Monday, March 29, 2010

Before the holiday...

The ADL found Jimmy Carter's apology to be insincere.
"As far as I'm concerned, there is no 'Al Chet,' " Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director, said in the statement, referring to Carter's evocation of a prayer for forgiveness said on Yom Kippur. "President Carter's recent comments on Israel are profoundly disappointing and leave little doubt of the insincerity of his apology."
In other developments, is the president alienating Jewish voters?

Ron Kampeas offers his thoughts on the new host of ABC's sunday political show, This Week.

Religion may have been the reason as to why Hank Greenberg hit as many home runs as he did.
Evidence has finally been published that seems to resolve a 72-year-old mystery. When Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers made a run at Babe Ruth’s season home run record, falling two short with 58 in 1938, was he pitched around because he was Jewish?

It is impossible to know what was in pitchers’ hearts, but it is also impossible to ignore the statistical record. In short, the American League didn’t seem exactly thrilled with Greenberg’s pursuit.

Until the Web site recently published game logs for the 1938 season, the subject of anti-Semitism during Greenberg’s record chase was a matter of opinion.

Some members of Greenberg’s family and legions of his fans believed that anti-Semitic pitchers had walked Greenberg often to keep him from a fair shot at Ruth, who set the record in 1927. Greenberg, however, called such a view “pure baloney.” To shift responsibility for his falling short of the record onto others would have been out of character.

Greenberg received many more walks as he chased Ruth in 1938 than he did in the rest of his career. Almost no other hitter going after the home run record had anything like Greenberg’s late-season spike in bases on balls. He had 119 walks to lead the A.L., the only time he did so, and they accounted for 17.5 percent of his 681 plate appearances.

But the way pitchers handled Greenberg early in the season was clearly different than the way they approached him as Ruth’s record came into view. Greenberg had four three-walk games in the final two months of the 1938 season, three in September.

By comparison, he had no three-walk games in 1937, when he drove in 183 runs; one in 1935, when he won his first Most Valuable Player award; and three in 1940, his second M.V.P. year.

Over all, Greenberg walked in 15.9 percent of his plate appearances through the end of August 1938. In September, that rate jumped to 20.4 percent. His walk rate was 14.5 percent in 1937 and 15 percent in 1939.

Something changed down the stretch in 1938, and it was not in Greenberg’s approach.

He said he felt “if I, as a Jew, hit a home run, I was hitting one against Hitler.” So he had compelling reasons not to take a walk.

Greenberg’s treatment stands in contrast to the other single-season record challengers. In 1932, Jimmie Foxx also finished with 58 home runs. Foxx walked in 16.6 percent of his plate appearances that season; that September, his walk rate was 17.1 percent.

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