Jewish Baseball – From the DJN Davidson Digital Archive
It’s summer now and the baseball season is well under way. The roster of our beloved home team, the Detroit Tigers, is much different from last year. Jewish second baseman Ian Kinsler was traded over the winter and, soon after last year’s season concluded, the Tigers’ Jewish manager, Brad Ausmus, was fired. This is a stark reminder that Major League Baseball is a business; success is a matter of production and wins. And that there are still only a few Jewish players in the game.
Kinsler is still playing baseball for the Los Angeles Angels, and Ausmus had a long career in the big leagues, so I don’t feel too sorry for them.
Recently, in the Davidson Digital Archives, a photo on the front page of the May 27, 1932, Jewish Chronicle caught my eye and reminded me that some players are not as lucky.
The photo was that of Detroit Tigers pitcher Isadore “Izzy” Goldstein, who had just made his first appearance in the Big Leagues. The tagline read: “Will He Make Good After Debut?”
After working hard for seven years in the minor leagues, Goldstein only played in 16 games, all with the Tigers, compiling a 3-2 record and a 4.47 earned run average. Not so good. He was also one of the few Jewish baseball players in the majors at the time. Goldstein retired in 1938 and worked in the clothing industry in New York for the rest of his life, with a short hiatus when he served in the South Pacific during World War II.
Izzy Goldstein had a shot at the Big Leagues, a chance that only a few ever attain. And, for at least 16 games, he was a Jewish Detroiter.
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