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Saturday, September 14, 2013

He wouldn't play on Yom Kippur

I'm sure that many of you looked at the title of this post and thought I was going to talk about Sandy Koufax, who was my generation's Jew who refused to play baseball on Yom Kippur. But no, this post is about Hank Greenberg.
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 Murphy s 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 on 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!”
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