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Posts Tagged ‘Irwin Cohen’

1951: A Great Year In Baseball

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

I was one of 2,400 people at the recent Yeshiva Beth Yehudah dinner held in downtown Detroit.

That’s not a misprint – 2,400 people turned out at the annual dinner for the day school I attended decades ago and my grandchildren attend today.

It’s the biggest yeshiva day-school dinner in the country and has been for several years. The biggest names in local politics (such as Michigan Sen. Carl Levin) show up and the biggest names in national politics are guest speakers.

This year the guest speaker was Vice President Joe Biden. After a very pro-Israel speech from Biden, it was strolling dessert time and I ran into some familiar old faces from my early yeshiva days. After  talking politics, the subject turned to baseball, specifically the first full year we started following the game.

All of us could think back 60 years to 1951. What a baseball year it was.

It was the last season for Joe DiMaggio and the first for Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. It was the year the St. Louis Browns’ flamboyant owner Bill Veeck sent up a 3-foot-7 inch pinch-hitter (who walked on four pitches that would have been strikes to any other major league batter).

It was the year Ralph Kiner won his sixth consecutive National League home run crown. It was the year Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Preacher Roe won 22 games and lost only three. And, of course, it was the year the Dodgers blew the pennant.

The arch-rival New York Giants lost just nine of their final 47 games to tie the Dodgers for first place at season’s end, setting up a three-game playoff. In the bottom of the 9th of the final playoff game at the Polo Grounds, Brooklyn was ahead 4-2. With two Giants runners on base, Ralph Branca was brought in to pitch to Bobby Thomson. Thomson homered to left in the late afternoon gloom to send Brooklyn into mourning. Thomson’s memorable homer became known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

 

But 60 years ago Jewish baseball history was made in Detroit. And our young class was there. In those days the Tigers gave away tickets for some May and June midweek games against bad teams like the Philadelphia Athletics.

 

It was May 2, 1951. The Tigers had their Jewish battery working at the time – Saul Rogovin pitching and Joe Ginsberg catching.  Rogovin was pitching a no-hitter when he yielded a hit with one in the seventh inning. In the ninth, with Detroit leading 3-1, Lou Limmer came to bat in a pinch-hitting role. Rogovin, Ginsberg and Limmer had two things in common – they were born in New York and were Jewish.

 

When Limmer reached the batter’s box, umpire Bill Summers stated, “I got me three Hebes, let’s see who wins.” Rogovin eyed the runner on first base and aimed his pitch for the target Ginsberg presented with his glove. However, Limmer lined the pitch into the lower right field seats to tie the score and send the game to extra innings and Rogovin to the showers.

 

The Tigers went on to win the game and less than two weeks later Rogovin, who would go on to become a teacher in the New York public school system after his baseball career, would be traded to the Chicago White Sox.

Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds were the center of the baseball universe in 1951.The Harlem River separated the homes of the American and National League champs and hosted the World Series.

 

As May was nearing its end, Cal Abrams of the Brooklyn Dodgers had a 14-for23 streak to lead the National League with a .470 batting average. Abrams’s hitting inspired a headline in the New York Post that went, “Mantle, Shmantle, We Got Abie.”

 

Abrams cooled off as the weather warmed up and was used less frequently. When the season ended for Brooklyn, Abrams totaled 155 at-bats and posted a .280 batting average. Lou Limmer batted 214 times with five homers, but his low .159 batting average would earn him a ticket back to the minor leagues for the next two years.

 

Saul Rogovin became one of the best pitchers in the A.L. leading the league with a 2.78 ERA while winning 11 and losing seven. Joe Ginsberg was a backup catcher but eleven years later would make history as the Mets’ starting catcher in their first-ever home game.

 

The big Jewish stars of ’51 were Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians and Sid Gordon of the Boston Braves. Rosen batted .265 with 24 home runs and 102 RBI while Gordon outslugged him (.287, 29, 109). Both were third baseman while Gordon was also used in the outfield.

Fantasy Come True

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Seventy-eight degrees and sunny.

That’s what it was that Thursday afternoon in November when I arrived in Tampa, site of the Yankees Fantasy Camp.

After checking into the Sheraton Suites where the campers were staying for the Monday through Saturday camp, I shuttled to George M. Steinbrenner Field (where the Yanks play during spring training and also the home of the Tampa Yankees, three levels below the major leagues), to join the camp in progress.

I met with Julie Kremer, who juggles many balls in her roles as assistant general manager of the Tampa Yankees and director of the fantasy camp. I also met with Ira Jaskoll. He was a first-time camper last year and brought his own food.

Based on his experience, Jaskoll approached Julie K. with the idea of providing kosher food, designating a room in the hotel for Shabbat services and dining, and moving the big dream game from Saturday to Friday to accommodate future Orthodox campers.

Julie agreed and under her direction “the Rabbi,” as former Yankees players who coached and instructed Jaskoll last year affectionately call him, made all the necessary arrangements for the 2009 camp.

After catching up with Julie and Ira, it was time to partake in the on-field banquet and join the kosher campers. We took the table near second base and Jesse Barfield asked if he could join us. Barfield, an outfielder who played 12 big league seasons and spent 1989 through 1992 with the Yankees, led the American League in home runs with 40 in 1986 while playing for Toronto.

“Do you still do a lot of woodworking?” I asked Barfield. “How did you know that?” he responded. “Because,” I said, “while I was interviewing you about 25 years ago in the visiting clubhouse at Tiger Stadium, I asked you what you like to do when you have free time.”

“Wow,” Barfield exclaimed, “you’ve got a good memory.”

Former Yankees PR man Marty Appel was the guest speaker and spoke about Thurman Munson, the subject of his latest book. The next day was a bit more humid but still beautiful.

I watched the campers play Friday morning and lunched with the kosher guys and others in a picturesque outdoor pavilion between the stadium and practice fields.

A couple of the spouses of the six kosher campers flew in to be on hand for the big Friday game. Also on hand were Sharon and Jerry Volk, friends of the Jaskolls, there to root the rabbi on and enjoy the sun. Wives and children of other campers also came to enjoy the weekend.

It was a regular stadium atmosphere complete with the national anthem and the great voice of Yankee Stadium, Paul Olden. The campers, who got to dress in the same clubhouse the Yankees use during spring training and play on the same field, now heard themselves being introduced by the same voice on the public address system.

Some of the former Yankees who participated in the game were Barfield, Ron Blomberg, Homer Bush, Chris Chambliss, Al Downing, Tommy John, Phil Linz, Fritz Peterson, Mickey Rivers and Roy White.

Shabbat exceeded my expectations as the food was plentiful, the portions large, the company excellent and the speakers (Marty Appel, Ron Blomberg and yours truly) interesting. The camp ended on a real high with the closing Saturday night banquet. Awards named after former Yankee greats were given out to campers who excelled in several categories.

All the campers I talked with – kosher and otherwise – said they wanted to come back again. Several already were repeaters and one nice fellow from New York actually has been there for 22 consecutive camps. And listen to this – he’s been to both the November and January camps. That’s actually 44 in a row! And after experiencing a bit of it I can understand why.

Another Season In The Books

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Wow! What a finish to the 2011 baseball season. Even before the interesting seven-game World Series won by St. Louis, there was incredible drama in the final month.

On the final day of the 162-game regular season, the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox both ended bad Septembers with one-run losses that ended any hope of a postseason berth.

Boston won only seven games while losing 20 in September, leading to exits by long-time manager Tito Francona and general manager Theo Epstein. The latter was for years considered baseball’s resident young genius by the media, but he was always helped out by the Red Sox having more money to spend than most franchises. The Sox, with baseball’s third highest payroll ($161.8 million) were caught and overtaken by the Tampa Bay Rays with a payroll of only $41.1 million (29th out of 30 teams).

The Yankees had the largest payroll at $202.7 million – and were eliminated in the first round of playoffs by the Detroit Tigers, who shelled out  $105.7 million on their players. The Texas Rangers, with the 13th highest payroll ($92.3 million), survived both playoff rounds to get to the World Series.

Theo Epstein spent big bucks on a full-page ad in the Boston Globe to thank Red Sox fans and the Red Sox organization. Epstein, who was responsible for the signing of several free agents who produced to less than their capabilities, opted to leave his native Fenway stomping grounds to try to produce better results with the  Chicago Cubs.

While the Red Sox were saddled with hefty contracts, injuries and some bad performances by highly paid players were responsible for keeping Boston out of the postseason. Free agent Carl Crawford, who batted .319 with 19 home runs and 47 stolen bases for Tampa Bay in 2010, hit just .255 with 11 homers and had 18 stolen bases for Boston in 2011. Red Sox Nation expected a lot more as Crawford inked a seven-year $142-million deal.

Adrian Gonzalez, the star first baseman for the San Diego Padres lured to Boston, played up to expectations (.338, 27 homers, 117 RBI). Kevin Youkilis, one of the few big leaguers with two Jewish parents, hit .285 in the first half of  the 2011 season and only .199 after the All-Star break. Lingering injuries kept Youkilis from playing the final two weeks of the season.

Boston needs pitching but the bats should be back strong in 2012. The Cubs, however, are a different story. Even if Epstein signs a big bat like first baseman Prince Fielder, the lovable Cubbies have several aging players who are hard to trade because of hefty contracts and reputations for not being too popular with their teammates.

General managers have  to be careful shelling out the big bucks. The White Sox are stuck with Adam Dunn for three more  years. Dunn, who averaged 40 homers a year in the six season from 2004 through 2010 with thee Washington Nationals, had a dismal 2011. Ken Williams, the White Sox general manager, expected a lot more from Dunn, who batted .159 and contributed 11 home runs before he was benched for the season.

There will be lots of excitement this off-season until free agent stars such as Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes sign their new long- term megabuck pacts.

My prediction is that Pujols will stay with St. Louis, Fielder will opt for the Cubs and Reyes will join the Detroit Tigers.

Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. Downtown Detroit is making a comeback, and Tigers fans are hoping Mets shortstop Jose Reyes will sign with Detroit as a free agent.

‘Mancation’ In Cincinnati

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

            Two months ago I told you about my “Mancation” (men only, we visit different cities, check out a ballgame and the shuls, etc.).

 

Two months ago it was Pittsburgh. This time it was Cincinnati. Both cities are a five-and-a-half hour drive from my dugout in suburban Detroit. Pittsburgh is east, Cincy west. The two cities have similar populations, well under a half million, and both boast thriving downtowns and beautiful riverfront ballparks.

 

Pittsburgh, however, had one big advantage over Cincinnati: its kosher eateries, kosher shopping, and shuls are all pretty much within walking distance of each other. While Cincinnati’s few shuls are fairly close to one another, its kosher shopping and eateries are spread out and a car is a definite must.

 

Rabbi A.D. Motzen, who reps for Agudah in the Midwest covering several states,
is based in Cincinnati. Rabbi Motzen says the Cincy area has 27,000 Jews and approximately 250 Orthodox families. I was lucky enough to be in town the same time as Rabbi Motzen’s father, the internationally known cantor Yaakov Motzen. The chazzan‘s wife is from Philadelphia and a loyal Phillies fan; the family took in a Reds-Phillies game while in town.

 

Losantville Road houses Cincinnati’s tiny kollel building and adjoining day schools for boys and girls across the street. One big Orthodox shul is a couple of houses south of Losantville and the beautiful, relatively new, building of Knesseth Israel/Zichron Yaakov on Section Road is about a half mile north.

 

Great American Ballpark on the banks of the Ohio River, facing the Kentucky cities of Newport and Covington, is a beautiful baseball venue employing mainly two colors – the red and white of the Cincinnati Reds. A bright white exterior with strikingly white light towers gives all sides of the ballpark’s exterior a different look from other major league parks.

 

The interior of all-red seats for the Reds gives the stadium a bright look and is quite a departure from the dark green or blue seats most ballparks employ. Most fans wear their Reds jerseys, something that adds greatly to the vibrant red color scheme.

 

 


Great American Ballpark in beautiful downtown Cincinnati.

(Photo Credit: Irwin Cohen)


 

Great American Ballpark also has one of the most entertaining scoreboards in the big leagues. Between innings the giant board features fans in attendance and their reactions when they discover themselves on the screen. Camera people are constantly roaming different areas of the stands and concourses for unsuspecting fans, and, of course, many dance around hoping to be featured on the board.

 

Because of the scoreboard’s location, many boaters congregate on the Ohio River at night beyond the right field bleachers, open their coolers and set anchor while watching the game’s (and other) highlights on the scoreboard.

 

So, if you like a mid-sized city with a small town atmosphere and a beautiful, busy downtown – and don’t mind driving a bit for kosher shopping and eating – give Cincinnati a try.


