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Posts Tagged ‘Hank Greenberg’

 

JFL Update, Week 4

Posted on: October 3rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

https://kckingdom.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/220/files/2013/12/7694520.jpgThe Kansas City Chiefs remain unbeaten (4-0) after field goal with four seconds left on the clock sealed the deal in a 23-20 win over the visiting Washington Redskins. Mitchell Schwartz was the starting right tackle and played on all 76 offensive downs plus another six on special teams. The Chiefs have the highest score differential with +43 and a large part of the credit has to go to the offensive line.

Ali Marpet was the starting center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and appeared on all 64 offensive downs as the Bucs (2-1) beat the struggling and visiting NY Giants, 23-20 in overtime. With the Giants at 0-4, largely in part to a sluggish offense, why not promote Adam Bisnowaty from the practice squad? What could it hurt?

Nate Ebner made another tackle as part of the New England Patriots’ special teams unit, but it didn’t prevent them from losing 33-30 to the visiting Carolina Panthers. Ebner was on the field for 22 plays, 79 percent of the Pats’ defensive time.

As mentioned in previous entries, I don’t really follow the college gridiron but I make an exception for the exceptional QB Josh Rosen, who beat visiting Colorado on Yom Kippur, 27-23. Rosen threw for 372 yards and one touchdown as UCLA broke a two-game losing streak to move to a 3-2 record. Did Rosen fast, as some other Jewish college players have in the past? Don’t know. But Noah Seligman post this piece about former Wisconsin Badger fullback Matt Bernstein, who had a career day while recovering from his fast in 2004. Gabe Carimi did that, too

Of course, it’s probably harder for football players to take off for the Day of Atonement than any other sport. I can’t do the math, but between the college and pro ranks, most games take place Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (yes, I know about Monday Night Football — which are played on both Mondays and Thursdays now), so there’s only a few days it could actually be a conflict. On the other hand, since there are much fewer games than other sports, each one can have a major impact on the outcome of the season. Where you play on the field can make a difference, too. I did a story for the NJ Jewish News several years ago about a Jewish punter who said he felt pressure to play on Yom Kippur because there were no real substitutes for his position.

Not a football issue, but Omri Casspi choose to sit out of the pre-season opener for his new NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, because it fell on the holy day. Not exactly taking as dramatic a stand like Koufax (first game of 1965 World Series) and Greenberg (during a tight pennant race in 1934), but it’s better than all the Jewish Major Leaguers did as their season wound to a close.

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.

Honorable Menschen: My night at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse

Posted on: May 23rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

For me, it’s like being a two-time MVP. I had the chance to speak again at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan on May 3 to talk about Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War. Jay Goldberg is a true friend of baseball writers, giving them a chance to discuss their work with an audience that is always welcoming and whip smart when it comes to the game.

It’s also nice to reconnect with old friends and Bergino regulars like author and educator Lee Lowenfish and Perry Barber, a professional umpire and former Jeopardy winner. Perry presented me with t-shirts she had made bearing the book’s cover, a very sweet gesture. And Jay gave me a goodie bag that rivaled those handed out at the Academy Awards as far as I’m concerned. Oscars are a dime a dozen, but I’m willing to bet cash money that none of those people has an official Bergino bobblehead, so there.

Meeting and greeting

With Jay, left, and Lee

With Perry

 

Honorable menschen: ‘Hank Greenberg in 1938’ at Bergino

Posted on: May 5th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Had a grand old time in my return visit to the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, Jay Goldberg, proprietor, to discuss the new book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

Goldberg is a real mensch and a friend to the author. He holds these “salons” frequently and the audience that shows up is always welcoming, knowledgeable, and inquisitive (if sometimes challenging in the question-and-answer portion of the program).

Happy to say it was standing room only with new friends and old ones such as Perry Barber, a professional umpire and former Jeopardy champion, and Lee Lowenfish, educator and author of several baseball books including the award-winning Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman.

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Not only did we sell out of books, but I came away with some lovely parting gifts. I feel like I want to write another baseball book just so I can go back to Bergino.

You can get an idea of the festivities from this video, which for the sake of brevity (and bandwidth) edits out a lot of the great Q&A:

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Shameless self-promotion once again

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Sorry, but you have to strike while the iron is hot…

I’m not much for self-promotion, but the older I get, the less I care what people think of me.

