Koufax, Greenberg and Yom Kippur
Meant to get this out BEFORE Yom Kippur was over but, you know ...
But there was perhaps a more interesting Yom Kippur World Series decision made thirty years earlier.
Hank Greenberg grew up in Orthodox Jewish family, meaning his childhood was very different from Sandy Koufax’s more secular upbringing. Koufax did not have a Bar Mitzvah, he did not go to temple, he was Jewish by birth and by the neighborhood where he grew up in Brooklyn. Greenberg’s parents, on the other hand, were Romanian immigrants who were observant Jews. They meant to name young Hank Greenberg “Hyman” – a derivative of the Jewish name Chaim, meaning life – but the hospital was unfamiliar with the name and wrote down “Henry” instead. They kept a kosher kitchen, spoke Yiddish to young Hy Greenberg, took him to synagogue on a weekly basis and raised him to fast on Yom Kippur and light the menorah on Hanukkah. At 13, he had his Bar Mitzvah.
“Quit that baseball already,” his father, David Greenberg, shouted at him. “It’s a game for bums.”