By In Baseball, History

Koufax, Greenberg and Yom Kippur

proxy-1Meant to get this out BEFORE Yom Kippur was over but, you know …

From SportsWorld:

But there was perhaps a more interesting Yom Kippur World Series decision made thirty years earlier.

Hank Greenberg grew up in Orthodox Jewish family, meaning his childhood was very different from Sandy Koufax’s more secular upbringing. Koufax did not have a Bar Mitzvah, he did not go to temple, he was Jewish by birth and by the neighborhood where he grew up in Brooklyn. Greenberg’s parents, on the other hand, were Romanian immigrants who were observant Jews. They meant to name young Hank Greenberg “Hyman” – a derivative of the Jewish name Chaim, meaning life – but the hospital was unfamiliar with the name and wrote down “Henry” instead. They kept a kosher kitchen, spoke Yiddish to young Hy Greenberg, took him to synagogue on a weekly basis and raised him to fast on Yom Kippur and light the menorah on Hanukkah. At 13, he had his Bar Mitzvah.

“Quit that baseball already,” his father, David Greenberg, shouted at him. “It’s a game for bums.”

The Yom Kippur When Hank Wanted To Play

4 Responses to Koufax, Greenberg and Yom Kippur

  1. Tom says:

    Loved the article, and all your writing. One factual quibble: Ty Cobb’s Tigers never won a World Series. They lost in 1907, 1908, and 1909.

    • Brent says:

      Correct, the first WS Championship for the Tigers was that 1935 season. At that point, only they, the Dodgers, Phillies, and Browns hadn’t won the WS. It had to be a pretty big deal.

    • MCD says:

      Quibbling with the quibble. Unless I missed it, the article didn’t say Cobb *did* win a world championship, it merely said “bring a championship to Detroit for the first time since the early day of Ty Cobb”. I think it is reasonable to contend merely being in the World Series made the Tigers the AL champs.

      I also feel that it is obligatory to recommend the fine film: “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg” which includes the Yom Kippur decision:

      • MCD says:

        Quibbling with my own quibble. If being AL champs was “bringing home a championship”, then Greenberg had already accomplished that.

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