That said, if anyone is looking for a guest on their baseball, Jewish, or Jewish sports-related show/podcast/article/etc., in the words of one of the lesser-known Beatles songs, “You Know My Name (Look up The Number).” One of the unfortunate aspects of the story is that some of the problems that plagued the U.S. and the world in 1938 have returned. So maybe I shouldn’t be smiling here.

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

Let the interviews begin (shameless-self promotion)

Posted on: April 19th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Had a couple this morning about the Greenberg book, one with WKNY in Kingston, NY, and this, from WKLB-FM in Lafayette, Louisiana.

I wonder what the Jewish population is down there?

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When Jackie Robinson ‘met’ Hank Greenberg

Posted on: February 10th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

When jackie Robinson met Hank GreenbergThis year marks the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major league debut. Which means it’s also the 70th anniversary of the game in which he collided at first base with Hank Greenberg, playing in his final season with the Pittsburgh Pirates an ignominious release by the Detroit Tigers with which he had a Hall of Fame career. Good timing when it comes to a little shameless self-promotion in that the incident comprises a full chapter in my forthcoming book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

I won’t go into all that here. For one thing, Paul Guggenheimer does a nice job of recapping the story in this piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; suffice it to say that Greenberg had rachmones for Robinson. For another, it gives me the chance to urge you to buy the book.

It’s in the final production stages, having gone through several rounds of editing and the insertion of the index and photos. Nothing for me to do now but wait for all the bags of money to roll in (that’s a joke, son). There are a few interviews and appearances in the works, so that’s nice. Always an exciting time for an author and it passes way too quickly.

Sadly, there’s no photo of Greenberg and Robinson together, at least none of which I’m aware. If you know of one, I’d love to hear about it.

Perfect timing for a little SSP (Hank Greenberg project)

Posted on: January 2nd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

(As in “shameless self-promotion.”) Actually yesterday would have been the perfect time as it would have been Hank Greenberg‘s 106th birthday. Considering that Tyrus Wong, illustrator for the classic Walt Disney flick Bambi, recently died at that age, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Hammerin’ Hank could still be with us.

As you may know, my new book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, is due out on April 4. As the title states, it focuses on that one season during which Greenberg was within a few long foul balls from wresting the single season home run record of 60 away from Babe Ruth. Ruth had set the mark in 1927, but there was no pressure, no competition: if he broke his former record, well and good. If not, no big deal. He was enjoying a fun ride.

But as Ruth grew into a fat old man, a new generation of sluggers — Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Rudy York, and Greenberg — were poised to usurp his place in the record books, although no one could replace him as a legendary character and the man who many credit with “saving” the game following the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Those guys felt the pressure, especially from journalists hungry for sensational story lines. And as the season wore on and time was running out, that pressure built even more.

Of course, baseball was just a minor matter compared with what was going on in Europe. Hitler was creating bigger headlines every day as he stepped up his goal of world domination. The book compares and contrasts, using Greenberg and Judaism as the focal points (not all the anti-Semites were in Germany).

Hank Greenberg in 1938 is entering the home stretch now, having gone through a couple of rounds of edits before the proofreading, followed by the bound galleys or ‘arcs’ (advanced reader copies) which will be sent to reviewers in advance of the release date.

With a couple of books in the bank, I know enough to both enjoy the bustle and excitement of the weeks ahead as well as not having grand expectations that this will wind up on the New York Times‘ best-seller list. (No false modesty, just keepin’ it real.) Anyway, it keeps me busy and from being too depressed about not having a full-time job yet.

 

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When Hank ‘met’ Jackie

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

I just finished the first round of edits on the manuscript for my forthcoming book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War (scheduled for release April 4, 2017. Just sayin’.)

The last chapter deals with Greenberg’s final playing season as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947. There’s a famous incident in which he had occasion to converse with Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color line that year. The two of the collided at first base in a May 15 game. Greenberg helped Robinson to his feet and gave him some words of encouragement, for which the Brooklyn rookie was most grateful.

“Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg,” Robinson told the pres after the game.

That made me think of this:

In the movie 42, about Robinson’s first season, the first black player was hit in the head by a pitch from Fritz Ostermueller. That game took place on May 17 against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Well, Greenberg was in the lineup for the Pirates that day. In fact, he hit a two-run homer to give his team the only runs they would need in a 4-0 win over Brooklyn. The Pirates had only four hits and Greenberg had two of them.

Too bad they didn’t include the Robinson-Greenberg conversation in the movie.

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