web analytics
March 2, 2015 / 11 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Jewish Father Of The World Series

Barney Dreyfuss

Barney Dreyfuss

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.

What was left of the Baltimore Orioles became part of the new New York club, named the Highlanders. The name was chosen after a famous British army regiment and the lofty location of the new New York ballpark.

Hilltop Park, a wooden stadium that could accommodate 15,000, was rushed to completion in upper Manhattan along Broadway from 165th to 168th streets.

Many Jewish boys living in New York with Yiddish-speaking and reading parents spent most their free time in good weather playing baseball.

A popular feature of Abraham Cahan’s Yiddish language Jewish Daily Forward was Cahan’s “Bintel Brief” advice column. An immigrant from Russia, who couldn’t understand his son’s fascination with the popular American game, sent the following letter:

“It makes sense to play dominoes or chess. But what is the point of a crazy game like baseball? The children get crippled. Here in educated America adults play baseball. They run after a leather ball like children. I want my boy to grow up to be a mensh, not a wild American runner. But he cries his head off.”

The letter and Cahan’s reply appeared in the August 3, 1903, edition. Cahan’s answer was for all fathers with the same problem: “Let your boys play baseball and play it well,” Cahan advised, “as long as it does not interfere with their education or get them in bad company. Chess is good, but baseball develops the arms, legs, and eyesight. It is played in the fresh air. Let us not raise the children that they grow up foreigners in their own birthplace.”

A Jewish foreigner, Bernard Dreyfuss, developed a love for baseball and would eventually develop the World Series.

Bernard was born and educated in Germany. He apprenticed as a bank clerk before arriving in America in 1882 at age 17. A smallish fellow with a thick German accent, Barney as he became known, made his way to Paducah, Kentucky, to help out at a distillery owned by relatives.

Working his way up from scrubbing barrels to assistant bookkeeper, a bout with illness led a doctor to advise Dreyfuss to get more exercise by playing baseball.

Dreyfuss followed the doctor’s orders, enjoyed playing, and decided to invest in the game by operating a semipro team. In 1888, the 23-year-old Dreyfuss became a naturalized citizen and the distillery relocated to Louisville.

Dreyfuss met Florence Wolf in Louisville and the pair hit it off as both were Jewish and loved baseball. They married in 1894, and five years later they were the major owners of the Louisville club, which was a member of the National League at the time.

When the 12-team National League decided to contract to eight teams, the Louisville club was targeted for extinction. A deal was engineered to allow Dreyfuss to purchase a half interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates and take fourteen of his Louisville players with him. By the time the American League was born in 1901, Dreyfuss was the major owner of the Pirates.

The Pirates topped the National League in 1901 and 1902; however, when the season ended there was no series of games between the best team in each league to determine which one was baseball’s best.

The Pirates were on their way to topping the National League again in 1903 and the Boston club was on its way to clinching first place in the American League. Dreyfuss wrote his Boston counterpart, trumpeting the merits of a series of games between the two leagues’ best teams.

“The time has come for the National League and American League to organize a World Series,” Dreyfuss wrote. “It is my belief that if our clubs played a series on a best-out-of-nine basis we would create great interest in baseball, in our leagues, and in our players. I also believe it would be a financial success.”

Agreement was reached, and the first game of the first World Series took place on Thursday, October 1 in Boston. An overflow crowd of 16,242 packed Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds. But Dreyfuss didn’t see his Pirates win 7-3, because the game was on Yom Kippur.

Dreyfuss watched the second game with two guests, the rabbi from Boston’s oldest congregation and the rabbi from Dryfuss’s Pittsburgh congregation. The rabbis saw Boston shut out the Pirates 3-0 to even the Series.

Pittsburgh lose that first World Series, five games to three. But for Barney and his beloved Florence, the disappointment would be followed by success and other firsts.

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 “The Jewish Father Of The World Series”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of the Bibicotters
Want to Tell the BibiCotters What You Think? Here’s How You Can.
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

Respler-022715

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It was only in the reign of George III (1760-1820) that Jews became socially acceptable in Britain, and Nathan became music master to Princess Charlotte and musical librarian to King George IV.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Baseball-logo-NEW

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

Baseball-Insider

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.”

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/the-jewish-father-of-the-world-series/2013/10/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: