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American Jews and America's Game


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These stories tell, as no previous book has, the history of the larger-than-life role of Jews in America's pastime.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Allan H. "Bud" Selig
Introduction by Martin AbramowitzThe 1930s
Henry "Hank" Greenberg: Hall of Fame Infielder and Outfielder, Revealing the Survival of American Judaism Generation by Generation
The 1940s
Thelma "Tiby" Eisen and Anita Foss: Baseball Players and Pioneers for Women's Rights, in a League of Their Own
Dr. Martin Abramowitz: Originator of Jewish Major Leaguers Baseball Cards
Barney Frank: Fan and Congressman
The 1950s
Al Rosen: First-Ever Unanimous Most Valuable Player Selection, the Luckiest Jew Alive
Alan Dershowitz: From Avi the Bum and Ballplayer to Alan the Professor, Defender, and Civil Libertarian
Sol Gittleman: First-Generation Jewish American, Realizing the American Dream
Howard Goldstein, Esquire: Jewish Baseball Memorabilia Collector, Preserving Memory Jewish-Style
Roger Kahn: Author of the Classic Baseball Book The Boys of Summer
The 1960s
Sandy Koufax: Pitcher Nonpareil and Perfect Gentleman
Murray Chass: Hall of Fame New York Times Scribe
Ira Berkow: New York Times Journalist, Author, Pulitzer Prize Winner, and Jewish Son
Rabbi Michael Paley: Unorthodox Orthodox Rabbi
Art Shamsky: Hank Greenberg Redux
Ross Newhan and David Newhan: Hall of Fame Sports Scribe and Major League Baseball Player, Father and Son
The 1970s
Marvin Miller: Baseball Game Changer and Former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association
Ken Holtzman: Winningest Jewish Major League Pitcher Ever, Observant Jew
Ronald Shapiro and Mark Shapiro: Father and Son, the Merging of Judaism into America
Ron Blomberg: Designated Hebrew
Marty Appel: Former New York Yankees Public Relations Director
Joel Mael: Vice Chairman of the Florida Marlins, Orthodox Jew
Elliott Maddox: Major League Outfielder, Black Convert to Judaism
The 1980s
Donald Fehr: Former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association
Jerry Reinsdorf: Owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls
Steve Hertz: Major League Infielder, Legendary College Coach
Al Clark: Longtime Major League Umpire, Fallen and Redeemed
The 1990s
Allan H. "Bud" Selig: Innovative and Controversial Commissioner of Major League Baseball
Jeffrey Maier: Fan and Tenth Player
Andrew Zimbalist: Baseball's Economist
Leon Feingold: Israel Baseball League Player of the Year, Jewish Physical and Mental Giant
Alan Schwarz: New York Times Columnist and Author
Marvin Goldklang: Multiple Minor League Team Owner and Baseball Man of Influence
Brad Ausmus: Gold Glove Catcher
Randy Levine: President of the New York Yankees
The 2000s
Theo Epstein: The Youngest General Manager in Major League Baseball History
Gabe Kapler: Major League Outfielder and Minor League Manager
Craig Breslow: Major League Relief Pitcher, Yale University Graduate
Jeffrey Gurock: Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, Orthodox Jew, and Sportsman
Stuart Sternberg: From Canarsie to Tampa Bay by Way of Wall Street
Kevin Youkilis: Euclis, the Greek God of Walks
The 2010s
Darren Harrison-Panis: On Course to Be a Major League Baseball Owner
"Superman" Sam Fuld: Outfielder Nonpareil
Ian Kinsler: Major League All-Star Second Baseman
Selected Bibliography

About the Author

Larry Ruttman, Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is the author of Voices of Brookline, a national finalist for the Award of Merit of the American Association of State and Local History. He has practiced law in Boston for more than fifty years and produces and hosts a television interview show in his hometown of Brookline, Massachusetts.


"This book of intimate and revealing conversations with Jews who care passionately about baseball is a surprise and delight... In the tradition of Studs Terkel, Ruttman's warm and folksy style lets us feel like we're in the room with them as they share their thoughts and feelings about Judaism, baseball, and life. It's a great read. Ruttman has a gift for bringing people out and the results are fabulous." - Rabbi Rebecca T. Alpert, associate professor of religion at Temple University and author of Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball "There may well be more books about Jews and baseball than there are Jews who played professional baseball. But this one is different. Here baseball's most interesting Jews speak in their own words about their lives, their love of the game, and above all about their Judaism. Informative, inspiring, historically significant and a pleasure to read, this is a book that anybody who cares about America's game or America's Jews will cherish." - Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History "American Jews and America's Game is a highly accessible book about the game America's Jews love to love. The author allows his subjects great latitude to comment on their Jewishness and their association with the game. The interviewees range from baseball's best to ordinary fans, united around their faith and favorite sport. This is an enjoyable read." - Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel and the first Commissioner of the Israel Baseball League "The historian Jacques Barzun was right when he said, 'Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.' Larry Ruttman knows that too, and that is why I chose to write this Foreword to his book American Jews and America's Game. His stories cover almost one hundred years of American history and the place of American Jews in that history... This is a book that celebrates family - baseball's, yours, and mine." - from the foreword by Allan H. "Bud" Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball "[These] stories are a unique mix of baseball and reflection on [the interviewees'] lives as Jews... These interviewees are for the most part conscious of the fact that although [their] values do in fact have roots in Judaism, they are also deeply rooted in the best of America's culture and the American self-image." - from the introduction by Martin Abramowitz, President of Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc. "American Jews And America's Game is as much cultural history as it is baseball, and there is nothing quite comparable." - Sol Gittleman, Tufts University former provost and professor, and author of Reynolds, Raschi and Lopat: New York's Big Three and the Great Yankee Dynasty of 1949-1953

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