Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
It’s over 15 years since Rick Ferrell died, a few months shy of his 90th birthday.
Time hasn’t dimmed my memories of the dignified gentleman and Hall of Famer who worked in and for baseball until he was 87. The first time I met Ferrell was in 1983 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. It was the 50th anniversary of the very first All-Star Game, held in 1933 in the very same ballpark. All living members from the 1933 American League and National League squads who were healthy and able came to the festivities.
Ferrell, who caught all nine innings of the inaugural event, was the Red Sox representative and batted in the same lineup that featured Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. He wore a Red Sox uniform that sunny day in 1983 for the old-timers game held the day before the All-Star Game.
We had a short chat and Ferrell posed for a picture. I didn’t know it then but it would mark the first of hundreds of conversations we’d have and the picture would be used in a biography published in 2010 titled Rick Ferrell, Knuckleball Catcher.
Ferrell was a baseball lifer. He had a stellar career as a catcher for the St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators from 1929 through 1947. He called the pitches against and crouched behind the greats – Ruth, Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg.
Irwin Cohen took this photo of Rick Ferrell a day before
the 1983 All-Star Game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park
After his playing career, during which he posted a .281 average and was a defensive great, Ferrell took several positions with the Detroit Tigers. He stayed in uniform as a coach and then moved into the front office. He scouted, became head of the minor leagues and, eventually, general manager.
When I met him, Rick had the title of executive consultant for the Tigers. On the last day of December1992, Rick, 87 at the time, resigned.
I had joined the Tigers front office at the end of 1983, after about 10 years of covering the game and its people, and it was then that I really got to know Rick.
On days he wasn’t out of town scouting for possible trades or getting information on opposing hitters to convey to Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, Ferrell would be one of the early arrivals at Tiger Stadium.
Department heads would gather in the second floor dining room of the three- floored front office building attached to the stadium’s right field corner. About ten of us from the baseball and business side would gather around the large round table for the morning shmooze fest. Topics would include politics, current events and baseball.
I usually parked near or next to Ferrell on the days he’d be there. Many times before others arrived, I had him one-on-one. He never boasted, bragged or brought up the old days. I had to steer the conversation in that direction.
One morning I asked him about what kind of person Moe Berg was. Berg, if you recall, was also a catcher in the 1930s and later spied for the United States while on a baseball tour of Japan. Berg, who became the subject of several articles and books, was always known as baseball’s mystery man.
”I roomed with Moe while we played for Boston,” Ferrell recalled. “He was the smartest man I ever met. We didn’t have air conditioning in the hotels in those days and we’d be outside most of the time. Not Moe; he’d stay in the bathtub as long as he could and had a bunch of newspapers on the rim to read. He didn’t want anyone to touch the papers before he read them. As far as friends on the team, he hung around the writers more, but we all liked him. He would have made a great coach as he was good at giving instruction to young players.”
Ferrell saw a lot of history while in uniform. He was a member of the visiting Washington Senators when Lou Gehrig made his famous goodbye speech at Yankee Stadium in 1939.
“When Lou finished and walked off the field,” Ferrell said, “he asked me, ‘How’d I do?’ I said, ‘You did great.’ I had tears in my eyes at the time. We all did, for Lou was such a wonderful man.”
Ferrell was the third base coach for the Tigers in 1951 when Eddie Gaedel, the little person who stood at 3-foot-seven, batted for the St. Louis Browns and walked on four pitches. While fans loved the publicity stunt cooked up by Browns owner Bill Veeck, Ferrell didn’t. “It was a travesty of the game,” he said.
Out of uniform, as the general manager of the Tigers in 1959, Ferrell swapped American League batting champ Harvey Kuenn to Cleveland for home run leader Rocky Colavito. The following year, Ferrell was behind the trading of Tigers manager Jimmie Dykes to Cleveland for Indians manager Joe Gordon.
The baseball world was shocked – it was, and still remains, the only time teams have traded managers. Some 30 years later I asked Ferrell about and he explained the logic of it.
“Bill DeWitt was my boss at the time,” he said. “He was tossing names around with Cleveland’s general manager Frank (Trader) Lane. I suggested they trade managers and they loved the idea. Our manager, Jimmie Dykes, was an old friend of mine and I knew DeWitt would let him go after the season. By going to Cleveland, Dykes would get another year or two.”
I always thought Ferrell’s life story would make a great book. Finally, a delightful lady from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Rick’s daughter, Kerrie Ferrell, wrote one. (Check out www.mcfarlandpub.com.)
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Ronald Mayer has authored The 1923 New York Yankees (like the Ferrell bio, this book is published by McFarland), a great read about the team and the times.
The ’23 Yanks won the first of the franchise’s 27 World Championships and Mayer paints a beautiful picture of the players as the year progresses. Lou Gehrig made his debut in June, and, of course, that was the year Yankee Stadium opened.
During each of the three previous seasons (1920-1922), the Yankees had topped the million-attendance mark while their New York Giants landlords at the Polo Grounds did not. Babe Ruth was the main reason as he blasted 148 home runs during that span. Ruth out-homered the entire Giants team in two of those three years.
