Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category


Maccabiah Update

Posted on: November 27th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

It’s been a while since I posted any news about the Maccabi sports movement, including the Maccabiah Games. Here’s an attempt to remedy.

You can see that the Maccabi movement in Great Britain is very active. One of my regrets during my recent trip to England was not being able to visit them, as well as missing out on the British Baseball Federation. Oh, well, maybe next time.

Finally, On December 9…


You can’t click on the image to access the page, so just drop them an email or call ’em up.

Here’s a piece from the NJ Jewish News I wrote about Jeff Bukantz and other locals who participated in the 2013 Games. I know there are other stories about JB, including a discussion of his book about his dad, Daniel, himself a fencing legend, but unfortunately they don’t appear to be on the NJJN website.

And finally, finally, some shameless self-promotion: if you are interested in having me speak to your synagogue or group about my book, The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games (or any of my other books for that matter), drop me a line and let’s chat.

Image result for kaplan, jewish olympics


Welcome back, Brad

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Image result for brad ausmusBrad Ausmus returns to the ranks of field generals in baseball. He was named as skipper of the LA Angels, replacing long-time manager Mike Soscia who had ben with the team since 2000.

Ausmus, 49, led the Detroit Tigers for four seasons (2014-17). He took the team to the post-season in his rookie year, but was eliminated in the LDS series. Some say that his initial campaign was a success (90-72) because he inherited a good squad from his predecessor, Jim Leland. Ausmus finished under .500 in two of the next three years. He served in the front office of the Angels as a special assistant to the general manager.

As a player, Ausmus — primarily a catcher — enjoyed an 18-year career with the Houston Astros, LA Dodgers, Tigers, and San Diego Padres. He appeared in a JML-leading 1,971 games and finished with marks of .251 batting average, 80 home runs, and 607 runs batted in.

Ausmus was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. In a 2009 article published by the Jewish Journal  of Greater Los Angeles, Ausmus — who also managed the Israeli National Team in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in 2013 — said, “I have had quite a few young Jewish boys who will tell me that I am their favorite player, or they love watching me play or they feel like baseball is a good fit for them because it worked for me, or it worked for Shawn Green or other Jewish players at the Major League level. It has been a sense of pride. If you can have a positive impact on a kid, I’m all for it.”

Image result for brad ausmus israel

Shameless self-promotion: Upcoming Hank Greenberg events

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

I’ve been looking to participate in Gelf Magazine’s “Varsity Letters” program for years. The dream comes true July 24. Hope to see you there. Here are the details:

Varsity Letters logo Baseball Night

Varsity Letters is back at The Gallery at Le Poisson Rouge on Monday, July 24, with four authors of recently released books about baseball:

• Sports Illustrated writer Jay Jaffe, author of The Cooperstown Casebook: Who’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Who Should Be In, and Who Should Pack Their Plaques

Ron Kaplan, author of Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War

• MLB.com executive reporter Mark Feinsand, author of The New York Yankees Fans’ Bucket List

• Faith and Fear in Flushing blogger Greg Prince, author of Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star

Graphics by Mister Lister.

Event Details:

The Gallery at LPR (Official site, map)
158 Bleecker St. (between Sullivan St. and Thompson St.)
New York, NY 10012
Blocks from ACE/BDF/MNR/1/6 trains

Doors open at 7.
Event starts at 7:30.
There is no admission charge.
Attendees must be 21 or older, as per Le Poisson Rouge rules. (Email varsityletters@gmail.com if you are under 21 and would like to attend. The farther in advance, the better; no guarantees.)

Baseball Hall of FameThen, on August 16 at 1 p.m., I’ll be serving as “closer” for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Annual “Author’s Series.” From the Hall’s announcement:

Our Authors Series brings noted baseball authors to Cooperstown for special lectures and book signings during the summer months. These programs are included with the cost of admission.

