Posts Tagged ‘Buddy Myer’


Hold on to your money (Guy Zinn)

Posted on: December 26th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

Last week I posted about a rare Guy Zinn baseball card and the battle between buyer and seller, as reported in The New York Times. That piece of paper was rendered even more vauable because of Zinn’s supposedly Jewish religion.

I hope that guy didn’t sign the check yet because there are some question circulating about that aspect.

Bob Wechsler, author of Day by Day in Jewish Sports History, is at the forefront of digging when something like this comes up. In a recent entry to the Yahoo Jewish Sports Collectors group, Wechsler wrote

http://www.spikerfamily.com/files/resized/244181/500;688;f3852d84bd695a624f23a948954a1edbf9174ef9.jpgLast week’s New York Times article on the Guy Zinn card got some of us wondering again about the sketchy information identifying Zinn as Jewish.

I wrote to the Baseball Hall of Fame library, and they sent me a scan of Zinn’s biographical questionnaire (see attached). He is listed as a German-Jew. As far as I know, this is the ONLY known reference to Zinn being Jewish.

I also noticed that the form was not filled out by Zinn himself (because it includes death information), but by a Mrs. E.W. (Jean) Talley of Louisiana. Talley is Guy Zinn’s daughter.

We received a note at jewishbaseballmuseum.com from an Elaine Hirschberg, who read the N.Y. Times article and became interested in Zinn’s background. She has spent the week diligently doing research on ancestry.com and came up with the following findings:

I am certain that Guy’s mother’s ancestors and Guy’s paternal mother’s ancestors are all Christians from England/Wales who arrived in America 400 years ago plus.
I am certain that Guy’s father’s paternal ancestors were all Christians from Germany when they arrived in America 400 plus years ago.

New info: Guy’s sister Wilma was married on Christmas Eve by a Methodist Minister in the parsonage. Guy’s grandfather Quilly Manley Zinn is buried with family member in the Oxford Cemetery next to the Baptist church.

Who is Mrs. E.W. Talley (Jean) who either signed the form from Baseball Hall of Fame Research dept or gave the info? Important note- there is no date on this form. When was the information given?

She is Jean Zinn, Guy’s daughter. She lived with him as an infant. He also has a son Guy Zinn Jr. who died young, at age 26 and he had one daughter who died at age 2. Guy Zinn Jr. has no living children.

Jean Zinn was married at least 4 times, to a Talkington, a Hanson, Emmett William Talley and a Ronn. She married Hanson in 1949, don’t know when they divorced. She divorced EW Talley in 1973 so that slightly narrows down when the Baseball form was filled out. She may have divorced Hanson in the 50’s or 60’s, married Talley in the 50’s or 60’s and divorced him in 1973. Don’t know. Jean had one son as far as I can tell. He died in 2012. As far as I can tell he had no children. Jean possibly has no living children or grandchildren.

I have NO idea why Jean said her father’s descent was German-Jew. But she, or someone on her behalf put it on that form. I’d be curious when the information was given and if that is the only piece of paper that contains that information.
Many Americans think they have Native American ancestry until they take their DNA test and realize it was just a family legend.

A mystery, to me anyway.

And from an earlier email:

Guy had two children (his daughter’s son is buried in military cemetery with a Christian cross on his headstone) and I will do some more research on them but it’s important to note that by the 1920 census Guy Zinn’s wife was already living separately from him. She is living with her parents and the two children who were 9 and 10 at that time. Not knowing when they separated, it’s possible the children spent little time with him as youngsters and it’s possible they didn’t know him at all. Especially with him being on the road playing baseball from 1911-1915.

About five years ago I wrote a blog about the Zinn card going on eBay at a price of $250,000. The Spiker family of West Virginia linked the blog on the family history website. I read the diary of the family matriarch, and it was full of Christian quotations. The web manager said the family was puzzled by the Jewish reference, but Guy Zinn was a distant cousin on the other side of the family with which they had little contact. Last night I wrote back to the web manager with newer information and am awaiting a reply.

Anyway, what do you think? Do we keep Zinn on the list, take him off, or hope some other clue appears down the road?

An awful lot of fuss for a Guy (heh) who played just about 60 games a year over five seasons ( and two of those were in the Federal League).

Thanks, Bob, for doing the yeoman’s work on this.

Reminds me of the “Buddy Myer case.” He was a pretty good little second baseman mostly for the Washington Senators from 1925-41 (with two season spent on the Red Sox). Here’s what I wrote about him in a previous entry concerning the dubious identity of hockey player Andre Burakovsky of the Washington Capitals earlier this year. Seems Andrea was staring to take exception over being considered a Jew and vehemently denied it on Twitter. Anyway, about Myer:

Buddy Myer was a major leaguer for almost 20 years, mostly with the Washington Senators. People assumed he was Jewish because of his name (and you know what happens when you ass-u-me). Sportswriters identified him thus. He’s included in several books about Jews and the national pastime and was even inducted in the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Myer, who is interred in a Christian cemetery, never thought to deny it, thinking it would make him look bad or some such thing. In fact, at one point the family did have Jewish roots, but they converted out of the faith either before he was born or when he was just a lad.

http://bbcard1.com/double/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/41dp_073-074.jpgOne of those sportswriter was Shirley Povich, who worked for the Washington Post for 70 years. Following  a game between the Senators and Yankees in which Myer was intentionally spiked by Ben Chapman, an unrepentant bigot, Povich wrote that “Chapman cut a swastika with his spikes on Myer’s thigh.” It had always been assumed that it was because the second baseman was a Jew and it didn’t help clear things up that Myer never denied it. So for years he was considered one of the greatest Jewish players and included in books about Jewish athletes. He’s even an inductee to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Israel.

First Buddy Myer and now this…

Posted on: May 3rd, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

(Actually, where’s Andre? As in Burakovsky, the Washington Capitals left-winger.)

http://www.jewishsports.net/BioImages/bookA_Page_016_Image_0002.jpgBuddy Myer was a major leaguer for almost 20 years, mostly with the Washington Senators. People assumed he was Jewish because of his name (and you know what happens when you ass-u-me). Sportswriters identified him thus. He’s included in several books about Jews and the national pastime and was even inducted in the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Myer, who is interred in a Christian cemetery, never thought to deny it, thinking it would make him look bad or some such thing. In fact, at one point the family did have Jewish roots, but they converted out of the faith either before he was born or when he was just a lad.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve received several emails suggesting I remove Andre Burakovsky from the Jice roles because of his emphatic Tweets in which he claims he’s not now or has he or his parents ever been Jewish.

http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/andre-burakovsky-first-nhl-goal-smile.jpegBurakovsky had been identified by JSR as a MOT. They pitch a wide tent, as we say in the office, meaning there’s a more liberal POV when it comes to inclusion than what you might expect from other sources (not the least of which is halachic tradition of matrilineal descent). In fact, they make no bones about it when they state “The Jewish Sports Review is NOT a religious journal.”

According to their mission statement, JSR “[V]erifies and ‘fact checks’ the Jewish background of every athlete listed…” Further explanation of their methods:

When an athlete’s name appears in all capital letters, it means that he/she has been identified to us as a Jew. For JSR‘s purposes, an athlete is Jewish if they have at least one Jewish parent [my emphasis], do not practice another faith and identify ethnically as a Jew. An athlete with at least one Jewish parent is excluded only if they were raised in or converted to another faith or express a disinclination to be included in JSR.

That’s always been good enough for me.

But somewhere along the way there was miscommunication. In several email exchanges, the editors of JSR and others whom I consider my “sports rabbis” on such issues have maintained their opinio in the face of these new revelations.

So what do we do about this? All the research that might point to the contrary notwithstanding, do we continue to hold Burakovsky “hostage,” regardless of his importunings? After all, it’s his life. Shouldn’t he be free to make that determination? Or, as gruesome history has claimed, does one drop of Jewish blood makes one a Jew, regardless of level of observation?

Are Jewish sports fans so desperate that we can’t conceive of giving up “one of our own?”

Thoughts? Please feel free to leave a comment on the site.

A few thoughts on erev Rosh Hashana baseball (with update)

Posted on: October 3rd, 2011 by Ron Kaplan

(See bottom for the update.)

Erev Rosh Hashana was some night for the baseball. Both Wild Cards were decided on Wednesday night, keeping the interest of at least the fans of those six teams up to the last minute.

The Red Sox blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles to lose, 4-3. Their only hope was that the AL Eastern Division champions Yankees could hold on to a 7-0 lead against the Rays with two innings left to play, which would for a one game play-in with Tampa.

But in the bottom of the eighth, Sam Fuld entered the game as pinch hitter and walked with the bases loaded to get the ball rolling with the first of Tampa’s six runs.  He subsequently score and remained in the game in right field. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Fuld was lifted for pinch-hitter Dan Johnson, a .119 batter in 2011. In what may just be his career-highlight, Johnson hit a game-tying run home run. The Rays won the game in the 12th on a line-drive home run by Evan Longoria minutes after the result of the Red Sox-Orioles game was posted on the scoreboard. Pandemonium!

So Kevin Youkilis had no chance to come back from injuries to post-season heroics. I just hope he wasn’t a part of the whole mess that provoked Tito Francona to step down as manager (or not) and has general manager Theo Epstein considering a change in venue as well.

By the way, rookie pitcher Michael Schwimer was not included on the Phillies post-season roster. Not much of a surprise.

Ryan Braun and Scott Feldman and Ian Kinsler were already in the post-season, since the Brewers and Rangers were division champs.

Speaking of Braun, what do you think of Jose Reyes? Going into the Mets’ last game last Wednesday, he decides — not manager Terry Collins — that if he got a hit in his first at bat, he was going to come out of the game in an effort to win the NL batting title. Not a great way to potentially end the relationship with NY if he does decide to sign with another team as a free agent. Like if he had finished second in the batting race to Braun, he it would have cost him millions of dollars.

I had some back and forth with some of my Facebook friends, some thought he was justified in his decision.  Others called him a lot of bad names I can’t repeat here. The blogosphere in general was abuzz with opinions on both sides.

Braun missed the title by five points, .337 to .332. On the penultimate day, they were separated by less than two points. Reyes got his hit and sat. Braun, who would have been the second Jewish batting champion (Lou Boudreau won the AL title with a .327 mark in 1944), went 0-4.  He took the high road when asked about Reyes, saying he had no problem with what the Mets’ shortstop had done and that he had had plenty of opportunities to do it on his own, but just came up short.

UPDATE: Bob “Day by Day in Jewish Sports History” Wechsler pointed out that Buddy Myer, who enjoyed a 17-year career with the Washington Senators, won the AL batting crown in 1935 with a mark of .329.


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