web analytics
April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 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: 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 “The Jewish Father Of The World Series”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
UNRWA Rocket Logo
UNRWA Chutzpa
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

The poetry slam required entrants to compose original poetry with powerful imagery and energetic rhythm bringing their poems to life – making it palpable to the audience.

Teens-Twenties-logo

“I was so inspired by the beautiful lessons I learned and by the holiness around me that I just couldn’t stop writing songs!” she says.

Schonfeld-logo1

But Pi Day is worst of all
I want the extra credit bad
But trying to remember many numbers
makes me sad.

Several thousand Eastern European Jews had escaped Nazi death and Soviet persecution by fleeing to Shanghai, China.

Now that we’re back to chometz, it’s just the right time to give thought to our wellbeing. Who doesn’t want to lose a few bulky matzah-and-potato pounds? Who wouldn’t like to eat smarter and feel better? If you’re like most people I know, these are probably the first things you’d like to address. It’s time […]

My mother-in-law and I have had our problems since the beginning of my marriage.

It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.

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

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

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.

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/the-jewish-father-of-the-world-series/2013/10/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: