The Hebrew Hammers
In 1950, Cleveland’s third baseman, Al Rosen, hit 37 home runs – a record at the time for a rookie. He quickly became known as the Hebrew Hammer II in recognition of the great Hank Greenberg, who was bestowed with the original Hebrew Hammer monitor. Both were great hitters - Greenberg, four-time AL leader in home runs and RBIs in the 1930s and 40s, and Rosen, two-time AL leader in home runs and RBIs. In 1953, Rosen came within one percentage point of winning the batting crown, which would have given him the triple crown. Beyond baseball, both were proud to represent and defend their Jewish religion. Both wanted to be remembered as great ballplayers and even more as great Jewish ballplayers. They stood by their faith despite insults and slurs being aimed at them for refusing to play on Jewish holidays. Other Jewish ballplayers have been proud to display their heritage, including Sandy Koufax, who refused to pitch on Yum Kippur despite being the first game of the 1965 World Series. Greenberg and Rosen went on to successful careers as team executives following their playing days.
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