Sportswriter Fred Lieb tagged the colossal triple-decked new home of the Yankees “The House That Ruth Built.” Ruth responded by batting .393 in 1923 and blasting 41 home runs, a tremendous feat in the dead ball era.
As we follow the fortunes of the Yankees as they march to their first World Series victory, we learn that the average salary in the United States was $1,393 per year. Mayer also tells us that a first-class postage stamp in 1923 was two cents. A copy of the New York Daily News cost four cents, a loaf of bread was nine cents, a quart of milk 14 cents and a dozen eggs 24 cents.
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Speaking of books, Maury Allen, best known in his role as sportswriter for the New York Post, died recently at age 78. Allen, who wrote 38 sports related books, was one of my columnists in the late 1970s when I operated a national baseball monthly.
Maury, a real mensch, gets a big mention in my upcoming book about my time in the press boxes, clubhouses and front office.
Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, hopes to have his eighth book ready for you within two months. Cohen, who already is working on book number nine, is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul. He can be reached in his dugout at email@example.com.
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Florida is famous for sparkling water. We have the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico surrounding our coast. We have bays, lakes, canals and, of course, an incredible abundance of swimming pools in homes, resorts, apartment complexes and city parks.
The buzz is back as Camp Gan Israel Florida Overnight gears up for another fantastic summer, CGI Florida style. What makes CGI Florida so different from all the other overnight camps? It’s all in the details.
Leah Katz, a TeenZone camper at Oorah’s TheZone summer camp and an 11th grader at Midwood High School, read her winning essay about how TheZone changed her views on Judaism at the Jewish Heritage Awards Ceremony held at Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office in April. The purpose of the Jewish Heritage Essay Contest is to acquaint public school students with Jewish history and customs and to help foster a deeper understanding of Jewish culture. The contest is open to students of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Leah’s essay is reproduced in full below.
Moshe Sharett, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, visited Egypt in 1945. In Cairo he met a most remarkable young woman, a beautiful journalist who was the darling of Egyptian high society – from high-ranking military brass, to culture icons and Muslim sheikhs, to the court of King Faruk.
The two proceeded to talk about everyday things and surprisingly her mother-in-law did not find anything else to criticize. This occurred a few more times, with my client changing the topic every time by complimenting her mother-in-law or mentioning something positive about her.
There is always a lot of confusion surrounding sensory processing disorder – mainly because there are many different diagnoses that fall under the catch-all phrase sensory processing disorder (SPD). Among them are three specific subcategories:
The doctor had warned us that even if we did everything right and followed the protocol after the follicle was of the right size, there was no guarantee of success. Fertilization still had to occur, and just like couples do not necessarily become pregnant every month, we had no way to know if we were actually expecting for two full weeks.
The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Jewish Press columnist Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder and president of Hineni, the international Torah outreach organization, recently addressed an overflowing audience at the Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine in southern California. Rebbetzin Jungreis’s address theme, “Making a Good Relationship Magical,” was apropos for the evening’s main mission: raising funds for the Irvine community’s mikveh.
You have probably been planning your marriage since you were about three. Let’s fast-forward to a big milestone– your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. (Don’t worry, you don’t look a day over twenty one!) Now, would you appreciate your husband buying you a dozen roses that some florist recommended?
As I mentioned in my earlier articles about our family trip to Israel, our night flight went pretty smooth, thanks to my children’s willingness to sleep throughout the flight. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink and I wasn’t feeling too great by the time we landed. But we were finally in Israel, and just being in the beautifully renovated Ben Gurion airport and hearing all the Hebrew around us was exciting enough.
Readers of my monthly Baseball Insider column may have noticed its absence last week (the column appears in the second issue of every month). The reason for that is I have something more serious and personal to share with you, something that didn’t seem appropriate for a baseball column.
Let me tell you about my new book.
Like you, I’m interested in Jewish baseball players and Jewish history. So, after years of research, first-hand observations and interviews, I combined the aforementioned information from the post-civil war era to the present and came up with a book titled Jewish History in the Time of Baseball’s Jews: Life on Both Sides of the Ocean.
Many of the baseball beat writers feel the Detroit Tigers are the best team in the major leagues. While I haven’t seen all of the pre-season articles, the ones I have read pick the Tigers to top the Central division in the American League.
A few months ago I wrote about the passing of my brother-in-law, Rabbi Shmuel Kunda, z”l, and how he never got around to a project I urged him to take on. I wanted him to title it “Boruch Goes to Ebbets Field” and tell the story of how Boruch bonds with Brooklyn’s beloved Dodgers – with Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and the rest. (The Duke was my brother-in-law’s favorite.)
Last season the Philadelphia Phillies had a Rosenberg, the St. Louis Cardinals had a Rosenthal, and the Arizona Diamondbacks had a Goldschmidt.
As of early December, some 72 former major leaguers had died in 2012. The number is much higher than any of us would have guessed.
What an unusual postseason it was.
The Yankees looked inept against the ferocious Tigers and the Tigers in turn looked toothless against the San Francisco Giants as they were swept in the World Series.
Ralph Kiner turns ninety on the 27th of October.
Where have the years gone?
Many Jewish Press readers grew up watching Kiner’s Korner, the post-game television show featuring yesterday’s heroes and the Mets’ one-day wonders.
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