Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 16, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 12

OPINION12 Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 16, 2022 OPINION12 Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 16, 2022 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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A couple of my friends responding to my recent articles have 

let me know that they are concerned that I seem to be so an

gry and isolated. They tell me there are other options. It’s true 

that I am angry that they don’t join in my feelings but instead 

are off vacationing and having a good time or something. 

Please understand that to me this does not seem to be a pos

sible option. The whole world is coming apart, the human 

habitability of the planet is threatened and to me it seems like 

everyone is ignoring it and finding other diversions. It’s true 

that even I was diverted yesterday by watching Kershaw throw 
seven perfect innings and I spent a little time wondering if removing him after seven innings 
was the right move. 

If you aren’t paying any attention to baseball and never cared about it in the first 
place I completely understand but for me paying attention to commercially presented 
sports was always a pleasant escape from a difficult reality. Recently I wrote about my 
discovery of a large ancient Philco Radio in one of the rooms of the Dish Restaurant on 
Foothill in La Canada. Seeing that radio, and even thinking about it now, brings a picture 
of me sitting in front of the radio spreading out my baseball cards to coincide with the 
position of the actual players and moving those cards around in accord with the broad-
casted happenings of the game. Listening to those games I did not feel isolated. It was as 
if I was a member of the team. I can still imagine hearing the announcer pleading for the 
batter to do something wonderful by saying, “Hank old boy if you ever hit one before, hit 
one now”. And Hank often did come through being named the National League Most 
Valuable Player in 1952 even though the Cubs finished in fifth place in the eight team 
National League. 

It’s odd to remember how much I enjoyed sitting in front of the huge radio with 
my baseball cards and listening to the games. I needed nothing more. I had the option 
to listen to all the Cubs and White Sox games and even the Cardinal games which I could 
occasionally find on the radio. It’s hard to explain how precious the time was when I 
could actually find those games on the radio. My hero was a guy on the fifth place Cubs, 
frequently they didn’t do that well, and that was part of the fascination. The striving to 
do well and the acceptance of a kind of pre-ordained failure and the belief that we could 
wait ‘til next year and pretend to ourselves that things would be better then. Wait ‘til next 
year was actually the cry of the perpetually failing Brooklyn Dodger fans whose team was 
established in 1884 and never won the pennant until 1955 after which they thanked their 
fans by moving to Los Angeles two years later. (Ironic, isn’t it?) 

By that time I too with my family had moved to Los Angeles, a very different 
town. In Los Angeles there was no “wait ‘til next year”. The only thing that counts here 
is now and the Dodgers won the pennant in 1959 and have won eleven more since. Sadly, 
notwithstanding Kershaw’s accomplishment of today, I don’t care very much anymore. 
There is so much televised sports on so many channels that, for me, it is like being surrounded 
by desserts when it turns out that I am diabetic. When I do spend a little time 
watching a game I am disappointed that I am not familiar with the announcers and there 
seems to be a commercial every second playing on the screen. I think that even as a kid 
in Chicago I knew that the Cubs were being provided as a clever way of selling chewing 
gum and helping somebody make money. That was okay and I gladly chewed my Juicy 
Fruit gum whenever I could as a sign of my support and a feeling of belonging. Now I feel 
not like a supporter but more as a victim. You and 

I cannot help but notice that the presentation of sports and everything else is simply a 
way of making money. The people making the money, the super-rich have now been 
revealed as evil-doers. Then names of Stadiums have been changed to reflect the greater 
importance of money. A “Staple” I could understand—in a way, it’s like chewing gum. 
Now the place is called Crypto. Com Arena and I don’t want to go there. Meanwhile the 
world is falling apart and whose fault is it? Right, last week I used the word “anthropogenic” 
to emphasize that the present potential destruction is the fault of Humans and that 
we humans are not interested in doing very much about it. 

 I feel powerless, yes and angry and isolated. Perversely I dream that we humans have the 
option to stop the destruction and use the moneys to protect the lives of future generations. 
See, I am angry and isolated but I am also an optimist! 




In 1866, Lipman Pike became the first great professional Jewish 
baseball player when he signed a $20-a-week contract to hold 
down the hot corner for the Philadelphia Athletics. 

Lip, as Pike was known, was a dominant power hitter whose numerous 
home runs soared beyond outfielders’ reach. When the 
popular Pike passed away prematurely at age 48, The Sporting 
News, baseball’s Bible, published a tribute that include these glowing 
comments: “Pike…was one of the few sons of Israel who ever 
drifted to the business of ball playing. He was a handsome fellow 
when he was here, and the way he used to hit that ball was responsible for many a scene 
of enthusiasm at the old avenue grounds.” 

Since Pike, many more Jewish superstars have excelled on the diamond. Most famous 
among them is Sandy Koufax, the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame lefty who was the first pitcher to 
win three Cy Young Awards, and the only pitcher to capture the award when it was given 
to just one major leaguer. Koufax won pitching’s Triple Crown – wins, strike outs and 
ERA, in 1963, 1965 and 1966, and hurled four no-hitters, one of them a perfect game. 

Hank Greenberg is another Jewish baseball standout, and a World War II hero. Greenberg’s 
power statistics are on a par with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Jimmie 
Foxx. After enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Greenberg rose to First Lieutenant, and 
was active in the China-Burma-India Theater. 

