Non­fic­tion

Des­ig­nat­ed Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story

Ron Blomberg, As Told To Dan Schlossberg
  • Review
By – May 14, 2012

Des­ig­nat­ed Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Sto­ry is a pleas­ant lit­tle book that recounts the base­ball career of Ron Blomberg. With the writ­ing assis­tance of Dan Schloss­berg, Blomberg recalls his eight sea­sons in baseball’s major leagues, most­ly with the New York Yan­kees, and how his injuries under­mined his talent. 

Despite flash­es of bril­liance, ulti­mate­ly Blomberg is best remem­bered for an essen­tial­ly pas­sive act: on April 6, 1973, he entered the record book as the first des­ig­nat­ed hit­ter to come to bat in a major league game, but drew a base on balls. The bat he used, com­plete with a Star of David drawn on the knob, is now dis­played in Coop­er­stown at the Base­ball Hall of Fame. Thus, Blomberg is rep­re­sent­ed by an imple­ment of force, but cel­e­brat­ed for an at-bat which did not require its use. Instead of Blomberg Swings,” the cap­tion for the dis­play should read, Blomberg Watches.” 

Embraced as the Jew­ish Yan­kee,” Blomberg tells about his recent­ly-dis­cov­ered con­nec­tion to Israel, as well as the Bronx. Play­ing in New York gave him a Jew­ish iden­ti­ty, and mak­ing a game-win­ning hit before the start of Rosh Hashanah in 1973 gave him hero sta­tus as the Sun­down Kid,” but it also exposed him to anti-Semit­ic taunts. It is dis­ap­point­ing, there­fore, that such a free-swinger would offer obser­va­tions such as a cou­ple of play­ers were def­i­nite­ly anti-Semit­ic” and Now that I wasn’t con­sid­ered a super­star-in-the wings, some anti-Semi­tism emerged on occa­sion from a few of my team­mates” with­out iden­ti­fy­ing his antagonists. 

This is a good gift for young base­ball fans, show­ing them that Jew­ish iden­ti­ty can be built in a myr­i­ad of ways.

Noël Kriftch­er was a pro­fes­sor and admin­is­tra­tor at Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­si­ty, hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly served as Super­in­ten­dent of New York City’s Brook­lyn & Stat­en Island High Schools district.

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