 

* * * * *

 

As you can imagine, the talk around my town (Detroit) has been all about the Tigers. There’s nothing tougher for the baseball fan than to have your team in the postseason playoffs and not know what’s going on as the yomim tovim run into Shabbos. After giving the traditional Yom Tov or Shabbos greeting, everyone asks, “Did you find out anything about the game?”

 

I’ll tell you more about it next month along with some of the biggest surprises of the season and some free-agent predictions for next season.

 

* * * * *

 

Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and earned a
World Series ring while working in a major league front office
. To read his
illustrated autobiography on how he made it to the baseball field, send a check for $19.95, payable to Irwin Cohen, to 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Michigan, 48237
. Cohen, the president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Hank Greenberg’s 25th Yahrzeit

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

It was Hank Greenberg’s 25th yahrzeit recently and I said Kaddish for baseball’s biggest Jewish superstar.


 


Greenberg had children, but I doubt any said Kaddish, and if it was said, it more than likely wasn’t in an Orthodox shul.

 

If I hear otherwise, I’ll let you know.

 

I have vivid memories of Hank’s passing 25 years ago.I was working for the Detroit Tigers at the time and was in my Tiger Stadium office.

 

The newspapers called, looking for some quotes.I was the lone Jewish employee around and gave them some memories.Outside of seeing Greenberg in old films, I’d never seen him play; his last season as a player was 1947 and I only began to follow baseball a couple of years later.

 

My personal memories of Greenberg were forged in 1983, when I had the chance to talk to him prior to a doubleheader. The occasion was the retirement of Greenberg’s uniform number between games.I was on the field for the ceremony, covering the event as a photographer for a national publication and some upper management folks of the Tigers.

 

I taped our conversation. Here are some highlights:

 

COHEN: You grew up in the Bronx, not far from Yankee Stadium and not too
far from the Polo Grounds. Did you root for the Yankees or the Giants?

 

            GREENBERG: I was a Giants fan. Most of the kids were, because the Giants were the outstanding team at the time. But the Yankees were the first to scout me and they made the mistake of taking me to the ballpark to watch the team play and they gave me a seat right behind the Yankees dugout. Paul Krichell, who was then the head scout of the Yankees, showed me where Lou Gehrig was. I took one look at Gehrig and saw those shoulders and he looked like he was going to last forever.

 

Fortunately, the Detroit club was interested in me and Detroit, even back then, had a reputation of being a great baseball town. So I decided to cast my lot with the Tigers and it was a great ballpark for a right-handed hitter to hit in and it was a great baseball town.

 

COHEN: What was your parents’ reaction to your chosen occupation?

 

GREENBERG: Growing up in the Bronx with Jewish parents, they wanted me to be doctor or a dentist or a lawyer. I decided to be a ballplayer, which automatically characterized me as a bum. The neighbors used to say my parents had three nice children and one bum. But little did they realize that 40 years later the athletes [would be] the millionaires and the lawyers and the dentists and doctors are the working stiffs. I was just a little ahead of my time.

 

COHEN: Did the Giants have any interest in you?

 

GREENBERG: I tried to get a tryout with them and I was the all-scholastic first baseman for the entire city of New York but they said they saw me play and that I didn’t have a chance to make it in the big leagues. They wouldn’t even let me in the ballpark just to shag balls.

 

 


Irwin Cohen took this picture of Hank Greenberg at the

Tiger Stadium ceremony to retire Greenberg’s uniform number.

 

 

COHEN: In 1934 – your second season in the majors – you batted .339 and hit 26 home runs, helping lead the Tigers to the pennant. Was that your biggest thrill?

 

GREENBERG: I can’t say it was the biggest. We had a great infield that year. The Detroit infield played in every game except one. I played in every game except one. I played 153 games and everyone else [third baseman Marv Owen, shortstop Billy Rogell, second baseman Charlie Gehringer] played in all 154 games. And we drove in 462 [a record that still stands]. I guess the “Million Dollar Infield” of the old Philadelphia team didn’t even have half that much.

 

COHEN: You had some fantastic years. In 1937 for example, you hit 40 home runs and knocked in a staggering 183 runs while hitting .337. In 1938 you had 58 home runs. Were you disappointed you didn’t break Babe Ruth’s record?

