November 25, 2002
HEBRAIC HURLER:Looking to hit a home run with Jewish baseball card series (Mark Benson , 11/15/02, Jewish World Review)
During the annual convention of the Society for American Baseball Research here this summer, Martin Abramowitz of Newton, Mass., invited convention attendees to his home for brunch and a discussion on baseball players from years past with names like Greenberg, Koufax and Reese.
However, the Reese mentioned was not Brooklyn Dodger shortstop Pee Wee Reese, but Jimmy Reese, another middle infielder, who played some 70 years ago.
The lesser-known Reese shares a special distinction with Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax - he is one of just 140 Jews ever to play major league baseball, and will be featured in an upcoming set of baseball cards Abramowitz created to celebrate this fascinating aspect of the Jewish experience in America.
Abramowitz is the founder of Jewish Major Leaguers, a nonprofit organization based in Newton (actually, in Abramowitz's home) that is collaborating on the project with the American Jewish Historical Society and a card manufacturer to be determined. He hopes that the first set of cards will bring attention to men like Reese, a second baseman for the Yankees during the 1930 and 1931 seasons who roomed on road trips with none other than Babe Ruth. (Though, as Reese often quipped, he spent more time in the hotel with the Babe's luggage than the Bambino himself.)
These days Gabe Kapler and Shawn Green are carrying on the tradition, but a few years ago there was just one Jewish player in the majors, the improbably named Jose Batista.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2002 4:00 PM