Jews & Sports

from Big Mo's Sports Desk

Al Rosen 1924-2015 - 1953 MVP

Al Rosen, the American League's Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1953, died at his home in California on Friday at age 91.

The former four-time all-star third baseman for the Cleveland Indians in later years was president of the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros and finally the San Francisco Giants, where became the only former MVP to also earn the Executive of the Year award..

He was a proud Jew, who even before Sandy Koufax, he refused to play on the High Holy Days (Rosh HaShana too, not just Yom Kippur). Once, when Ed Sullivan (famous columnist and TV host,) suggested that Rosen's habit of drawing a "cross" in the dirt with his bat indicated he might be a Catholic, Rosen said the "cross" was an "x" and demanded that Sullivan retract his comment.

He was known to be proud of being a Jew and An on-the-field incident almost ended with a fight when a player for an opposing team called him a "Jew bxxxxxd." Rosen immediately challenged him to a fight, and the player backed down.

Hank Greenberg, another Jewish baseball legend, once said that Rosen "want[ed] to go into the stands and murder" fans who hurled anti-Semitic insults at him.

In a 2010 documentary on Jews and baseball, Rosen said, "There's a time that you let it be known that enough is enough. . . .You flatten [them]."

As a slugger for the Indians in the 1950s, Rosen several times led the American League in home runs and RBIs ('runs batted in')." In 1953, his MVP year, he slammed 43 homers, had 145 RBIs, and a batting average of .336. // ranks Rosen's 1953 season is the greatest ever by a third baseman and ranked 164th overall in baseball's long history.

Rosen was born in South Carolina and moved to Miami at a very young age. His first wife died in 1971. He is survived by his second wife, three sons, two stepchildren, four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

[Expanded from an obituary by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu for //]

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