 

GREENBERG: No. It wasn’t that much of a disappointment to me, as Babe Ruth was head and shoulders above everybody. I wasn’t in his class as a home run hitter.

 

 COHEN: You had five games to go and already had 58 home runs. What happened?

 

GREENBERG: Of the last five, two were in Detroit and three in Cleveland. The
last two – the doubleheader – they moved from old League Park to Municipal Stadium and it wasn’t very easy to hit a home run there because they didn’t have the enclosed fences in those days. You had to hit home runs into the seats.

 

Some Jewish fans still feel pitchers didn’t want a Jew to break Babe Ruth’s record.Greenberg disagreed.He felt many opposing players wanted him to break the single-season home run record, which at the time was 60.Greenberg went on to say that his 57th homer was a gift. He tried to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run andI was out by a mile at the plate but the umpire was a friend of mine and so was the catcher, who didn’t argue the call.”

 

            I can still hear Greenberg’s voice and his charismatic manner of speaking with a trace of the Bronx. Even though it’s 64 years since he played, he remains the biggest Jewish sports star of all time.


 


Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and earned a World Series ring. To read his illustrated biography on how he made it to the baseball field, send a check payable for $19.95 to Irwin Cohen, 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Michigan, 48237. Cohen, the president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

The Marlins’ Coming New Stadium And More

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

While there are great rates on fares to the Miami area this time of year, it’s not a place most people want to visit in the summer, unless, of course, they have relatives or good friends to visit or a simcha to attend.

 

Next year, however, baseball fans will have good reason to hit Miami. The Marlins, who have been playing in an open stadium that doubles for football and that offers late afternoon rain and a hot sun with very little protection from both, will have a new home.

 

The Marlins will be moving south, away from Hollywood to the site that formerly housed the Orange Bowl near downtown Miami. It will add more driving time to south Florida’s large Jewish population, but it will be worth it.

 

The stadium’s retractable roof will shield fans from sun, rain and oppressive heat. The ballpark will accommodate a cozy 37,000, and an operable wall in left field will provide spectacular views of downtown Miami. Colorful walking areas under the stands will allow baseball pedestrians to view many works of art.

 

            A large aquarium behind and on each side of home plate will remind spectators of Florida’s attractions. The big (51 feet high by 101 feet wide) high-definition scoreboard will keep fans informed and entertained.

 

 


Recent photo of the new Marlins ballpark

under construction in downtown Miami

 

 

Part art gallery and part shopping center, the ballpark will feature a very special room for us. According to Marlins vice chairman Joel Mael, the highest-ranking Orthodox Jew ever in baseball, there will be a room for davening.

 

“Our new ballpark will have the first dedicated minyan room,” Joel says. “We plan to have a regular weekday minyan for Minchah and Maariv.”

 

Kosher food will also be available. So plan on taking advantage of those summer fares to Florida in 2012.

 

*     *     *

 

You’ll be hearing a lot about Paul Goldschmidt. Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth round of the 2009 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft, Goldschmidt was signed and sent to the low Pioneer League to play first base for the rest of that season. In 287 at bats, Goldschmidt batted .334 with 18 home runs. Promoted to Visalia in the California League in 2010, Goldschmidt tore up the league (.314, 35 home runs and 108 RBI).

 

This year, Goldschmidt was promoted again to Arizona’s double-A affiliate, Mobile in the Southern League. Goldschmidt, a 6-3, 245-pound right-handed batter, became the first minor leaguer at any level to hit 20 home runs. He was on pace to hit over .300, over 40 homers, and over 100 RBI.

 

However, the Diamondbacks feel he may not need any more time in the minors. He’s that good. Now, I know what you’re thinking: a big right-handed hitting first baseman who can hit for average and power. Just like Hank Greenberg. You may be right over the course of time. However, there’s one difference. Greenberg was Jewish, Goldschmidt is not.

 

So adopt him if you will as a future star player – but not as a Jewish star player. Shel Wallman’s Jewish Sports Review is a good way to follow Jewish athletes on all levels. But, you should know that JSR identifies athletes as Jewish as long as they have one Jewish parent from either side.

 

*     *     *

 

The Red Sox started the season by losing their first six games. After 12 games they were 2 and 10. Some of you sent me e-mails asking if I still thought the BoSox would represent the American League in the World Series. I stuck with Boston then and am doing so even more now.