On Wednesday, August 16th at 1pm, the Hall of Fame will welcome author Ron Kaplan as he talks about his new book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

From his first day in the big leagues, Hank Greenberg dealt with persecution for being Jewish. The Hall of Famer always did his best to shut out the bigotry, but in 1938, that would prove more difficult then he could have imagined.

Author Ron Kaplan examines Greenberg’s 1938 season in incredible detail. While Greenberg was battling at the plate, the Jewish people overseas were dealing with a humanitarian crisis. Adolf Hitler had taken direct control of the country’s military in February of 1938 and then began a methodic takeover of all neighboring countries, spreading Nazism and the Holocaust.

Hank Greenberg in 1938 chronicles the events of 1938, both on the diamond and in the streets of Europe. As Greenberg took aim at Babe Ruth’s home run record, Hitler’s “Final Solution” was beginning to take shape. Jews across the United States, worried about the issues overseas, looked to Greenberg as a symbol of hope. Though normally hesitant to speak about the anti-Semitism he dealt with, Greenberg knew that he was batting for so many of his own people, particularly those living with life and death on the European continent.

The program includes a presentation in the Bullpen Theater, followed by a book signing in the Library Atrium. Presentation at 1 pm. Book signing at 1:30 pm.

For more information call (607) 547-0362.

Yes, the NFL draft is over, but wait — there’s more.

Posted on: May 4th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Adam Bisnowaty, an offensive lineman from Pitt, was the only Jewish player selected in the recent NFL draft (sixth round by the NY Giants), but that doesn’t mean he was the only Jew signed.

As stated in a previous entry, the NY Jets snatched up former Washington State University wide receiver Gabe Marks immediately after the last round. Bob Wechsler, author of Day by Day in Jewish Sports History and constant source for the Korner, wrote to let us know that three more MOTs put their name on the dotted line (is it really dotted anymore?). They are:


Image result for Anthony Firkser Image result for Brandon Kublanow Svmmpeehjpsxandzkbuz
Anthony Firsker Brandon Kublanow Mitchel Kirsch

If Firsker makes it, he would join QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in what would have to be a relatively small club of Harvard alums on the same team. Only 38 players from that school have played in the NFL.

It’s up to you, Bisnowaty and Marks

Posted on: May 1st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Adam BisnowatyIf they can make it there, they can make it anywhere. I’m talking about Adam Bisnowaty and Gabe Marks, a couple of  landsmen who were signed by the New York teams over the weekend.

Bisnowaty, a 6’6″ and 304 pound offensive lineman from Pitt, was the final pick by the New York Giants and 202nd overall selection. He went in the sixth round, which was held on Saturday.

From NFL.com:

Four-year starter with plenty of toughness. Appeared to struggle with an athletic decline in 2016, which could be due to his injury history.

In a phone booth, Bisnowaty can handle himself with pure brawn and power, but once he’s forced to play in space, his athletic limitations become more pronounced. He’ll likely have to move to the right side, but athletic opponents will always cause him problems. His ceiling could be as a low-end starter while his floor is fighting for a roster spot within a couple of years.

Washington State Cougars wide receiver Gabe Marks (9).Wide receiver Marks signed with the New York Jets following his record-setting career with the Washington State Cougars. Although he was not selected in the draft, the Jets must have thought enough of him to grab him immediately after the final selection had been made.

According to a story in the Seattle Times, Marks went undrafted because, among other things, NFL teams thought his PAC-12 statistics were “inflated” and he lacked “standout measureables.” In other words, the “undersized” Marks (5’11”, 189 pounds) was ranked lower than a lot of other wide receivers.

Here’s hoping they both make it. That way there will always be a MOT at the Meadowlands.

JML update, games of April 25, 2017

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Mazel of the Day: Ian Kinsler was 4-for-5 with a double, four runs scored (including one on a wild pitch), and two RBIs as the Detroit Tigers (11-8) scored nine times in the fifth en route to crushing the visiting Seattle Mariners, 19-9. The teams combined for 40 hits, two of those courtesy of Danny Valencia who came into the game for the Mariners  (8-13) in the third inning as a pinch-runner for rightfielder Mitch Haniger, who sustained an injury diving back to first on a pick-off play. Valencia remained in the game and went 2-for-2 — including his first home run of the year — plus two walks so he gets half a mazel for stepping in and stepping up.

