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Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One (Jewish Lives)by Mark Kurlansky
Synopses & Reviews
In descriptions of athletes, the word and#8220;heroand#8221; is bandied about and liberally attached to players with outstanding statistics and championship rings. Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life is the story of a man who epitomized heroism in its truest meaning, holding values and personal interactions to be of utmost importance throughout his lifeand#8212;on the diamond, as a marine in World War II, and in his personal and civic life. A New York City icon and, with the Brooklyn Dodgers, one of the finest first basemen of all time, Gil Hodges (1924and#8211;72) managed the Washington Senators and later the New York Mets, leading the 1969 and#8220;Miracle Metsand#8221; to a World Series championship. A beloved baseball star, Hodges was also an ethical figure whose sturdy values both on and off the field once prompted a Brooklyn priest to tell his congregation to and#8220;go home, and say a prayer for Gil Hodgesand#8221; in order to snap him out of the worst batting slump of his career.
Mort Zachter examines Hodgesand#8217;s playing and managing days, but perhaps more important, he unearths his true heroism by emphasizing the impact that Hodgesand#8217;s humanity had on those around him on a daily basis. Hodges was a witty man with a dry sense of humor, and his dignity and humble sacrifice sometimes masked a temper that made Joe Torre refer to him as the and#8220;Quiet Inferno.and#8221; The honesty and integrity that made him so popular to so many remained his defining elements. Firsthand interviews of the many soldiers, friends, family, former teammates, players, and managers who knew and respected Hodges bring the totality of his life into full view, providing a rounded appreciation for this great man and ballplayer.
"Baseball legend Hank Greenberg is remembered not only for hard hitting and an imposing physical presence, but for bravery in facing down bigots who resented the Jewish athlete's ethnicity. The Bronx-born kid achieved stardom with the Detroit Tigers in the Ã¢Â€Â˜30s, served in WWII, and eventually took a management position. Early notoriety came when he famously refused to play ball on Yom Kippur. Jewish parents of that era were less than anxious for their sons to pursue sports, preferring education and the more cerebral professions that followed. While some Jewish athletes changed their names, Greenberg stood proud, even though Detroit had been characterized as the most anti-Semitic city in America, helped in large part by Henry Ford's notoriously anti-Jewish newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. Though Greenberg 'was sensitive to his responsibility to his people, the grandness of that role conflicted with his natural humility.' He was an ardent supporter of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American major-leaguer, as well as others who suffered prejudice. Kurlansky's (The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de MacorÃs) slim volume puts a fascinating period of sports history into a vivid cultural context. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The remarkable life story of the first Jewish superstar athlete, by New York Times best-selling author Mark Kurlansky
New York Times best-selling author Mark Kurlansky delivers the compelling life story of Hank Greenberg, the first Jewish player elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hailing from suburban Los Angeles, raised by supportive parents, and educated at a boys-only parochial school, Darryl Henley had it all. He earned a history degree from UCLA, became a first-team All American for the Bruins in 1988, and was a rising star as the starting cornerback for the LA Rams in the early nineties. How Henley, in the space of three short years, went from golden NFL role model to federal inmate is one of the most bizarre stories in the annals of sport-stars-turned-criminal.
The product of eight years of investigative research and over one hundred interviews, Intercepted takes us into Henleyand#8217;s fourth season in the NFL, when he met Rams cheerleader Tracy Donaho and bumped into a boyhood friend named Willie McGowan, a onetime youth-league standout who had since turned to drug trafficking. Henley, Donaho, and McGowan embark on a scheme to transport cocaine that lands Henley in federal prison, where he attempts to arrange a Mafia hit on the sentencing judge and Donaho, who had been the star witness against Henley at his trial. Detailing how one of the best and brightest of our professional athletes destroyed himself through temptation, arrogance, and anger at a justice system that he felt had failed him, Intercepted is also a cautionary tale about American culture, as disturbing as it is impossible to ignore.
From the teamand#8217;s inception in 1903, the New York Yankees were a floundering group that played as second-class citizens to the New York Giants. With four winning seasons to date, the team was purchased in 1915 by Jacob Ruppert and his partner, Cap and#8220;Tiland#8221; Huston. Three years later, when Ruppert hired Miller Huggins as manager, the unlikely partnership of the two figures began, one that set into motion the Yankeesand#8217; run as the dominant baseball franchise of the 1920s and the rest of the twentieth century, capturing six American League pennants with Huggins at the helm and four more during Ruppertand#8217;s lifetime.
The Yankeesand#8217; success was driven by Ruppertand#8217;s executive style and enduring financial commitment, combined with Hugginsand#8217;s philosophy of continual improvement and personnel development. While Ruppert and Huggins had more than a little help from one of baseballand#8217;s greats, Babe Ruth, their close relationship has been overlooked in the Yankeesand#8217; rise to dominance. Though both were small of stature, the two men nonetheless became giants of the game with unassailable mutual trust and loyalty. The Colonel and Hug tells the story of how these two men transformed the Yankees. It also tells the larger story about baseball primarily in the tumultuous period from 1918 to 1929and#8212;with the end of the Deadball Era and the rise of the Lively Ball Era, a gambling scandal, and the collapse of baseballand#8217;s governing structureand#8212;and the significant role the Yankees played in it all. While the hitting of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig won many games for New York, Ruppert and Huggins institutionalized winning for the Yankees.
About the Author
Mark Kurlansky has written, edited, or contributed to twenty books, which have been translated into twenty-five languages and won numerous prizes. His previous books Cod, Salt, 1968, and The Food of a Younger Land were all New York Times best-sellers.
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