American Jews & America's Game
American Jews & America's Game
Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball
University of Nebraska Press, Hardcover, 9780803264755, 510pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
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.
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.
"This longtime attorney remains a gentle, always enthusiastic questioner, interested in his subjects' love for the game, their experiences with anti-Semitism and their connection to their faith."—Kirkus
"Jews have played a key role in baseball history, as has been frequently noted. There is now a celebratory tone to the topic, and this book is firmly within the new tradition."—Library Journal
"American Jews and America's Game is a highly personal, heartfelt collaborative exploration between the interviewer, his subject and its participants and devotees."—Adrew P. Fleischer, Jewish Journal
-Adrew P. Fleischer
"[American Jews and America's Game is] a tremendous piece of work, and we're lucky to have it."—Rob Neyer, Baseballnation.com
“The historian Jacques Barzun was right when he said, ‘Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.’ Larry Ruttman knows that too, and that is why I chose to write this Foreword to his book American Jews and America's Game. His stories cover almost one hundred years of American history and the place of American Jews in that history. . . . This is a book that celebrates family—baseball’s, yours, and mine.”—from the foreword by Allan H. “Bud” Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball
-Allan H. Bud Selig
“This book of intimate and revealing conversations with Jews who care passionately about baseball is a surprise and delight. . . . In the tradition of Studs Terkel, Ruttman’s warm and folksy style lets us feel like we’re in the room with them as they share their thoughts and feelings about Judaism, baseball, and life. It’s a great read. Ruttman has a gift for bringing people out and the results are fabulous.”—Rabbi Rebecca T. Alpert, associate professor of religion at Temple University and author of Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball
-Rabbi Rebecca T. Alpert