Jews of Sum­mer

When Lou, Joe and Saul faced off in the ma­jors.

Forward Magazine - - Front Page - By Mur­ray Green­berg

At the top of the ninth in­ning of a game at Detroit’s Briggs Sta­dium be­tween the Philadel­phia Ath­let­ics and the Detroit Tigers on May 2, 1951, things looked bleak for the A’s. They trailed, 3-1, they had a run­ner on first base, and there were two outs.

Manager Jimmy Dykes sum­moned Lou Lim­mer to pinch-hit for lighthit­ting third base­man Billy Hitch­cock. Dykes, no doubt, was hop­ing his slug­ging rookie Jewish first base­man from the Bronx would tie the game with one swing.

Await­ing Lim­mer on the mound was big Saul Ro­govin, the Tigers’ 200- pound, 6’ 2” Brook­lyn- bor­nand-bred Jewish hurler whose face ex­pressed equal parts of solem­nity, mourn­ful­ness and soul. Joe Gins­berg, the Tigers’ Man­hat­tan-born Jewish catcher, was be­hind the plate.

Lim­mer had rea­son to like his chances. Just a day ear­lier against th­ese same Tigers, Lim­mer — again pinch­hit­ting for Hitch­cock — had cracked an 11th-in­ning, bases-loaded pinch­hit dou­ble to bust up a 1-1 pitch­ers’ duel and spark a 9-1 A’s win. Just over a week ear­lier, in his sec­ond ma­jor­league at-bat, Lim­mer had slammed a ninth-in­ning pinch-hit homer off the Yan­kees’ All-Star pitcher, Vic Raschi. And now, Ro­govin was weak­en­ing, hav­ing yielded the A’s’ first hit of the game in the sev­enth in­ning, then sur­ren­der­ing two more hits and the Ath­let­ics’ lone run in the eighth.

Could the Tigers’ big right-han­der hold on for one more out?

As Lim­mer neared the bat­ter’s box, the home plate um­pire stepped out from be­hind the plate to dust off the dish. Then, as Lim­mer would re­call years later, the ump said to him, “Boy, now I’ve got the three Heebs. I won­der who’s go­ing to win the battle?”

The um­pire’s re­mark may have been a good-na­tured jab at the shared her­itage of Lim­mer, Ro­govin and Gins­berg. Or it may have been tinged with a less in­no­cent un­der­cur­rent. In any case, the re­mark called at­ten­tion to the fact that at that mo­ment, the three men gath­ered at the epi­cen­ter of the base­ball uni­verse — pitcher, catcher and bat­ter — were all Jews. Nei­ther be­fore nor since that mo­ment had or has such a gath­er­ing oc­curred in ma­jor league base­ball his­tory.

Given the paucity of Jewish ma­jor lea­guers over the decades, this is not sur­pris­ing. Of the roughly 17,000 play­ers in ma­jor league his­tory, fewer than 1% of them, or about 160, were or are Jewish.

Yet de­spite such mi­cro­scopic Jewish rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the big leagues — or maybe be­cause of it — those few Jews who have reached the ma­jors have been a source of enor­mous pride to the Amer­i­can Jewish com­mu­nity. Lim­mer’s own fa­ther pro­vides a great ex­am­ple of such pride. Lim­mer re­called a time when he and his fa­ther were lis­ten­ing to a Detroit Tigers game on the ra­dio and heard Hank Green­berg’s name. “Is he Jewish?” Charles Lim­mer asked his son. “Yeah,” Lou replied. “Then I like the Tigers,” Charles Lim­mer said.

Jewish ballplay­ers were and are a living, breath­ing re­but­tal to the stereo­type that Jews are in­ca­pable of ex­cel­lence in phys­i­cal en­deav­ors such as ath­let­ics. The great­est Jewish hit­ter, Hall of Famer Hank Green­berg, nearly broke Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a sea­son. The great­est Jewish pitcher, Hall of Famer Sandy Ko­ufax, may have been the game’s great­est pitcher, pe­riod.

Lou Lim­mer, Saul Ro­govin, and Joe Gins­berg were not nearly as gifted as Green­berg and Ko­ufax. But in their own in­di­vid­ual jour­neys to and through the world of pro­fes­sional base­ball — a world that could be un­wel­com­ing to the Jewish ballplayer — they made their own valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to the Amer­i­can Jewish ex­pe­ri­ence and com­mu­nity.

Lou Lim­mer be­gan his pro­fes­sional base­ball ca­reer in 1946 with the

Lou Lim­mer be­gan his pro­fes­sional base­ball ca­reer in 1946 in Lex­ing­ton, North Carolina where signs warned, ‘Jews, Nig­gers and Dogs stay out.’

Ath­let­ics’ Class D mi­nor league af­fil­i­ate in Lex­ing­ton, North Carolina, a place where signs posted on roads and train tracks warn­ing “Jews, Nig­gers and Dogs stay out” were quite a shock for the youngest of 12 chil­dren from a strictly Or­tho­dox, strictly kosher Bronx home. It’s no won­der that Lim­mer could not find a lo­cal sy­n­a­gogue to at­tend. He had bet­ter luck find­ing the ball­park, where he hit .313 in 40 games that sea­son.

Over the next four full sea­sons — one more in Lex­ing­ton, two in A League ball in Lin­coln, Ne­braska, and one in Triple A ball in St. Paul, Min­nesota — Lim­mer bat­ted .301 and av­er­aged 26 homers a sea­son. “I’ll tell ya, that son of a gun could re­ally hit,” said 89-year-old for­mer pitcher Bobby Shantz, Lou’s team­mate in Lin­coln who would win the 1952 Amer­i­can League Most Valu­able Player. Lim­mer’s per­for­mance was all the more im­pres­sive given the bro­ken neck he suf­fered while slid­ing into third base one day in 1949 that left him tem­po­rar­ily blinded and par­a­lyzed and side­lined for about a month.

The A’s signed Lim­mer in 1951 and seemed in­clined to trade their first base­man, Fer­ris Fain, to make room for him. “The stylish left-han­der is eas­ily the health­i­est young hit­ting prospect to grace the Ath­let­ics’ ros­ter since the rookie days of Sam Chap­man,” Joe Re­ich­ler wrote, com­par­ing Lim­mer to the A’s star out­fielder. In spring train­ing in ’51, Lim­mer even had Ted Wil­liams, ar­guably base­ball’s great­est hit­ter ever, gush­ing about his prospects.

Lim­mer eas­ily made the A’s out of spring train­ing in ’51, but the club de­cided to keep Fain, and the 26-yearold rookie who had torn up the mi­nor leagues was sud­denly a bench warmer. “He was put in a sit­u­a­tion where he never was be­fore, which was to pinch-hit,” Dan Lim­mer, one of Lim­mer’s two sons, told me. “And in his first year he just let him­self get out of shape.”

It’s not clear whether anti-Semitism played a role in Lim­mer’s bench­ing, and to be fair, Fain was an es­tab­lished star. Still, there were some dis­tress­ing covert signs. “[Lim­mer] did over­hear [A’s manager Jimmy Dykes] and other play­ers talk about, you know, let’s sit his ass on the bench and see what he can do,” Dan Lim­mer said. “He heard th­ese things but he felt he’d let his bat do the talk­ing.” Dykes was a no­to­ri­ous bench jockey who some years ear­lier as manager of the White Sox had led his team in vi­cious heck­ling of Hank Green­berg that in­cluded some­one from the Sox dugout call­ing Green­berg “a yel­low Jew bas­tard.”

“When it comes to Jewish ballplay­ers, I don’t care what team you’re on, some­where along the line there’s anti-Semitism,” Lim­mer said later. A’s out­fielder Dave Phil­ley so tor­mented him that one day, the usu­ally mild- man­nered Lim­mer was about to let his fists, rather than his bat, do the talk­ing. But Lim­mer’s vet­eran team­mate,

Some­one in the White Sox dugout called Green­berg, ‘a yel­low Jew bas­tard.’

Al­lie Clark, spared the rookie the task, deck­ing Phil­ley him­self.

Lim­mer got a chance to play in the mid­dle of the ’51 sea­son when Fain in­jured his toe. But a poorly con­di­tioned Lim­mer didn’t hit, and Fain re­claimed his po­si­tion when his in­jury healed. Still, Lim­mer had his mo­ments in ’51: his pinch homer of Vic Raschi in Yan­kee Sta­dium, belted in front of his fam­ily, a mo­ment he would call his most ex­cit­ing in base­ball; and his pinch dou­ble against Detroit on May 1 to key an A’s victory.

