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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Hank Greenberg League? I'm starting a movement to change the name of the Babe Ruth League to the Hank Greenberg League. Today's New York Times had an article on how Leigh Montville wrote his new book, The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. The pun in the title is apparently intended. Babe Ruth was a compulsive eater, drinker and womanizer. The new book discusses the Babe's proclivities at length using some new source material. As a contemporary sportswriter for the New York Daily News said in a private letter, "I must report that some of the Babe's paramours for a day would really appeal only to a man who was just stepping out of a prison after serving a 15-year sentence." So let's rename the Babe Ruth League in honor of Hank Greenberg. As the Wikipedia entry notes,
Greenberg was not the first Jewish man to play major-league baseball, but by the end of his career he had become by far the best Jewish player ever, and the first major Jewish star. In the 50 years since Greenberg's retirement, only Sandy Koufax achieved similar success among Jewish players. Greenberg was subject to the most vicious ethnic taunting seen in the sport prior to the arrival of Jackie Robinson in 1947, yet Greenberg nevertheless became a first-rank ballplayer and an icon among Jews in the United States.
Full disclosure: my older son plays in the local Babe Ruth League. It is a fine organization. Editorial note: The Babe Ruth League is a completely different organization than Little League (which is older and somewhat larger).

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