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Art Shamsky

Art Shamsky

MLB (retired)
Full Name Arthur Louis Shamsky
Nicknames Art
Date of Birth 10/14/1941
BirthplaceSt. Louis, MO
Religion Jewish
Height 6'1
Weight 168
Bats/Throws L/L
Signed Reds
MLB Debut 04/17/1965
Final MLB Game: 07/18/1972

Career highlights

  • Selected by the Cincinnati Reds in 1959
  • At age 18, homered in his very first at-bat as a professional ballplayer, with the Geneva Redlegs (Cincinnati Reds) in 1960. Went on to hit 18 HRs that season, 2nd best in the league; lead all outfielders in assists; and make the All-Star team (
  • In 1966, Shamsky hit 21 HRs for the Cincinnati Reds, and did so in just 234 at-bats, a rate of one HR every 11 at-bats
  • Hit 3 HRs in one game, even though he came on as a sub in the 8th inning, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (August 12, 1966). Shamsky hit HRs in the 8th, 10th and 11th innings. According to this analysis of a baseball statistic called WPA, Shamsky’s three HRs — two of which tied the score, and one of which put the Reds ahead — was the most game-changing performance by an MLB hitter. Curiously, the Reds sat Shamsky out the following day
  • Tied a major-league record by homering in 4 consecutive at-bats over 2 games, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (August 12 & 14, 1966). The bat Shamsky used is on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Fellow Jewish player Mike Epstein is among those who share the record
  • Ranked 2nd among NL outfielders in fielding percentage (1968)
  • Went 7/13 in the 1969 National League Championship Series; his .538 batting average was tops on the New York Mets
  • Won a World Series ring with the “Miracle Mets” (1969)

MLB career bests, by statistic

  • AVG: .300 (1969)
  • 2B: 19 (1970)
  • 3B: 4 (1968)
  • HR: 21 (1966)
  • RBI: 49 (1970)
  • BB: 49 (1970)
  • OBP: .375 (1969)
  • SLG: .521 (1966)
  • At bats per home run: 11.1 (1966)
  • Hitting streak: N.A.

Other stuff

  • Went to University City High School in University City, Mo., the same school as fellow Jewish pitcher Ken Holtzman
  • Roomed with future star Pete Rose while playing for the Geneva Redlegs
  • Managed the Modi’in Miracle of the Israel Baseball League in 2007. Other IBL managers included ex-pros Ken Holtzman and Ron Blomberg
  • Art Shamsky’s web site:

On being Jewish

  • “Shamsky talked about his decision to not play in a double-header against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Yom Kippur in 1969. He said it was a difficult decision, since the Mets had a chance of winning the National League Eastern Division. Shamsky said he approached manager Gil Hodges, who told him to follow his conscience. Luckily, said Shamsky, the Mets won both games. The next day, Shamsky walked into the locker room in the ballpark in Pittsburgh, and someone had put up a sign on his locker that read, ‘Why don’t you stay out the rest of the year?’ ‘To this day, I don’t know who did that,’ Shamsky said to laughter. ‘As it turned out, it was a great day for the team, a great day in history for baseball.'” (Greenwich Time; Oct. 4, 2010)
  • “Art Shamsky provides a window into what a superstar Jewish baseball player would experience in New York. he played four seasons with the Mets, never getting more than 403 at-bats in any season. Yet both Ray Romano and Jon Stewart named dogs after him.” (Howard Megdal, The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball’s Chosen Players, 2009, Harper Collins; p. 161) {NOTE: In the television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray and Robert’s childhood dog was named “Shamsky,” after the ballplayer}
  • The Baseball Talmud ranked him the 3rd-best Jewish right fielder of all time, after Shawn Green and Cal Abrams. (The Baseball Talmud; p. 161)

For more information

Career batting

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