Un­for­tu­nately, there were not enough such mo­ments to keep Lim­mer in Philadel­phia. He spent the 1952 and 1953 sea­sons at Philadel­phia’s Triple A af­fil­i­ate in Ottawa, On­tario, where his slug­ging earned him a re­turn to the A’s for the ’54 sea­son. But once back in Philadel­phia, at least to start, it was a reprise of ’51 — he was trapped on the bench. In mid-sea­son, with regular first base­man Don Boll­weg fal­ter­ing, he got his chance, and this time he was ready. He had a num­ber of big games and hit 14 homers for the sea­son, one be­hind the team leader. He also au­thored some mem­o­rable mo­ments in Ath­let­ics his­tory as the fi­nan­cially trou­bled team com­pleted its last year in Philadel­phia and pre­pared to move to Kansas City: He had the last grand slam in the A’s ball­park, Con­nie Mack Sta­dium; the last pinch-hit in team his­tory; and the last home run in team his­tory — fit­tingly enough, for the Bronx na­tive, in Yan­kee Sta­dium.

Lim­mer’s solid fin­ish in ’54 and his eight homers in the en­su­ing spring train­ing had him ex­cited about the ’55 sea­son. “He thought he had a lock [on first base],” Dan Lim­mer said. In­stead, as Lou re­called later, “They sent me to the mi­nors and I was dev­as­tated.” Lim­mer en­dured an­other four years of mi­nor league ball; when the ma­jors didn’t call him up af­ter a 30-home run sea­son in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama in 1958, it was time to set­tle down with his wife, Pearl, and his two sons, Craig and Dan. He re­turned home and worked in the com­mer­cial re­frig­er­a­tion busi­ness, first in his brother’s com­pany and then for more than 30 years in his own com­pany, be­fore re­tir­ing.

The man who made it his busi­ness to find a sy­n­a­gogue to at­tend in ev­ery town he played in helped es­tab­lish the Cas­tle Hill Jewish Cen­ter, in the Bronx neigh­bor­hood where the Lim­mers lived for a time, and he served as the tem­ple’s pres­i­dent for five years. He loved to re­gale school kids with sto­ries of his no­madic base­ball ex­is­tence. His dis­plea­sure with the A’s’ treat­ment of him did not keep him from en­thu­si­as­ti­cally par­tic­i­pat­ing in Philadel­phia Ath­let­ics His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety events. “This guy was one gen­tle­man,” Lim­mer’s Birm­ing­ham team­mate, Frank Cas­tro, re­mem­bered.

“He had a pollyanna at­ti­tude about life,” Dan Lim­mer said. In 1998, Lou told an in­ter­viewer who had com­pli­mented him on his mi­nor league statis­tics: “If they gave me a chance to play I would have done it in the ma­jor leagues. If you asked the fel­lows I played with in the mi­nors they would tell you the same thing.”

In 1951, Saul Ro­govin led Hall of Famers Bob Feller, War­ren Spahn, and ev­ery other Amer­i­can Na­tional League pitcher in earned run av­er­age, earn­ing him­self the unof­fi­cial ti­tle of “most ef­fec­tive” pitcher in base­ball.

Yet, said au­thor Leonard Kriegel, Ro­govin’s friend: “If he were here right now, if he were sit­ting with us right now, he would tell you what a great hit­ter he was.

Pitch­ers do like to brag about their hit­ting prow­ess, which is usu­ally imag­ined rather than real, but Ro­govin re­ally could han­dle the bat. He grew up in a “not very re­li­gious” Brook­lyn Jewish home and was re­port­edly too shy to have a bar mitz­vah. He brought his Lin­coln High team the New York City cham­pi­onship with a gamewin­ning homer. It was then off to pro ball — no col­lege, de­spite his par­ents’ wishes. In his first three mi­nor league sea­sons, 1941, 1944 and 1945, Saul, play­ing mostly as a third base­man, hit in the .280-.290 range and showed oc­ca­sional home run power.

But with the war end­ing and a slew of ma­jor league vet­er­ans re­turn­ing home to re­claim their jobs, Ro­govin felt his best chance to reach the ma­jors was as a pitcher. The trans­for­ma­tion be­gan in earnest in 1947 when Buf­falo, the Detroit Tigers’ Triple A af­fil­i­ate, signed Ro­govin. Buf­falo manager Paul Richards took spe­cial in­ter­est in him and be­gan de­vel­op­ing the raw hurler into a pitcher. Ro­govin went 13-8 in 1948, and the Tigers

Ro­govin was re­port­edly too shy to have a Bar Mitz­vah.

called him up to the big club in April 1949. But Saul’s stay was short-lived, five and two-thirds innings, to be ex­act. He wasn’t ready, and the Tigers sent him back to Buf­falo.

He won 16 games in Buf­falo in 1949, and was back in Detroit for the 1950 sea­son. But he overex­tended him­self on a cold spring night in an ex­hi­bi­tion game and hurt his arm. Saul stayed with the team into Au­gust, but ap­peared in only 11 games. The high­light of his sea­son came cour­tesy of his bat, not his arm: He slugged a grand slam against the Yan­kees in Yan­kee Sta­dium on July 23 — the last ma­jor league grand slam by a Jewish pitcher for 58 years.

Ro­govin’s arm im­proved in the off­sea­son, but in 1951, Detroit traded him to the White Sox, who were man­aged by his old friend Paul Richards. Not sur­pris­ingly, he im­me­di­ately took to his new sur­round­ings; a two-hit victory over St. Louis and a com­plete game shutout over Ted Wil­liams’s Red Sox cat­a­pulted Ro­govin to a 12-8 sea­son record and his ma­jor league-best 2.78 ERA. “I re­ally was at the top of the world,” he would say years later about his ERA ti­tle. He pitched bril­liantly again in 1952, post­ing a 14-9 record and a 3.85 ERA.

All-Star first base­man Ed­die Robin­son was the hit­ting star of those ’51 and ’52 White Sox teams. The 94-year-young Robin­son, com­ment­ing on Ro­govin’s pitch­ing some 63 years later, re­mem­bered Ro­govin as a “fear­less” pitcher who “wasn’t afraid to throw any of his pitches.” “He had just av­er­age stuff,” Robin­son said. “Maybe a lit­tle be­low av­er­age fast­ball. But Paul Richards worked with him, and he and Saul got along great, and Saul pitched well for Chicago when I was there.”

The Amer­i­can League’s most valu­able player in 1952, Ath­let­ics pitcher Bobby Shantz, had sim­i­lar rec­ol­lec­tions. “I watched him pitch a few times and he was a good pitcher,” Shantz said. “Saul never threw real hard but he had good con­trol and he changed speeds re­ally good.” His windup — arms and legs flail­ing ev­ery­where like a bro­ken wind­mill — may have kept bat­ters a bit off-bal­ance.

The 1952 sea­son would turn out to be his ca­reer’s zenith. He plum­meted to a 7-12 record in 1953, and Chicago let him go. It was back to the mi­nors in ’54, fol­lowed by dis­as­ter in the first part of ’55 — a 1-8 record for Bal­ti­more. Ro­govin en­joyed some­what of a resur­gence with the Phillies in the lat­ter part of the 1955 sea­son and in 1956, in­clud­ing a stretch over two con­sec­u­tive starts when he re­tired 32 straight bat­ters (in­clud­ing Hall of Famers Stan Mu­sial and Ernie Banks) with­out al­low­ing a baserun­ner. There can­not be too many other pitch­ers, Jewish or not, who have ever done that in the big leagues.

But the heady days of ’51 and ’52 were gone for­ever. It’s not clear why. There was some more arm trou­ble. Ro­govin had an un­usual pen­chant for fall­ing asleep in the dugout dur­ing games, and there was ten­sion with some team­mates who con­strued this be­hav­ior as lazi­ness or in­dif­fer­ence. Sixty-three years af­ter play­ing with Ro­govin on the White Sox, 89-year-old Howie Jud­son still spoke of Ro­govin’s odd habit in a tone of voice that sounded some­where be­tween an­noyed and an­gry. Nei­ther Jud­son, Ro­govin’s other team­mates, nor Saul him­self re­al­ized that he was suf­fer­ing from un­di­ag­nosed nar­colepsy.

Self-in­flicted ten­sion borne of a burning de­sire to suc­ceed in the ma­jors also may have con­trib­uted to Saul’s decline. Years af­ter his play­ing days, Ro­govin said: “I en­joyed the game more in the mi­nors many times than in the big leagues. I felt a lot more pres­sure in the big leagues, the fun wasn’t there.”

