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Nearly all fans of baseball history have heard of Hank Greenberg. Most have heard of Al Rosen. But fewer have heard of Cal Abrams, and hardly any, it’s safe to say, have heard of Lou Limmer. All four are members of a compelling team – American Jews who played Major League Baseball.
In September I wrote in my Baseball Insider column (which appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press) of my very positive reaction to an advanced screening of the new documentary "Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story."
He was the oldest former major league ballplayer when he died last month at the age of 100. Bill Werber was a teammate of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth with the Yankees in 1930 and again three years later. He also played for the Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants before retiring in 1942 with a .271 career batting average. He outhit Hank Greenberg .370 to .357 in the 1940 World Series, leading the Reds over the Tigers in seven games.
Whatever happened to Jewish baseball players? Not that they're an extinct species - several Jews are currently playing in the major leagues or working their way through the minors - but Jewish baseball fans will tell you the present-day crop is relatively unaccomplished and unknown.