Charles Bronfman had the signal honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the third game of the World Series here Tuesday night, in recognition for having brought professional major league baseball to Canada in 1969 with his Montreal Expos National League franchise.
The Seagram whisky heir’s toss symbolizes Jews’ full acceptance in Canadian and American society. Absent is the drama of Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitcher Sandy Kofax’s refusal to play ball on Yom Kippur in the opener of the 1965 World Series.
And long forgotten is the notoriety created in 1934 when Detroit Tigers slugger Hank Greenberg opted to spend the Day of Atonement in synagogue rather than at Navin Field.
The pitch is a source of pride for the 150,000 Jews here, many of whom have been gripped by baseball fever this fall as Toronto’s darling Blue Jays soared to the American League East pennant, the league championship and on to the World Series, the first played outside the United States since the tournament began in 1903.