Larry Sherry Topps card. Photo courtesy of eBay.com.
JewishSportsCollectibles.com offers reviews of the players' baseball cards and collectibles ... which range from common cards to $100,000+ game-used leather, from books to DVDs, from postcards and programs to books by the yard.
Steve Yeager Upper Deck card. Photo courtesy of Beckett.com.
To read the JSC's overviews of the cards and memorabilia for World Series MVP winners Larry Sherry (1959), Sandy Koufax (1963 and 1965) and Steve Yeager (1981) click on the players' names.
Feel free to comment below, or in the individual postings, to let JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers know what your most treasured collectible for these World Series winners might be.
A movie poster for Glickman. Photo courtesy of GlickmanTheFilm.com.
Glickman, a documentary film that looks at the life and legacy of Marty Glickman, a towering figure in the world of both Olympic track and field and sportscasting, premiered on HBO on Monday, August 26.
James L. Freedman wrote, produced and directed the movie, his first documentary. Famed director Martin Scorsese served as the film's executive producer.
The documentary is "a labor of love" for Freedman, who got his start in media because of Glickman. According to the film's web site, Freedman -- while still in high school -- produced Marty Glickman’s late night radio program, one of the first all sports call-in shows in the country, on WNEW in New York.
The story of Glickman's life and career, both on the field and in the broadcast booth, is remarkable.
A track star in high school and at Syracuse University, Glickman was part of the U.S. 4X100 meter relay team sent to Germany to compete in the 1936 Olympic Summer Games.
The day before the race, coaches replaced Glickman and teammate Sam Stoller, the only two Jews on the U.S. Olympic team, on the relay squad with runners Ralph Metcalfe and Jesse Owens. Owen's protested the move and urged his coaches to allow Glickman and Stoller to run.
The removal of the Jewish sprinters was seen by many as a clear showing of antisemitism and a move designed by American Olympic Committee chair Avery Brundage, a Nazi sympathizer, to appease Hitler.
Ironically, both Owens and Metcalfe were African-Americans, also members of "inferior races," according to the Nazis. Led by Owens, the American sprinters set a world record and won gold in the relay. The Germans finished fourth.
Glickman passes the baton to Jesse Owens during a relay race. Photo courtesy of GlickmanTheFilm.com.
The relay victory earned Owens his fourth gold medal in the Olympic Games. Owens' achievement catapulted him to international fame, though it didn't earn him racial respect at home. Owens' record stood until 1984, when Carl Lewis matched the feat in the Los Angeles Olympics.
Spurned in Berlin, Glickman returned to Syracuse University, where he starred in football and basketball. His prowess on the playing field led a local station to offer Glickman his first radio job, which paid $15 a broadcast.
After college Glickman worked in radio in New York City before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1943. Following action in the Pacific Theater during WWII, Glickman returned to New York and started his broadcasting career in earnest.
During a career that would span more than 50 years, Glickman covered almost every sport that could be broadcast.
Glickman provided radio play-by-play for Knicks games and served as the first television announcer for the NBA. In describing basketball for radio listeners, Glickman created the language used by players, fans and broadcasters throughout the world today. He invented terms like "lane," "key" and "Swish!"
"Marty Glickman wasn't the first man to do basketball on radio, but he was the first to establish the precise geometry of the court, using a language and terminology that survives more than half a century later." writes Dennis D'Agostino in a rememberance of Glickman on NBA.com.
"I strove to create a word picture that the listener could see in the mind's eye," Glickman wrote in his autobiography, The Fastest Kid on the Block: The Marty Glickman Story. "Not only see it, but feel it as well -- the excitement, the colors, the tension, the enthusiasm of the winner and the despair of the loser."
Glickman broadcasts a Giants football game. Photo courtesy of Getty Images, GlickmanTheFilm.com.
In addition to covering basketball, Glickman provided radio and television play-by-play and broadcast pre- and post-game shows for the New York (football) Giants, New York Jets, New York Rangers, New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers.
He also narrated sports news reels for Paramount films, announced horse races at Yonkers Raceway, and covered tennis matches for HBO Sports.
As busy as he was on-air, Glickman made time to teach and mentor a generation of sports broadcasters, including luminaries like Marv Albert (also Jewish), Bob Costas, Dick Engberg and Dick Stockton.
Albert, who is interviewed in the documentary, once described Glickman as "the greatest radio broadcaster of all time," according to Investor's Business Daily.
