Friday, January 13, 2006

Synchronicity Explosion: Al Schacht, PS 42, Dave At Night, Harlem

Now what would these four things possibly have in common? In August of 2004 The American Jewish Historical Society created a commemorative baseball card set, called "Jewish Major Leaguers: America’s Jews in America’s Game." Each set contained 142 cards of every identifiable Jewish Major League baseball player from 1871 to the 2003 All-Star break. After reading online the biographies many of the players I discovered this gem about a Robert Leon Berman: "Berman, a catcher who played two games for Washington in 1918, later became a physical education instructor in the New York City public school system. Career Highlights: Born on New York's Lower East Side to Russian immigrants, Berman began playing baseball at P.S. 42 with future major leaguer (and Clown Prince of Baseball) Al Schacht. A catcher, he played through high school and then attended CCNY (City College of New York) for two years before he was signed by the Washington Senators in 1918.On June 12, 1918, Berman played the ninth inning of a 6-4 Washington victory over the St. Louis Browns. Although he did not bat, he was fortunate enough to catch the great Walter Johnson during his inning of work -- Johnson won 23 games for the Senators that year. Berman later appeared in one other game as a pinch-runner. He played errorless ball in his two-game major league career.Berman played in the minors for the next few years and then returned to college. In 1925, he graduated from the Savage School of Physical Education and became a health education teacher and baseball coach. Berman eventually became the Dean of Boys for the New York City Board of Education. He retired after 43 years." This sounds a lot like a Jewish Moonlight Graham of Kinsella's great book, "Shoeless Joe." But more amazing to me was the knowledge that Baseball Hall of Famer, A Schacht, attended PS42 in the heart of the LES on Hester Street. Uncle Hyman Genee (aka the King of the Romaniotes) attended PS42, so did many of the Confinos from Tenement Museum fame. More on the synchronicity theme later. In the meantime here's a Jewish Baseball inspired slide show I did in August 2004. It's one of my favorites.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Wow! Fantastic slide show! What a treasure trove of information. Thanks.