Lest we forget: Al Rosen

March 16, 2015

http://didthetribewinlastnight.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Al-Rosen1.jpgThe 1953 unanimous MVP selection (the first time that had ever occurred) passed away Friday at the age of 91.

To my mind, Al Rosen was the last of his generation, a Jewish ballplayer who grew up a  time when anti-Semitism was still fairly prevalent, less so than Hank Greenberg but more so than Sandy Koufax. Roger Kahn featured Rosen in an interview in his 1968 book, The Passionate People: What it means to be a Jew in America and revised the segment for his 1974 sports book, How the Weather Was.

Rosen’s career was curtailed by injury so he only played what would be considered seven “full” seasons (out of 10). He retired in 1956 at the age of 32. If you extrapolate his numbers over a 162-game average, he hit 30 home runs and drove in 111 runs per year, which may well have been worthy of the Hall of Fame.

After he hung up his spikes, he worked in the front office for several teams, including the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and San Francisco Giants.

Surprisingly, as yet there have been no books written about Rosen, although there has been a documentary. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency review here.)

Here’s his obituary, as published in The New York Times, by Richard Goldstein. And the Cleveland Plain Dealer and  JTA’s tribute.

Also, here are a few videos of Rosen. In this one, he’s chatting at Adam Greenberg, who’s own injury derailed what could have been a promising career:

Here’s Rosen chatting for SB Nation:

And a longer piece from 2011:

Al Rosen with Cleveland Indians general manager (and Hall of Fame player) Hank Greenberg.


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