American Jews and America's Game


American Jews and America's Game

Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball

Larry Ruttman
Foreword by Bud Selig
Introduction by Martin Abramowitz

544 pages
75 photographs, 3 illustrations


March 2015


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eBook (EPUB)
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August 2018


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April 2013


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eBook (PDF)
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April 2013


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About the Book

Most fans don’t know how far the Jewish presence in baseball extends beyond a few famous players such as Greenberg, Rosen, Koufax, Holtzman, Green, Ausmus, Youkilis, Braun, and Kinsler. In fact, that presence extends to the baseball commissioner Bud Selig, labor leaders Marvin Miller and Don Fehr, owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Stuart Sternberg, officials Theo Epstein and Mark Shapiro, sportswriters Murray Chass, Ross Newhan, Ira Berkow, and Roger Kahn, and even famous Jewish baseball fans like Alan Dershowitz and Barney Frank. 

The life stories of these and many others, on and off the field, have been compiled from nearly fifty in-depth interviews and arranged by decade in this edifying and entertaining work of oral and cultural history. In American Jews and America’s Game each person talks about growing up Jewish and dealing with Jewish identity, assimilation, intermarriage, future viability, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel. Each tells about being in the midst of the colorful pantheon of players who, over the past seventy-five years or more, have made baseball what it is. Their stories tell, as no previous book has, the history of the larger-than-life role of Jews in America’s pastime.

Author Bio

Larry Ruttman, a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is the author of Voices of Brookline. 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.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Allan H. "Bud" Selig
Introduction by Martin Abramowitz

The 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


Named the #1 baseball book of 2013 by Sports Collectors Digest
2013 ForeWord Book of the Year finalist in Sports

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