Anti-mazel: Scott Feldman is reverting to his Jekyll and Hyde pitching persona, going back and forth between good and bad performances. This was the bad one: Feldman allowed four runs on five hits and five walks (he also struck out five) in a 9-1 loss to the host Milwaukee Brewers. On the bright side, none of the hits was a home run. Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 with a strikeout by Feldman. Almost surprised to see him back given the three foul balls he hit off his foot the day before. The Reds fall to 10-11 following a surprisingly strong start. The Brewers even their season record at 11-11.

Kevin Pillar hit his first triple of the year, his only hit in five at-bats (he also walked). He scored twice and drove in a run with that triple in amazing fashion (see below) in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-5, 11-inning win over the host St. Louis Cardinals. The Jays improve to 6-14.

Alex Bregman singled in four at-bats as the Houston Astros (14-6) beat the host Cleveland Indians, 4-2.

Craig Breslow gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth inning for the Minnesota Twins (10-10) who beat the host Texas Rangers, 8-1.

Joc Pederson remains on the DL for the LA Dodgers, who beat the host San Francisco Giants, 2-1.

In other JML “news,” Ron Blomberg, the first designated hitter in the Majors, was the subject of this “Four Questions” interview by the Atlanta Jewish News. Blomberg is scheduled to speak at the 14th annual JNF Atlanta Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast on Yom HaAtzmaut, Tuesday, May 2, at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North in Sandy Springs.

Ron Blomberg, left, with Ron Kaplan

The two Rons. Blomberg, left, and Kaplan at Yankees Fantasy Camp in 2009.


We have lift-off! ‘Hank Greenberg’ launches today

Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Shameless self-promotion alert: Happy to announce that Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War officially launched at midnight.

There’s a separate page on this blog for news about the book. I’ll be posting links to events, interviews, and reviews (both favorable and un-; already received one of the latter from someone who was disappointed that a) it wasn’t a full biography although I think that should be pretty much obvious from the title; and b) there weren’t enough pages).

A reminder: I will be at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse next Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. Click here for more details and to RSVP.

Bergino Baseball Clubhouse

Be there or be square: My gig at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse

Posted on: April 17th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Pleased to be making a second trip to the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan.

I’ll be there on Wednesday, May 3, at 7.p.m., to discuss Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, with Bergino proprietor and friend to authors Jay Goldberg.

I’d love to see you there. Please visit here to RSVP for guaranteed seating in this intimate setting.




Brooklyn Nets welcome Cuban’s Mavericks for ‘Jewish Heritage Game’

Posted on: January 31st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

The Brooklyn Nets will host their annual Jewish Heritage game on Sunday, March 19, at noon. The opponents are the Dallas Mavericks, owned by landsman Mark Cuban. I have no idea what the giveaway is. Is it a scarf? A mezuzzah. Can that be kosher?

You can find more details here.


JML Update: Scott Feldman signs with Reds

Posted on: January 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 28: Scott Feldman #46 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Minnesota Twins on August 28, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)Scott Feldman signed with the Cincinnati Reds yesterday for an estimated $2.3 million, so you can stop worrying about the tallest Jewish Major Leaguer to come out of Hawaii.

Felman is one of those infuriating pitchers, brilliant one day, horrible the next. Hard to believe, but he’s been around for a dozen seasons, and has only a 73-77 record to show for it. His best season came in 2009 when he had a record of 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA and 189.2 innings pitched. He had a decent 2016 for the Houston Astros before being traded midway to the Toronto Blue Jays, who couldn’t seem to find the right spot for him, using him in the bullpen with mediocre results. Then again, he did sustain some injuries over the past couple of years that put him on the shelf for awhile. Still, he’s no Jon Moscot.

In other JML news:






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