Al Rosen, a four-year World War II Navy vet and Cleveland Indians third baseman, is 
the only player to win both the Most Valuable Player, and the MLB Executive of the Year 
awards. Rosen, a successful amateur boxer with a vicious right upper cut who described 
himself as “one tough Jew,” unanimously won his MVP in 1953, and for his front office 
efforts that guided the San Francisco Giants’ from first to last place in 1987, he was 
elected Executive of the Year. 

In baseball circles, Koufax, Greenberg and Rosen are well-known. But the compelling 
1923 tale about Mose Solomon, the “Rabbi of Swat,” blends the long-gone Class C low 
minor Southwestern League’s Hutchinson Wheat Shockers with early 1900s Jewish immigration 
to New York, the World Champion Giants, its manager John J. McGraw and 
his desperate but ultimately futile search for a slugger who could match Babe Ruth’s home 
run power, thereby siphoning off Ruth-crazed bugs from the hated Yankees. 

In his book, “The League of Outsider Baseball,” Gary Cieradkowski wrote that when 
word reached McGraw that by September 1923 Solomon had blasted a then-professional 
record 49 homers, was hitting .421, leading the league in doubles, hits and runs scored, 
the Giants manager was convinced that the “Jewish Babe Ruth” would spearhead the Jints 
to financial success. 

Within the blink of an eye, the Giants paid the Wheat Shockers $4,500 for Solomon’s 
contract, and soon thereafter “The Rabbi of Swat” was riding the rail toward New York. 
But McGraw soon realized he had no place in the lineup for Kansas’ home run phenom. 
The Giants’ first base position and its outfield were populated by future HOFers George 
“High Pockets” Kelly, Casey Stengel, Ross Youngs and Hack Wilson. While Solomon 
rode the pine, the very vocal cranks demanded that the Jewish Babe Ruth be put into a 

McGraw gave in, and on the season’s last home tilt Solomon hit a game-winning double 
against the Philadelphia Phillies. Solomon got into one more game in 1923, and ended his 
season – and his major league career – with three hits in eight at bats, a .375 batting average. 
The Rabbi’s problem was, as scouts said, “He could poke’em, but he couldn’t pick’em,” 
a reference to Solomon’s 31 errors in 108 games in Kansas. Solomon was promptly dispatched 
back to the minors where he resumed his lusty batting prowess – seven seasons 
of .300 or higher. 

When Mose realized his baseball days were behind him, he took up semi-pro football, 
and played effectively until injuries sidelined him for good – a lucky break for the Rabbi 
as things turned out. Solomon and his wife moved to Miami where he started a long, 
lucrative real estate business until his peaceful 1965 death. 

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers’ Association 
member. Contact him at 



What is repartee? “A quick and witty reply.” 
Repartee also refers to the ability to 
make clever replies. In layman’s terms it is 
what we wish we had said on most occasions, 
had we thought of it. And what we 
are most proud of when we do hit the bull’s 
eye…verbally speaking. 

Mark Twain tells us repartee is; “…something we think of twenty-
four hours too late”. And it is true a talent for repartee is one 
that increases with practice. 

What happens when you get two masters of repartee going at 
each other? We can see it in an exchange between George Bernard 
Shaw and Winston Churchill. Mr. Shaw invited Mr. Churchill to 
the premier performance of his new play, “Pygmalion” and this 
is how it went: 

George Bernard Shaw: “I am enclosing two tickets to the first 
night of my new play. Bring a friend…if you have one.” 

Winston Churchill: “Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend 
second, if there is one.” 


Repartees do not have to be biting and sarcastic. They can actually 
be complimentary. When newly appointed ambassador to 
France, Thomas Jefferson, presented his papers to the French 
foreign minister, the minister asked him if he was here to replace 
Dr. Franklin (Benjamin.) Jefferson retorted, “I succeed 
Dr. Franklin. No one can replace him.” When actor Christopher 
Reeve was asked what it was like to have acted with Katherine 
Hepburn, he responded, “People say I acted with Katherine Hepburn. 
The truth is I acted near Katherine Hepburn.” 

Muhammad Ali was flying on Eastern Airlines back in the 1970s 
when the flight attendant noticed his seat belt wasn’t fastened. 
When asked to buckle up, Ali kiddingly boasted, “Superman 
don’t need no seat belt.” The flight attendant, without missing a 
beat shot back, “Superman don’t need no airplane either.” 

Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez displayed a quick mind when, during 
an interview, was asked what she got on her high school tests 
(SATs.) Her answer? “Nail polish.” 

You can exercise that repartee muscle. The right clever comment 
at the right time can be great fun. Just avoid those too biting and 
sarcastic comments where you feel obligated to follow with: “Just 

Next Saturday night, April 23, Johnson’s Jammin’ Jukebox is back 
again at Nano Café in Sierra Madre for another “Fun Rock from 
the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s” concert. Always part of our commitment 
to “In bed by 10:00”, the concert will go from 6:30 – 9:30pm. 
Nano Café is at 322 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. (626) 

Come by for a dandy diversion of dinner and dancing.
Finally, whether you are religiously inclined or not, I wish you 
the happiest on Easter Sunday. Reach out to friends and/or family 
with words of encouragement and love. 

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