Ro­govin also felt con­stant pres­sure be­ing a Jew in an over­whelm­ingly non-Jewish game. “When he en­coun­tered anti- Semitism in the bigs, it… would get him crazy ‘cause it was… covert,” his friend Len Kriegel said. “You never knew who the hell said it from the other side.” The re­li­gious prej­u­dice cre­ated a painful in­ter­nal iso­la­tion.

Years af­ter his play­ing days, Ro­govin said: “I felt like the out­sider as a Jew. I didn’t feel like one of [my team­mates], ba­si­cally. Deep down in­side I never felt like I was ac­cepted, I never felt ac­cepted, what­ever ac­cepted was… this was an in­ward feel­ing, a deep, gut feel­ing that I was a Jew and a Jew is op­pressed, a Jew is al­ways op­pressed. Be on your guard be­cause ba­si­cally no one likes Jews… [This was a] re­ally lonely, very lonely feel­ing.”

Ro­govin re­tired af­ter the 1957 sea­son, the bulk of which he spent in the mi­nors try­ing to re­sus­ci­tate his faded ca­reer. Af­ter work­ing un­hap­pily as a liquor sales­man for a while, at the age of 51, he en­rolled in Man­hat­tan Com­mu­nity Col­lege and then City Col­lege (where his friend Len Kriegel was one of his pro­fes­sors) to be­come a school­teacher. Ro­govin found ful­fill­ment in this 12-year-long sec­ond ca­reer as an English and lit­er­a­ture teacher help­ing un­der­priv­i­leged high school kids grow­ing up in some rough New York City neigh­bor­hoods. Many of the kids re­ally took to their old teacher who

used to be a ma­jor league base­ball player. One such kid was a star pitcher for the school base­ball team named Fran­cisco Ro­dríguez, who went on to pitch in the big leagues for seven sea­sons.

Ro­govin was in­ducted into the Na­tional Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Like Lim­mer and Ro­govin, Joe Gins­berg bounced around the mi­nor leagues quite a bit. But un­like Lim­mer, Gins­berg also en­joyed a long ma­jor league ca­reer, man­ag­ing to play all or part of 13 ma­jor league sea­sons as a catcher, de­spite be­ing some­what small for the po­si­tion at 5’11” and 180 pounds.

“He was quite a good de­fen­sive catcher,” 82-year-old for­mer pitcher Billy O’Dell said about his Bal­ti­more Ori­oles team­mate. “I liked to pitch to him.” That is high praise from a hurler who won 105 games and fash­ioned a 3.29 earned run av­er­age over 13 sea­sons. Milt Pap­pas, an­other Ori­oles pitcher, who won 209 games in 17 ma­jor league sea­sons, con­curred. “Ac­tu­ally he was a pretty good catcher,” the 75-year-old Pap­pas said. “He wouldn’t be there if he weren’t.”

Start­ing with the Tigers in 1948 and end­ing with the Mets in 1962, Joe played for seven dif­fer­ent big league teams — proof that a team al­ways has room for a qual­ity re­serve catcher. Years af­ter his play­ing days, Joe ex­plained his pos­i­tive view of his no­madic ma­jor league ex­is­tence by re­lat­ing a con­ver­sa­tion he had with for­mer ma­jor lea­guer Dick Lit­tle­field, who played for 10 dif­fer­ent teams. “I liked to talk to Dick about that,” Gins­berg re­called. “I’d say, ‘Dick, you know it’s not that no­body wanted us. It’s that every­body wanted us.’”

That kind of pos­i­tive think­ing was in line with Gins­berg’s over­all per­son­al­ity. “Joe was very jovial,” Milt Pap­pas re­called. “You know, he was al­ways up­beat. He was al­ways ready to go.”

My­ron Nathan “Joe” Gins­berg was born in Man­hat­tan in 1926 to par­ents he never knew. The Gins­bergs, a Jewish cou­ple, adopted him about two months af­ter he was born and moved with their son to Detroit. Joe grew up in a Jewish house­hold and had a bar mitz­vah, but he main­tained that he “was never re­ally re­li­gious.”

But Joe’s mod­est level of ob­ser­vance did not, and could not, spare a pro­fes­sional base­ball player named Joe Gins­berg from re­li­gious bigotry. “You can’t miss it,” Joe said many years af­ter his play­ing days when asked if he ex­pe­ri­enced anti-Semitism. “You hear it once in a while com­ing out of the stands. Even the ballplay­ers will once in a while say some­thing about Jews and this and that, but you just got to let the wa­ter run off your back. You can’t be the kind of guy who wants to fight all the time if they say some­thing about your reli­gion… There’s al­ways anti-Semitism around, and you’re go­ing to hear it.”