Yet, in spite of his success, Glickman faced discrimination in his professional career. According to the HBO web site, when the NBA signed a national TV deal, Glickman was passed over for a broadcaster with a "more Midwestern voice." Whether this decision was made by an executive who didn't like Glickman's New York accent, or subtle antisemitism on the part of the TV networks is open for debate.
Freedman tells Glickman's story in a 75-minute documentary combining archival photos and footage with modern interviews. There is, for obvious reasons, a focus on Glickman's releigion.
"People ask if I set out to make a Jewish film," Freedman said in an email to JewishSportsCollectibles.com. "My answer is not at all. The heart of the film explores what happens when an 18-year-old's dreams are crushed by racism and prejudice. Do they become bitter? Or do they triumph in life as Marty did? Marty happened to be Jewish -- but I feel the story is universal."
In a posting on IndieWire, reviewer Kevin Jagernauth describes the film this way:
"Freedman ... does an admirable job of capturing the broadcaster, even if the structure is a little old fashioned, moving as it does between vintage footage (which has been smartly assembled) and talking heads. He veers toward hyperbole from time to time ... but what he gets right is conveying the spirit of Glickman, the excitement of his work (even if you don’t know your three-point shot from a touchdown, it’s infectious) and the aura of someone who became a legend by not being as manipulative, cheap, mean, blindly ambitious or coldly cruel as so many others around him were. Marty Glickman was simply being the best Marty Glickman he could be. For many he wasn’t just the best Marty Glickman he was simply: the best."
A preview for Glickman is available by clicking on the video window below.
Collectors have access to a wide array of memorabilia associated with the famed Jewish sportscaster, but little associated with the film itself.
A WOR Radio ad for Jets games featuring Marty Glickman. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Glickman memorabilia on eBay at the time of this posting include photos, a 1937 Syracuse University yearbook, ads for Glickman's radio shows, and copies of his book.
Glickman played football and basketball at Syracuse, and enjoyed brief professional careers in both sports. Patient collectors may be able to find vintage sports memorabilia associated with Glickman's college career on eBay.
While not specific to Glickman, eBay offers a wide array of collectibles and memorabilia associated with the 1936 Olympics.
Glickman is featured on 2012 Sportskings Series E one-of-a-kind cards. These include a Top 50 Broadcasters cut autographs card and a redemption sketch card, according to Beckett.com.
These cards are not available for purchase in the Beckett Marketplace, eBay or Amazon, at the time of this posting. As one-of-a-kind cards they are extremely rare and would likely be expensive to buy, if they ever come up for sale.
The Fastest Kid on the Block, Glickman's autobiography. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
Also, while not specifically about Glickman, Jack Kerouac described Glickman as "absolutely the greatest announcer I ever heard" in On The Road.
Memorabilia associated with Glickman the documentary is scant, however. "There is no merchandise or memorabilia associated with the film," Freedman tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com. "That is not why I made it. It was a true labor of love having worked for Marty producing his radio show when I was 17."
Before its HBO broadcast debut, numerous film festivals, including the February 2013 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, screened Glickman. The Newhouse Sports Media Center at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications hosted a New York City premiere on August 24 that featured a roundtable discussion, “Memories of Marty,” featuring Costas, Albert and Freedman. Dedicated collectors may be able to find tickets, programs or advertisements for these festivals and events.
And, social media enthusiasts can collect tweet and postings about Glickman on Twitter and Facebook. The film's Twitter feed is particularly interesting.
Have you seen Glickman? What did you think about the documentary? Did you ever have the chance to meet Marty Glickman? What Glickman memorabilia do you have in your Jewish sports collection?
Ossie Schectman. Photo courtesy of Long Island University Athletics.
Oscar "Ossie" Schectman, the Jewish basketball player who scored the first basket in NBA history, died July 30, 2013 at age 94, according to the New York Times.
Schectman grew up in tenement housing in New York City, and perfected his shooting by arcing balls through a rung on a building fire escape, according to the NY Times remembrance.
He played college basketball at Long Island University, becoming an All-American and leading LIU to the 1939 and 1941 NIT championships, according to the SportingNews.com.
The SPHAs book cover. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.
According to his Wikipedia bio, after college Schectman played for the Philadelphia SPHAs (short for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) in the American Basketball League. The team, billed as "basketball's greatest Jewish team," was owned by basketball Hall of Famer Eddie Gottlieb, who was also Jewish.
In the league's first game, on November 1, 1946, between the Knicks and the Toronto Huskies, Schectman scored the game's first basket. Thus he become the first player in league history to score a point, according to this remembrance on NBA.com.
"Ossie Schectman was a true NBA pioneer," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. Scoring the league's first basket, Stern said of Schectman, "placed him permanently in the annals of NBA history."
The shot, according to The Jewish Ledger, inspired the title of David Vyorst's documentary film, The First Basket, which chronicles Jews' contributions to the early history of professional basketball. Video of Schetman's feat is part of the film's trailer, available below.
Peter Schectman, Ossie's son, tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com that Ossie was injured diving for a ball during the season. The injury, combined with his ability to earn money while not having to travel led to Ossie's decision.
Following his departure from the Knicks, Peter says Ossie played part-time with the Patterson (New Jersey) Crescents on the ABL, where he earned all-star honors.
Because of his lack of pasteboard presence, the sports card blog Pack War created a tribute card for Schectman, based on the design of the 1946 Remar Bread trading cards.
While it exists only as an image on the blog, the "virtual card" (pictured right) is well-done and would make a nice addition to Jewish basketball enthusiasts' photo collections.
At the time of this posting, eBay offered little in the way of Schectman collectibles for sale. The auction giant's lone listing was for a signed signed index card.
Closed auction results included a Schectman signed basketball that had sold for $127.50. This is a bargain price, in my opinion, for an autographed piece associated with such an important figure in Jewish sports and NBA history.
Ossie Schectman signed basketball. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Certainly, patient Jewish basketball enthusiasts will be able to find other Schectman memorabilia that is bound to pop up on eBay in the future. This might include 1946 Knicks memorabilia, like yearbooks, programs or ticket stubs.
As always, buyer beware.
Book collectors have numerous options for adding Schectman memorabilia to their shelves.
At the time of this posting, no copies of First Basket were listed on eBay. CDs of the movie soundtrack, however, were available for approximately $10. The soundtrack is available as part of a collectors package on the First Basket web site.
Ossie Schectman. Photo courtesy of LOhud.com.
Jewish sportswriter Howard Megdal authored a profile of Schectman in March for LOhud.com (access to the article requires a paid subscription).
In an email to JewishSportsCollectibles.com at the time, Megdal indicated that Schectman and his son, Peter, were interested in selling Ossie's memorabilia collection.
Peter Schectman tells JSC the family consigned numerous items to Lelands.com. The Ossie Schectman collection was included in the company's Spring 2013 auction, which closed June 8, 2013. A catalogue of the sale is available on the company's web site.
Ossie Schectman Contract. Photo courtesy of Lelands.com.
A 50th anniversary Knicks jersey, autographed by Schectman, failed to sell. Perhaps a lucky bidder will win this wonderful piece of Jewish basketball history in a future auction.
With Schectman's passing, Peter tells JSC that the family may put the remainder of Ossie's memorabilia collection up for auction or private sale. We'll report on future offerings as details become available.
In a recent online discussion about on the Jewish Sports Collectibles group on Yahoo, noted collector Neil Keller says he met with Schectman more than a dozen times at his home in South Florida. Keller says he and Schectman played "trash can basketball at his place in Delray Beach with a tennis ball."
Peter Schectman says his father was active in the South Florida Basketball Fraternity, a group of retired players , many Jewish, who met for weekly breakfasts on Tuesday and an annual black tie dinner. An article on JNS.org confirms this, describing Schectman as "one of basketball’s great ambassadors." It sounds to me that Schectman was a generous and charming man.
Did you ever have the chance to meet Ossie Schectman? What Schectman memorabia do you have in your Jewish basketball collection? What other Schectman collectibles do you know about?
Rotblatt pitched for the University of Illinois while in college. In 1948, he struck out 18 Purdue batters, a Big Ten conference record, according to Day by Day in Jewish Sports History
The strikeout record stood until 1965, according to Matt Wille, assistant sports information director at University of Illinois.Rotblatt remains among the Illini's top pitchers, according to the school's 2013 media guide.
Standing just 5'6" tall, Rotblatt was "one of major league baseball’s shortest pitchers," according to the NY Times. Tim Wiles, The National Baseball Hall of Fame's director of research, states that both Lee Viau and Dinty Gearin were shorter, with each measuring just 5'4" (the Weinstein obituary states that Rotblatt was "the shortest pitcher to ever play major league baseball").
Rotblatt's height, or lack of it, earned him same infamy. He pitched as "Little David" for the House of David exhibition team while in college and once struck out 17 in a game against the Harlem Globetrotters, according to The Big Book of Jewish Baseball.
Playing three seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Rotblatt pitched in 35 games, tallying a 4-3 record and notching two saves during the 1948, 1950 and 1951 campaigns. Rotblatt also initiated a triple play during his time in The Bigs, according to the obituary from the funeral home.
Rotblatt's New York Times obituary notes that students at Carleton College in Minnesota play a nearly 150-inning, alcohol-fueled intramural softball game named after the pitcher.
The same obituary says that Rotblatt is a member of the University of Illinois Hall of Fame. While Rotblatt remains a leader among Illini pitchers 50+ years after he took the mound for the school, University of Illinois Assistant SID Matt Wille tells JewishSportsCollectibles.com that no hall of fame exists for U of I Athletics.
My purpose in pointing out these inconsitencies is not to detract from Rotblatt's on the field accomplishments. It is, merely, to set the record straight.
Perhaps fittingly, considering Rotblatt's short stature and brief career,Jewish baseball collectors have a limited number of trading cards depicting Rotblatt.
Beckett.com lists only the 1951 Bowman (#303 in the beautiful series) and card #73 in the 2003 edition of the Jewish Major Leaguers card set among Rotblatt's pasteboard.
Chass has covered baseball since 1956. He previously served as the chairman of the New York Chapter of The Baseball Writers Association of America and the New York Time's national baseball correspondent, according to his Wikipedia biography.
He pioneered coverage of the business of sports, including contracts and labor negotiations.
Chass has written several online columns ("Hall Of Fame Puts Its Shame On The Line" and "Players Line Up To Salute Miller," among others) advocating the election of Marvin Miller, former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and has been outspoken on the subject in a wide array of media (search Google for a variety of Chass's thoughts on Miller).
Chass is the author of several books, available on Amazon, on both baseball and football. These include The Yankees: The Four Fabulous Eras of Baseball's Most Famous Team, Power Football and Pittsburgh Steelers: The Long Climb.
Murray Chass 2012 Panini. Photo courtesy of JSC.
I had tried several times, unsuccessfully, to obtain Chass's autograph for my Jewish baseball collection.
Chass is the subject of card #JSA-MUR in the 2012 Panini Cooperstown Signatures (pictured at left).
The serial numbered, limited edition card -- only 500 were produced --features a black and white image of the Hall of Fame writer along with a bold, clean autograph.
In his column, Chass makes it clear he doesn't understand why collectors would want his card, and cares little for the "unimportant subject of baseball cards."
Chass's column reads, in part:
"... I wouldn’t have spent $9 for my card.
Let’s be honest here. The Wagner card is probably the most famous baseball card in existence. Nobody knew mine existed. Why it exists I don’t know.
Last year Panini America, Inc. decided to publish a set of cards of Hall of Fame players, Wagner, who was among the first five players elected to the Hall in 1936 among them. But the Panini people decided to include broadcasters and writers, too.
Peter Gammons and I were the two writers selected, and our autographed cards were distributed among the packs otherwise filled with Hall of Fame players. It was unusual enough that the cards existed. But then things got even more bizarre.
One of the recipients of the cards had no use for the Murray Chass card – hey, I don’t have a problem with that – but why he took the next step defies reality. He posted the card for sale on eBay. Why, I asked myself, did he think anybody would bid for the card?
... I am not a collector and have never understood the ravenous thirst memorabilia collectors have for sports items.
I suppose that lack of interest in collecting adds to my reaction to people bidding for my card. However, I will refrain from making any additional comment because the buyer might be a reader and I don’t want to antagonize a reader on the unimportant subject of baseball cards."
I don't want to, nor will I, engage Chass in an argument about sports memorabilia or collectors' passions. I do, however, think Chass should examine sports cards and memorabilia in some context before simply dismissing them as the cardboard idols of crazed collectors.
Consider the following: Major League Baseball teams' 2013 Opening Day payrolls totalled an estimated $3.156 billion, according to Yahoo Sports. Annually, the global market total of sports collectibles sales is $2-4 billion, according to CNN and ESPN. In this light, alone, sports collectibles can hardly be dismissed as "unimportant."
The size of the sports cards and collectibles markets and collectors' unbridled passion for memorabilia aside, Jewish baseball enthusiasts may be limited to the Panini card if they want to add a Chass item to their memorabilia collections, given Chass' thoughts.
Two Beckett Marketplace sellers were offering Chass's card, at the time of this posting, for $10-$12.
I purchased a Chass card last week on eBay for a Buy It Now price of $11, and consider it money well spent to add the Hall of Fame writer's autograph to my Jewish baseball collection. What are your thoughts?
Do you have any Chass memorabilia in your collection? Do you know of other Chass collectibles? Have you had a chance to meet Chass?