Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rabbi of Swat

The Moose takes a late August break from politics and celebrates the new Rabbi of Swat.

A significant tribal record may soon fall in baseball. The New York Times reported on Sunday,

"BEFORE Barry Bonds reaches Henry Aaron's career home run record, another home run milestone could fall. Shawn Green, with 314 career home runs, is only 17 from matching Hank Greenberg's standard as the career leader among Jewish players.

All of Jewish New York is kvelling over the Mets recent acquisition of Shawn Green from the Diamondbacks. Saturday's New York Times,

"Not that there's any pressure on Shawn Green to succeed in New York, but when Mr. Green's power-hitting right fielder, two-time All-Star, Jew - took the field in a Mets uniform for the first time on Thursday, a fan named Corey Mintz held up a poster with Mr. Green's photo on it.

"The messiah has arrived"the poster read."

Needless to say, that was a bit of baseball hyperbole. But nevertheless, Green's arrival is big news to Jewish New Yorkers (even to Yankees fans) who have not had a tribesman to root for since the Met Art Shamsky and the great Yankee Ron Blomberg roamed the diamonds in the Big Apple. In the past, Green has even observed (with a slight modification) the High Holy Days,

"In 2004, Green sat out a pennant race game for the Los Angeles Dodgers in observance of Kol Nidre, the start of Yom Kippur. He played the following day while Yom Kippur was concluding. In 2001, he observed Yom Kippur and ended a streak of 415 consecutive games played."

Just as hopefully there will be in the future a Jewish Governor of the Lone Star State (Kinky plug), there was once a "Rabbi of Swat" in the Polo Grounds,

"Have you ever heard of the Rabbi of Swat?" asked Martin Abramowitz, president of Jewish Major Leaguers, a nonprofit group. There really was one. His name was Mose Solomon, and he played in two games for the New York Giants in 1923 before switching to football."

A Jewish Major Leaguers group - only in America!

This story even gets more interesting. Despite his home run prowess, no one would confuse Shawn Green for the great Hank Greenberg. However, it appears that they have even more in common - their name!

"If Green does pass Greenberg for career home runs, the name of the standard-bearer won't change all that much. In fact, Green's grandfather shortened the family name from Greenberg."

Jewish kids desperately need more Jewish athletes to emulate. Where is the next Koufax? Can't some philanthropists devote funds to a crash program to develop more Shawn Greens? Shouldn't Brandeis upgrade its athletic program? Fewer lawyers and more right fielders.

And by the way, Shawn Greenberg has a nice ring to it!
-- Posted at 8:38 AM | Link to this post | Email this post