Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Alexander and Lance Berkman: Separated At Birth, Part 2

William Lance Berkman was born in Waco, Texas, on February 10, 1976.  The second Cynthia and Larry Berkman's three children, Lance had an immense appetite as an infant, slurping down entire bottles without stopping. What intrigued Larry was that his son would then hurl the bottle out of his crib. Lefthanded.
The elder Berkman had been a pretty fair baseball player in his time—good enough to log three seasons at the University of Texas as a walk-on outfielder in the late 1960s. Larry decided that Lance’s southpaw bottle tosses were a sign that he would become a ball player himself.
Alexander Berkman, the son of a Jewish businessman, was born in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, on 21st November, 1870.  At the time the territory was part of the Russian Empire. His father, a wholesaler in the shoe industry, was prosperous enough to be allowed to move to St. Petersburg.
Berkman grew up in comfortable surroundings, that including servants and a summer house. He attended a gymnasium reserved for the privileged elements of society.
On 1st March, 1881, Tsar Alexander II was assassinated. The bomb blast shattered the windows of his classroom. That evening, his older brother, who sympathized with the revolutionists, told him that he had been killed by the People's Will. As the author of Anarchist Portraits (1995), has pointed out, Berkman "was deeply moved by the martyrdom of the populists, five of whom were hanged for their part in the assassination. He was inspired by their idealism and courage, and from that time forward their example lingered in his thoughts." Thus, like his "descendant" Lance, Alexander was a left-winger.

In his 14 years in prison Alexander Berkman wrote "Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist." It is considered one of those rare books which once read is never forgotten. In this book all the suffering and pain of a courageous spirit struggling against great odds is told in a background of drab prison life. Most of those upon whom fate has placed such trials break down under the pressure of personal sorrow.

In his 15 at bats as Yankee, Lance has two singles and one rbi.

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