April 21, 2006


Joltin’ Jew: Ex-Yankee and memoirist Ron Blomberg is in the record books for being the first DH. (That doesn’t stand for Designated Hebrew.) (Mark Jacobson, New York)

How did the Jewish community react when you first got to New York?

To be able to play in front of 8 million Jews! Can’t beat it. I lit everyone’s candles for every bar mitzvah in the city. It was like I was related to everyone. They named a sandwich after me at the Stage Deli.

What were the guys like back then?

There were definitely some anti-Semites on those teams, believe me. But we had crazy times, like when Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson switched families, wives, kids, the whole thing. Then Reggie came. Even now, at Old Timers’ Day, guys don’t talk to Reggie. But I liked him. [In spring training] he hit fourth, and sometimes I’d be fifth. He’d hit a homer and make a big deal out of it. So I knew I was going to get drilled. I lived in Riverdale, in the same building with Willie Mays. Since I was a Jewish guy, I knew people in the garment center. Willie and I went down there in his pink Caddy with the say hey written on the side, and we got some free clothes. I took three, four suits. But Willie took 300, 400. All polyester. Orange and purple. He looked like a Goodwill explosion.

N.B. (*) The Israelite House of David was not, of course, actually a Jewish baseball team, nor even a Jewish sect.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 21, 2006 11:38 AM

Walked in his first at-bat as DH, but the Sox came back to win the game at Fenway, which was also George S's first regular season game as Yanks owner (purists can pick which debut was worse for baseball).

Posted by: John at April 21, 2006 12:17 PM

Ah, Kekich and Peterson. Had forgotten that glorious chapter in Yankee history.

Posted by: jdkelly at April 21, 2006 6:09 PM
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