by the Village Elliott
For Hank Greenberg and Edgar Guest*
On Rosh Hashanah, 1st of Tishrei, 5776**
“Landsman” Hank played ball Jew’s New Year’s Day,
Won game with two home runs ’cause he’d play.
Ten days on, Hank for sure
Wouldn’t play on Yom Kippur.***
Tigers lost, but won flag anyway.
*Came Yom Kippur: A Hank Greenberg Poem
10th of Tishrei, 5695
by Edgar Guest
Published in Detroit Free Press, 1934
The Irish didn’t like it when they heard of Greenberg’s fame
For they thought a good first baseman should possess an Irish name;
And the Murphys and Mulrooneys said they never dreamed they’d see
A Jewish boy from Bronxville out where Casey used to be.
In the early days of April not a Dugan tipped his hat
Or prayed to see a “double” when Hank Greenberg came to bat.
In July the Irish wondered where he’d ever learned to play.
“He makes me think of Casey!” Old Man Murphy dared to say;
And with fifty-seven doubles and a score of homers made
The respect they had for Greenberg was being openly displayed.
But upon the Jewish New Year when Hank Greenberg came to bat
And made two home runs off pitcher Rhodes—they cheered like mad for that.
Came Yom Kippur — holy fast day worldwide over to the Jew —
And Hank Greenberg to his teaching and the old tradition true
Spent the day among his people and he didn’t come to play.
Said Murphy to Mulrooney, “We shall lose the game today!
We shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the bat
But he’s true to his religion—and I honor him for that!”
** Rosh Hashanah: lit., head of the year
***Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement (Holiest of Holy Days 10 days after Rosh Hashanah)
by James Finn Garner
For all the effort
The October result’s
The entire story
A franchise reborn
Butts in the seats
Strong arms and bats–
Some for the ages!–
Might end up mere stats
On old dusty pages
Without a ring
You’re as good as dead
When the Pizza King
Shouts, “Off with his head!”
by James Finn Garner
Michiganders have their summer back.
No need to grumble, curse or frown!
There’s oodles to do, from Monroe to Mighty Mac
Now that Cabrera’s gone down.
Don’t bother watching the Tiges on TV,
Get out and paint the town.
I hear Lapeer has a new Applebee’s.
Forget that Cabrera’s gone down.
Experience Celery Days in Saginaw!
Paddle ’round Zug Island–now less brown!
Savor what passes for wine in Paw Paw!
Who cares Cabrera’s gone down?
Visit your great-aunt in Lansing.
Shoot a biopic of Milky the Clown.
Take up 18th-century ballroom dancing,
Now that Cabrera’s gone down.
Watch reenactors fight that war we don’t remember
Drive nine hours to a Yooper ghost town
Explore the Mitten til school starts in September
And forget that Cabrera’s gone down.
By Stuart Shea
Never got to see
Ebbets and the Polo Grounds
To me unrevealed.
But I did run with glee
Through old Comiskey
And Tiger Stadium
Was like a palladium
And Milwaukee County
An endless bounty.
Dank, damp, and rusty,
Outmoded and fusty,
But to me much more fun
Than Wrigley, say, has become.
by Andrew Porter
Of Jewish baseball cards, there’s quite a selection,
But I’ve assembled the biggest collection.
And the prideful fans who’d like to see ‘em,
Will love to tour my Baseball Museum.
There’s dozens of tales about every big league Jew,
So I hope not to bore you if I share just a few.
Hank Greenberg was a Tiger, tall with game
And he’s now enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Today they’d say, “That kid can rake!”
With his 100-plus ribbies at the All-Star Break.
But the hero knew what he was needed for:
He served the longest in the Second World War.
Returning late in ’45 to lift Detroit from a frightful jam,
He clinched the pennant with a walk off grand slam.
And those who know no facts, must surely know Koufax.
Greatest lefty of them all, youngest elected to the Hall.
The Jewish fans screamed at the top of their lungs!
He had four no-hitters and three Cy Young’s.
Two thousand strikeouts and plus some more,
Then skipped the Series on Yom Kippur.
Moe Berg, a ballplayer with nary a flaw.
Princeton undergrad, Columbia Law.
A catcher for the White Sox — the Senators too.
But also a spy during World War II.
He traveled to Germany with orders to kill
And stealthily filmed Tokyo from the top of a hill.
So many other interesting facts abound,
Where these precious baseball cards will soon be found.
Guy Zinn left an indelible mark:
He scored the first run ever at Fenway Park.
And Barney Pelty, the Yiddish Curver, surely tasted whiskey:
He pitched a shutout when they opened Comiskey.
While Sam Nahem read Marx and Engel,
Lefty Weinert beaned Casey Stengel.
Erskine Mayer pitched with grit
Though he served up Wagner’s 3,000th hit.
Al Rosen, third baseman of great renown:
A groundout cost him the Triple Crown.
Bob Tufts and Elliott Maddox both hated to lose.
Both born as gentiles, both played as Jews.
There was Cy Young winner Steven Stone,
Speedy infielder Sammy Bohne,
And Giants second baseman Andy Cohen.
So the lesson to be learned today — promise, there will be no test.
Is that mensches don’t just ride the benches.
They play ball like all the rest.