Ac­cord­ing to Jackie Hiatt, Gins­berg’s first wife, he said that when he played for Detroit, he even heard it from Tigers’ owner Wal­ter O. Briggs. “One time [Gins­berg] was stand­ing in the bat­ting cir­cle and Old Man Briggs said, ‘Sit down, Jew­boy,’ or some­thing to that ef­fect,” Hiatt re­called.

De­spite a pedes­trian ca­reer, Gins­berg, like Lim­mer, had his mo­ments. Joe vic­tim­ized Yan­kee great Vic Raschi at Yan­kee Sta­dium, slam­ming a two-out eighth in­ning homer to spoil Raschi’s no-hit bid in 1952. Also in 1952, Joe caught the first of the Tigers’ star pitcher Vir­gil Trucks’ two no-hit­ters that year. In his years with the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles, Gins­berg, usu­ally the re­serve catcher, was of­ten se­lected to catch Hall of Famer Hoyt Wil­helm be­cause he could catch Wil­helm’s seem­ingly uncatchable knuck­le­ball bet­ter than any­one.

And there was Gins­berg, as a Red Sox player, wit­ness­ing Roger Maris’s 61st homer in 1961 and, as an orig­i­nal New York Met, catch­ing their firstever home game, in 1962. The Mets had signed the 35-year-old Gins­berg to guide their younger play­ers and there was no prospect of much play­ing time for him. But Casey Sten­gel, man­ag­ing the Mets in his fi­nal base­ball act, re­warded Gins­berg for his 13 big league years by hon­or­ing him with the start in the home opener. Un­for­tu­nately, he went hit­less in four at-bats. Af­ter one more hit­less at-bat two days later, the Mets re­leased him.

Af­ter base­ball, Gins­berg worked for a while as a sales­man for the Jack Daniels dis­tillery and then re­tired to a life of golf and base­ball fan­tasy camps in Florida.

Joe Gins­berg’s mod­est level of ob­ser­vance did not spare him from re­li­gious bigotry.

Lou Lim­mer passed away in 2007 at the age of 82. Saul Ro­govin left us in 1995, at the age of 72. Joe Gins­berg passed in 2012 at the age of 86.

In Lou Lim­mer’s two ma­jor league sea­sons, he bat­ted .202 with 19 home runs. Joe Gins­berg bat­ted .241 with 20 homers over 13 ma­jor league sea­sons. Saul Ro­govin was 48-48 with a 4.06 earned run av­er­age over his eight ma­jor league sea­sons.

No, Lim­mer, Ro­govin and Gins­berg weren’t Hank Green­berg and Sandy Ko­ufax. But they each had their own praise­wor­thy lives and ac­com­plish­ments as Jewish big lea­guers. And col­lec­tively, they had their unique gath­er­ing in Briggs Sta­dium on May 2, 1951.

With Lou Lim­mer ready in the bat­ters’ box, Saul Ro­govin trained his droopy eyes on Joe Gins­berg’s glove, launched into his crazy pitch­ing mo­tion, and fired the first pitch.

Lim­mer swung as the ball neared the plate. Gins­berg reached for the ball and squeezed his glove but caught only air as Lou slammed the ball into the right field stands for a game-ty­ing home run.

“I guess you’re the win­ner, Lou,” the um­pire said as Lim­mer crossed the plate.

But years later, Lim­mer didn’t see it that way. “It so hap­pens,” he said, “I wasn’t [the win­ner], be­cause Joe Gins­berg stayed with Detroit and Saul Ro­govin went to the White Sox that year and he led the league in ERA and poor Lou Lim­mer, he got shipped to the mi­nors.”

Mur­ray Green­berg, a New York jour­nal­ist and writer, is the au­thor of “Pass­ing Game: Benny Fried­man and the Trans­for­ma­tion of Foot­ball” (PublicAf­fairs, 2008).


Street of Dreams: At the mo­ment in ques­tion, the Detroit Tigers were play­ing at home at Briggs Sta­dium.


From left: Joe Gins­berg, Lou Lim­mer, Saul Ro­govin.


Not That Cham­pi­onship Sea­son: In the 9th in­ning on May 2, 1951, in Briggs Sta­dium, things were look­ing bleak for the Philadel­phia Ath­let­ics.

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