web analytics
November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Reflections On A Pair Of Detroit Favorites


Detroit is in mourning.

 

The most popular sports figure around these parts will no longer be wearing a Detroit Tigers uniform.

 

Curtis Granderson, as you know, will be patrolling center field for the New York Yankees next year and probably for several years.

 

There were days of ranting and venting against Tigers’ management on Detroit’s sportstalk radio programs, but most didn’t realize the Granderson deal is a good one for both the Yanks and Tigers.

 

As you recall, in the three-team trade the Tigers gave up Granderson and pitcher Edward Jackson. The Yankees gave up center field prospect Austin Jackson (“A-Jax”) and pitchers Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. The Arizona Diamondbacks surrendered pitchers Max Scherzer and Dan Schlereth.

 

The Yanks only get Granderson while Edward Jackson and Ian Kennedy go to the Diamondbacks and Detroit ends up with A-Jax, Coke, Scherzer and Schlereth.

 

The swap pays immediate dividends for the Yankees and will prove to be a great deal for the Tigers in the long run. The Diamondbacks may be the only losers.

 

A college grad whose parents are both teachers, Granderson is a great ambassador for baseball and a model citizen with an engaging personality. He’s glib, graceful, helpful and a favorite of groundskeepers and teammates. The New York stage will catapult him to superstardom.

 

Many of the off-the-wall doubles Granderson hit in Detroit’s Comerica Park will be home runs in cozier Yankee Stadium. Also, Yankee Stadium gives Granderson less area to patrol than the vast outfield at Comerica. With better hitters surrounding him in the Yankees’ lineup, Granderson should easily post a .280 batting average with 35 home runs.

 

*     *     *

 

As popular as Granderson has been among followers of the Tigers, George Kell enjoyed several decades of being loved during his long association with the Tigers.

 

   Kell died last year at 85 and I think of him often. An All-Star third baseman and American League batting champion (he hit over .300 nine times) when I started following baseball 60 years ago in 1950, Kell joined Ernie Harwell in the Tigers’ broadcasting booth in 1960 and the pair was the best play-by-play team I’ve ever heard.

 

Kell’s voice was a combination of Mel Allen, Red Barber and Vin Scully. A friendly man with an Arkansas twang, Kell was also a great storyteller. A bad back and knee made traveling difficult and Kell left regular broadcasting duties after the 1996 season. But he would occasionally visit the broadcast booth and fans were treated to his calls at Tiger Stadium’s final game ever in 1999.

 

Kell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983. I sent him a letter of congratulations and he responded with a longer letter. We corresponded at times through the years and I still have his letters.

 

In person, I enjoyed his stories; the modest Kell would always tell of the accomplishments of others, never his own. He broke into the majors a couple of years before Jackie Robinson and promised himself he would do what he could to help alleviate the plight of blacks. After gaining fame, Kell ran for the school board in his native Arkansas and was instrumental in integrating the schools.

 

I often prodded Kell to tell me about Hank Greenberg.

 

“Connie Mack traded me from the Philadelphia Athletics to the Tigers in 1946,” Kell said to my tape recorder. “That was Hank’s last year with the Tigers and the fans and writers loved him.

 

“I was in awe of him. I was a teenager in Arkansas and he was a big star and slugger in the late 1930s. Because of the war I never played against him until he returned late in the 1945 season and didn’t have much of a chance to get to know him.

 

“But when I came to the Tigers the following year, Hank greeted me warmly and took me out to dinner, something he did with all the new arrivals. He was a great charismatic guy and one of the smartest ballplayers of all time.

 

“Hank was the best I’ve ever seen at stealing signs when he was on second base. He would study the catcher’s moves and figure which pitches were coming and telegraph them with his own signs to us.”

 

Greenberg was the first inductee into the newly formed Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. He was, however, too ill to attend (cancer would claim him only a few weeks later).

 

Pinch-hitting for Greenberg at the kosher-catered affair attended by more than 300 people was Greenberg’s teammate and friend George Kell.

 

 

Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. Cohen, whose column appears the second week of each month, is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul and may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

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 “Reflections On A Pair Of Detroit Favorites”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .
NYT Ignores US Condemnation of PA Incitement, Prints Info on Ferguson Cop
Latest Sections Stories
West-Coast-logo

Lester Crown, a perennial member of the Forbes 400 list since 1982 and founder of the prestigious Covenant Foundation, took the stage in Washington, D.C. before a room of high-powered dignitaries, philanthropists, and innovators.

Collecting-History-logo

Not as well known, however, is Keller’s involvement with Jewish and Israeli communities.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
J.D. Martinez

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.

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.

“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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/reflections-on-a-pair-of-detroit-favorites/2010/01/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: