Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Baseball Talmud Howard Megdal

The Baseball Talmud: by Howard Megdal - You don't have to be Jewish to love this book but you have to be a baseball fan. I wanted to get my hands on this ever since I heard about it on the Harper Collins website. The author breaks down and compares each position starting with the catcher. You can do like I did and read it from beginning, or simply skip to your favorite position. Medgal goes as far back as 1800's. Including Jewish born and converts alike, as well as the stars and those who only got a quick taste. Even if they never made it to the show but spent their entire career in the minors they are mentioned. There are some great stories . One of my favorites is catcher Moe Berg
"It's hard to add anything to the legend of Moe Berg, backup, spy and linguist, though certainly not in that order" A catcher and a spy, what's not to love.
There's also first baseman Hank Greenberg, a star player in Detroit, where Henry Ford was doing his best to make Jews feel unwelcome.

"Ford published a newspaper that unceasingly railed against Jews, and a collection of the newspaper's columns was published in book form as The International Jew- the World's Foremost Problem. Reportedly, Hitler was one of his readers and admiers. Ford went on to blame international Jewish Bankers for WW II after receiving the highest award a foreigner could recieve from Hitler's government."

With all of that going on Greenberg put up some very nice numbers and he lost some years fighting in the war. So baseball fans can truly appreciate how good Greenberg was, the author uses Baseball Prospectus EQA, comparing his numbers to hall of famer Willie Mays and current stars like Albert Pujols.

Finally I'll end with a story too good not to share about second baseman Jimmy Reese.

"Reese grew up Hymie Solomon, and changed his name, as many Jews did, to avoid anti- Semitism. The decision worked out well - in a charity game, catcher Ike Danning and pitcher Harry Ruby decided to forgo signs and communicate in Yiddish. Reese the covert Jew, went 4 for 4"

The Baseball Talmud is a must for all baseball fans. This would make a great Mitzvah gift. Ages 12up

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