The Jewish Sport Report: Hank Greenberg’s 1934 High Holiday conundrum


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Hello, and shana tova to all those celebrating Rosh Hashanah, which begins tonight.

The life of a sports executive can be unpredictable. This week alone, the revolving door of baseball operations bosses saw David Stearns return to New York to run his hometown Mets and Chaim Bloom get abruptly fired by the Boston Red Sox.

As the Jewish podcasting duo Cespedes Family BBQ pointed out on social media, that makes for a “shana lo tova” — a not happy new year — for Bloom, who is an observant Jew.

Looking back at Hank Greenberg’s 1934 Rosh Hashanah dilemma

Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg scores after hitting a home run to give the Detroit Tigers a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox, Sept. 10, 1934. (UPI/Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

The year is 1934, and future Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg is enjoying a breakout season for his American League-leading Detroit Tigers.

On Sept. 10, the Tigers were set to face the Boston Red Sox in a crucial game as they looked to hold onto their lead over Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees in the pennant race.

There was just one problem: the game fell on Rosh Hashanah.

Greenberg, who was raised in an Orthodox family, was torn. Playing would feel wrong on one of the holiest days in the Jewish year. Sitting out would mean letting his team down when it mattered most.

Click here to see what Greenberg ultimately decided — and how the game turned out.

Halftime report

ON TO THE NEXT ONE. Israel’s national soccer team — which features Premier League player Manor Solomon — is one step closer to qualifying for the 2024 European Championship. It would be their first qualification for a major soccer tournament since the 1970 World Cup. Israel beat Belarus 1-0 in a qualifying match on Tuesday on an injury-time goal from Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Gabi Kanichowsky. Next up they’ll have to beat Switzerland on Oct. 12.

SERVE’S UP. Israel is gearing up for another Tel Aviv Watergen Open, which has become a premier international tennis tournament (all-time great Novak Djokovic played in and won the men’s contest last year). Organizers are working to expand the main court’s seating capacity to 4,500 to accommodate an increase in fan interest. The tournament will take place Nov. 5-11 and feature $1 million in prize money.

IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY. Sport Report readers know that Jewish MLB rookie Zack Gelof has been tearing it up with the Oakland Athletics. But his younger brother Jake is also on fire, in the minor leagues. The younger Gelof, who was drafted this summer by the Los Angeles Dodgers and is playing in Single-A, was just named Minor League Player of the Week in the California League after posting a .360 batting average with 16 RBI in just six games.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN. Speaking of Jewish sports family dynasties, Quinn Hughes was just named captain of the Vancouver Canucks, joining a small group of Jewish NHL players to have ever earned that honor. Quinn’s brother Jack is an alternate captain for the New Jersey Devils, while current Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant Coach Jeff Halpern served as captain of the Washington Capitals (and of the U.S. National Team) during his playing career.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Greg Joseph and the Minnesota Vikings kicked off NFL Week 2 last night with a 34-28 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. Here’s the rest of the Jewish schedule in the NFL this week:

  • Sunday at 1 p.m. ET: Jake Curhan and the Seattle Seahawks play the Detroit Lions, while A.J. Dillon and the Green Bay Packers square off against the Atlanta Falcons.
  • Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET: Michael Dunn and the Cleveland Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.


Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer takes the mound Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET during a crucial series against the Tampa Bay Rays — the winner takes control of the AL East. Joc Pederson and the San Francisco Giants face Jake Bird and the Colorado Rockies this weekend, while Zack Weiss and the Boston Red Sox take on Spencer Horwitz and the Toronto Blue Jays.


Manor Solomon is back with Tottenham after playing with Israel earlier this week. The Spurs face Sheffield United Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. Daniel Edelman and the New York Red Bulls host their crosstown rivals, New York City F.C., Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. (It is unclear whether either player will suit up on Rosh Hashanah.)


Max Homa is back in action this weekend at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California — which he won each of the last two years. David Lipsky is also competing in the tournament, while Ben Silverman is at the Simmons Bank Open in Tennessee.


Lance Stroll will be on the grid for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, Sunday at 8 a.m. ET.

Bernie trades his mittens for a baseball glove

You may have seen the viral video of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders making a slick catch while pitching to his grandson. “Pitching Ninja” Rob Friedmancheck out our profile of the social media star here — put a fun spin on the clip, comparing the 82-year-old’s fielding to that of Hall of Fame pitcher and 18-time Gold Glove winner Greg Maddux.

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