American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball

by Larry Ruttman

Other authorsAllan H Selig (Foreword), Dr. Martin Abramowitz (Introduction)
Book, 2013




University of Nebraska Press (2013), Edition: Illustrated, 544 pages


Most fans don’t know how far the Jewish presence in baseball extends beyond a few famous players such as Greenberg, Rosen, Koufax, Holtzman, Green, Ausmus, Youkilis, Braun, and Kinsler. In fact, that presence extends to the baseball commissioner Bud Selig, labor leaders Marvin Miller and Don Fehr, owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Stuart Sternberg, officials Theo Epstein and Mark Shapiro, sportswriters Murray Chass, Ross Newhan, Ira Berkow, and Roger Kahn, and even famous Jewish baseball fans like Alan Dershowitz and Barney Frank.nbsp; The life stories of these and many others, on and off the field, have been compiled from nearly fifty in-depth interviews and arranged by decade in this edifying and entertaining work of oral and cultural history. In American Jews and America’s Game each person talks about growing up Jewish and dealing with Jewish identity, assimilation, intermarriage, future viability, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel. Each tells about being in the midst of the colorful pantheon of players who, over the past seventy-five years or more, have made baseball what it is. Their stories tell, as no previous book has, the history of the larger-than-life role of Jews in America’s pastime.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member bostonian71
Worth reading for the breadth of interviews, not only about/with the usual subjects (Greenberg and Koufax) but also front office types, academics and even two women who played in the all-girls league during World War II. My one big complaint is with Ruttman, whose agenda and general interviewing
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style (including completely unnecessary summing-ups at the end of each interview) often makes his own viewpoint more prominent than those of the people he interviews. I particularly dislike how he tries to get certain people to admit that they feel their values are specifically Jewish, even right after they've said they don't feel that way. I could also have done without his usually long and often unnecessary explanations of Jewish concepts like Torah and Purim and mini-histories for every single baseball player mentioned, sometimes with accompanying photos that don't add anything to the book; he doesn't seem to realize that anyone who would pick this up would almost certainly have to be interested in Jews, baseball or both and thus would get annoyed at the constant interruptions by comments that would've made more sense in a glossary at the back. (And what book needs a foreword, a preface, acknowledgments that repeat a lot of the preface, AND an introduction?) I don't regret reading the book, but I do wish the mix of voices in it didn't feature his own voice quite so much.
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Original language


Physical description

544 p.; 10.5 inches


0803264755 / 9780803264755
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