The “Shul By The Sea” is actually Temple Beth-El in City Island, NY. My talk was titled Minorities in Baseball. The audience was really into baseball and made me feel welcome. I observed they were wearing Yankee and Mets hats and shirts. My talk looked at the contribution of Jewish, African-American, and women baseball players.
The Jewish players I singled out for their special contributions to baseball were Lipman Pike, Barney Dreyfuss, Morris Berg, Hank Greenberg, and Sandy Koufax. Some of their contributions were developing the first professional baseball league, negotiating the first World Series, and building the first steel-framed stadium. Did you know: There was a time when it was illegal for a baseball player to play for pay; there was a Major League catcher who, while working as a spy during World War II, helped to plan Colonel Jimmy Doolittle’s famous raid; there was a Jewish Major League player who suffered the same type of abuse as Jackie Robinson did; the first designated hitter in baseball was Jewish; the first batter when Fenway Park opened in 1912 was Jewish; there was a barnstorming team called “The House of David” and Satchel Paige actually pitched for that team.
Some of the African- American players discussed were Moses Walker, Rube Foster, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, and Artie Wilson. Did you know: Jackie Robinson was not the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues; the last man to bat .400 for a season in a professional baseball league was not Ted Williams; there was actually a pitcher who pitched in more than 2500 games with over 100 no-hitters, Bob Feller and Sandy Koufax supported the integration of baseball; there was a pitcher who pitched 64 consecutive scoreless innings; there was a catcher who hit over 70 home runs in several seasons and was rumored to have hit a fair-ball out of the old Yankee Stadium (if true, he would have been the only player to ever do it).
Some of the women contributors to baseball were Amelia Bloomer, Jackie Mitchell, and Joann Weaver. Did you know: The last person to hit .400 on a professional team was a woman; the first organized women’s baseball team was formed in 1866; there was a woman pitcher who struck-out Ruth and Gehrig in an exhibition game; Rogers Hornsby started his career playing on a women’s team; there were barnstorming women’s teams that played exhibition games against men’s teams; a woman actually signed a minor league baseball contract; and the movie “A League of Their Own” was an accurate portrayal of the Women’s Professional League.
My talk was well received and at the end of the presentation, there were several interesting questions. I wish to thank all of the members of Temple Beth-El for their invitation to speak and for making me feel very welcome.
If your organization would like me to speak about one of my several topics on baseball, please contact me by email.