Between 1870 and 2010, 165 Jewish Americans have played Major League baseball. This work presents oral histories featuring 23 of these Jewish major leaguers. From Bob Berman, a catcher for the Washington Senators in 1918, to Adam Greenberg, an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs in 2005, the players discuss their careers and consider how their Jewish heritage has affected their lives in and out of baseball. Legends like Hank Greenberg and Al Rosen join lesser-known players to reflect on topics such as the annual dilemma of whether to play on high holidays, efforts to rebut anti-Semitism on and off the field, bonds formed with black teammates also facing prejudice, and personal and Jewish pride in their accomplishments. Together, these oral histories paint a vivid portrait of what it was like to be a Jewish major leaguer and shed light on a fascinating facet of American baseball history.
Peter Ephross, a journalist who has written extensively about Jews and sports, is a longtime editor for the Jewish Telgraphic Agency news service. His work has been published in Publishers Weekly, the Village Voice, and Forward, among other publications. Martin Abramowitz is the president of Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that documents American Jews in America's game and sponsored many of the interviews in this book.