenever he played.

One of Allen’s buddies was a fan of the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies, who also played their home games at Shibe Park, and Allen accompanied him via trolley and subway to the old stadium when the Athletics were on the road. The Phillies won much more often than the Athletics, and Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons helped pitch the Phillies to the 1950 World Series. (The Phils lost in four to the Yankees.)

With speedy young players like Richie Ashburn, the young Phillies caught the hearts of Philadelphia fans, forcing the Mack family to sell the Athletics. The new owner moved the franchise to Kansas City after the 1954 season.

The next time American Leaguers took the field in Philadelphia was at the 1976 All-Star Game, but Allen had the opportunity to watch a lot of good National League baseball. He rates Sandy Koufax as the best pitcher he ever saw and Willie Mays as the best position player. He also can say he was a regular visitor to Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium, which saw its last major league game some 45 years ago.

About the Author: Author, columnist, and public speaker Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years before working for a major league team and becoming the first Orthodox Jew to receive a World Series ring. His column appears the second week of each month and he can be reached in his suburban Detroit 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.

One Response to “Talking Philadelphia Baseball With Allen Rothenberg”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PUG Meeting
Abbas Reshuffles Unity Govt with Hamas, Claims ISIS Is Already in Gaza, ‘No Sense Denying It’
Latest Sections Stories

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.

Singer-Saul-Jay-logo-NEW

Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

Personally I wish that I had a mother like my wife.

What’s the difference between the first and second ten-year-old?

What makes this diary so historically significant is that it is not just the private memoir of Dr. Seidman. Rather, it is a reflection of the suffering of Klal Yisrael at that time.

Rabbi Lau is a world class speaker. When he relates stories, even concentration camp stories, the audience is mesmerized. As we would soon discover, he is in the movie as well.

Each essay, some adapted from lectures Furst prepared for live audiences, begins with several basic questions around a key topic.

For the last several years, four Jewish schools in the Baltimore Jewish community have been expelling students who have not received their vaccinations.

“We can’t wait for session II to begin” said camp director Mrs. Judy Neufeld.

Chabad Chayil wishes all a happy and healthy remainder of summer.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Baseball-logo-NEW

Gray played the outfield better than most players with two hands.

Baseball-logo-NEW

Monsey-based David Romand is an interesting story. The bearded, impressive looking fellow grew up in the Los Angeles area and started following baseball seriously in 1959, the year the Dodgers won the World Series with Jewish players Sandy Koufax and brothers Larry and Norm Sherry. David played ball well at several positions. His grandparents thought […]

The New York Giants’ Jewish catcher thrilled Giants fans by hitting for the cycle.

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

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/talking-philadelphia-baseball-with-allen-rothenberg/2014/05/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: