A sell-out, the February 27 event featured Jewish sportswriter and broadcaster Len Berman moderating a panel discussion that include three renowned Jewish baseball authors and two former Jewish Major Leaguers.
Ira Berkow, author of Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life, Franklin Foer, editor of Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, and Jane Leavy, author of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy made up the panel of authors.
Baseball historian and author John Thorn was scheduled to appear, but was ill and unable to take part.
In an email following the festivities, Appel told JewishSportsCollectibles.com that Leavy shared with the crowd the story of Sandy Koufax attending her daughter's bat mitzvah.
"He doesn't like those sorts of things because when he enters, 250 people come at him, it detracts from the event, and engulfs him," Appel said, relaying Leavy's account of the day. "But he did this for Jane, who quickly hustled [Sandy] into a private study for peace and quiet prior to the ceremony.
"In the study was Emma, the bat mitzvah girl, and a friend of hers, a boy. The boy asked Sandy how to throw a curve ball, and Sandy demonstrated. The boy insisted he was wrong, that this is the way you throw it.
"Amused, Sandy made the point that he had some success with his style. The boy refused to budge and said Sandy was not doing it right, he should do it his way.
"Finally, Sandy said, 'Look, this is how you $%^$E throw it!' The profanity was ballplayer-talk, and brought the house down."
Appel tells JSC that Blomberg "talked about growing up Jewish in Atlanta, surrounded by KKK, but always a Yankee fan."
Both Shamsky and Blomberg managed in the short-lived Israel Baseball League.
Several IBL veterans, including Nate Fish and Shlomo Lipetz, who coached and pitched with Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, and Secretary-General, Israel Association of Baseball Peter Kurz attended the function.
The event featured a display of Jewish baseball memorabilia, including autographed uniforms from Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and a team signed Team Israel WBC jersey.
Also on display was an autographed, limited edition All Jewish Baseball Players lithograph by artist Ron Lewis and Greg Harris.
The artwork was auctioned during the event, with proceed benefiting AJHS.
The first 100 attendees who purchased $150 “reserved seats” received a gold-trimmed, limited edition set of the 2003 edition of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards, and attendees could also purchase JML card sets during the event.
I only wish I could have attended the AJHS Night of Jewish Baseball, instead of blogging about it from afar. Alas, I'm in Ohio and the event was held in New York City.
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