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A Jewish State
Theodor Herzl proposes a solution to the 'Jewish Question' and to anti-Semitism: a separate and independent ...
My Father's Girl
Jane Addams, whose Hull-House became a symbol of progressive reform, here remembers her father who helped ...
Paris Goes to War
As the World War engulfs Europe in August 1914, Edith Wharton reports from Paris on the ...
Lord Charnwood recounts the development and importance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, a signal event in American ...
Darwin Changes His Mind
Here is Darwin’s account of his visit to the Galapagos Islands with its myriad species, which ...
A Grand Way to Chronicle a War
A fascinating glimpse of World War II journalism behind the front lines at Paris’s Hotel Scribe, ...
The Genius and the Jerk
Walter Vatter explores the early years of Steve Jobs--was he a genius, or simply an expert ...
How early detection and mass screening have turned prostate cancer ...
High and Tight - Preview
Hank Greenberg Confronts Anti-Semitism in Baseball
by Ray Robinson
It happened almost seventy years ago, but I can still hear the harsh, accusatory words from the mouth of an unreconstructed Southern bigot. I was a GI, stationed at the time at Barksdale Air Base in Shreveport, Louisiana, when I decided one Saturday to attend a high school football game in the area.
Perched high in the wooden stands, I found my concentration rudely interrupted by a beery voice as it blurted out its hateful message to the world about a baseball player named Hank Greenberg. Since I had always been an admirer of Greenberg, I couldn’t help but listen to the man.
“That goddamn Hank Greenberg!” the voice shrieked. I strained to hear the rest of the peckerwood oration. “That Jew-lover Navin got rid of you so that Jew bastard could play first base! Everybody knows Greenberg didn’t deserve it!”
It is one of the ironies of life, I guess, that I was probably one of the only people in that 1ittle stadium who appreciated that the maligned Navin—Frank Navin—was the owner of the Detroit Tigers major league club. But that’s beside the point, for I knew more about baseball at the time than almost anything else in my young life.
I knew, for example, that the “you” addressed by the voice had to be a well-forgotten ballplayer named Harry “Stinky” Davis, who had been born in Shreveport. (Ballplayers had colorful, useful nicknames in those years, didn’t they?—names like Jumbo, Bump, Dizzy, Daffy, Dazzy, Fatty, Specs, Lippy. Stinky was in that tradition.)