 

As I mentioned a few months ago, Detroit can beat the Yankees or any other American League team except Boston in the postseason. And when the dust settles in the National league, the Phillies will be standing on top.


 


 


 


Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and earned a World Series ring while working for a major league team. To read his illustrated autobiography on how an Orthodox Jew made it to the baseball field, send a check payable for $19.95 to Irwin Cohen.  Mail to 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Michigan 48237Cohen, the president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net 

Random Thoughts A Month Into The Season

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


   A local Orthodox attendance record was set at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Sunday Chol Hamoed Pesach as an estimated 500 frum fans were in the stands. They saw a good game as the Tigers downed the White Sox 3-0 on a beautiful sunny day. Seven families from my shul returned with suntans and they reported many shuls were represented in all sections of the downtown ballpark, about a 20-minute ride from my dugout.

 

*     *     *

 

   It’s great to see Cleveland have a great April. The Indians finished the month with an 18-8 record, the best record in the American League. Only the Philadelphia Phillies over in the National League matched the Indians’ record.

 

   If you want to visit a nice downtown ballpark and a nice Jewish community, take a trip to Cleveland. Only about seven miles straight up Cedar Street from the home of the Indians is Taylor Road, the main street in Cleveland Heights, hub of the Orthodox community. If you continue up Cedar, it takes you through other adjoining communities.

 

*     *     *

 

   Remember the good old days when we didn’t have to check our e-mails and people didn’t walk around with phones attached to their ears? And when we never heard of something called a “pitch count”?

 

   Pitchers were expected to finish what they started and the good ones did. In 1963 Warren Spahn was 42 years old but the great lefty enjoyed his 13th 20-win season. Amazing.

 

   Even more amazing was a game on July 2 of that year. Spahn started for the old Milwaukee Braves (for you younger fans, the Braves would move to Atlanta a couple of years later; the present-day Milwaukee Brewers wouldn’t come into being until 1970) and faced off against the great Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (who would finish the 1960s as the winningest pitcher of that decade) in San Francisco’s windy Candlestick Park.

 

   Both pitchers were still in the game, hooked up in a scoreless duel, when Willie Mays homered in the bottom of the 16th inning to tag Spahn with a 1-0 loss. Until Mays’s homer, each pitcher had yielded only eight hits.

 

*     *     *

 

   Good riddance to Manny Ramirez. As many of you know, he abruptly quit the Tampa Bay Rays when it became known that he failed his second drug test and faced a 100-game suspension.

 

   Tampa Bay overpaid him and gave him another chance after he failed in a short stint with the Chicago White Sox last season. Two years ago he wore out his welcome with the Dodgers when he failed his first test and served a 50-game suspension. Manny had a short run as a celebrity among celebrities as Hollywood became “Mannywood.”

 

   Ramirez quit with a .312 lifetime average, 2,574 career hits and 555 career homers. Who knows how many of Manny’s round-trippers were performance-enhanced? There should, however, be a separate wing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for the steroid stars. They were great players and would still have been great without the added pump.

 

*     *     *

 

   I still can’t believe Andy Pettitte retired with a 240-138 career record. I thought the 38-year-old Pettitte would come back in May or June and try to win 10 games to reach 250 victories, giving him a much better shot at the Hall of Fame. His career ERA over 16 seasons is a pretty fair 3.88.

 

*     *     *

 

   Bengie Molina is the only player to be traded during the season and then face the team from whom he was traded in the World Series. Molina, who ended 2010 with the Texas Rangers, received two World Series rings. The veteran catcher has a silver ring for being on the losing team (Texas) and a gold one for being with San Francisco for the first few months of the season.

 

*     *     *

 

   When will Ichiro Suzuki reach 3,000 career hits? The steady 37-year-old Seattle outfielder, who’s had ten straight seasons of more than 200 hits, started this season with a career average of .331 and 2,244 hits.

 

   Ichiro got a late start in the majors as he starred in Japan’s big leagues before coming to this side of the ocean. Besides the bat, Ichiro can beat you with his speed, glove and arm. He’s a certain Hall of Famer.

 

 

   To order Irwin Cohen’s book on how an Orthodox Jew got into the baseball field, send a check for $19.95, payable to Irwin Cohen, 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Mi 48237. Cohen, president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, can be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/random-thoughts-a-month-into-the-season-2/2011/05/11/

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