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Mike Epstein

mike epstein mug

Mike Epstein

MLB (retired)
1B
Full Name Michael Peter Epstein
Nicknames SuperJew
Date of Birth 04/04/1943
Age76
BirthplaceBronx, N.Y.
Religion Jewish
Height 6'3
Weight 230
Bats/Throws L/L
College Univ. of California
Signed Orioles
(01/01/1964)
MLB Debut 09/16/1966
Final MLB Game: 04/28/1974

Career highlights

  • Signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1964
  • Selected to play baseball for the U.S. in the 1964 Olympics
  • In 1965, his first year in the minors, was named California League MVP; led the league in hitting (.338) and HRs (30) while playing for the “A” Stockton Ports (Baltimore Orioles)
  • Was named Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year and International League MVP in 1966; hit .309 with 29 HRs and 102 RBIs for the “AAA” Rochester Red Wings (Baltimore Orioles)
  • While playing for the Oakland A’s in 1972, Epstein ranked 3rd in the A.L. in HRs (26), 5th in slugging percentage (.490) and OPS (.866), and 6th in on-base percentage (.376).
  • Led all A.L. batters in number of times hit by pitch in 1972 (12); also was among top 5 in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1973
  • Most HRs in a game: 3, Chicago White Sox vs. Washington Senators (May 16, 1969)
  • Most RBIs in a game: 8, Washington Senators vs. Baltimore Orioles (June 19, 1970)
  • Tied a major-league record by homering in 4 consecutive at-bats over 2 games, Oakland A’s vs. Washington Senators (June 15-16, 1971)
    Won a World Series ring with the Oakland A’s (1972)

MLB career bests, by statistic

  • AVG: .278 (1969)
  • 2B: 18 (1969, 1972)
  • 3B: 4 (1967)
  • HR: 30 (1969)
  • RBI: 85 (1969)
  • BB: 85 (1969)
  • OBP: .414 (1969)
  • SLG: .551 (1969)
  • At bats per home run: 13.4 (1969)
  • Hitting streak: N.A.

Stories

  • Epstein: “The reason I got traded from Oakland (to the California Angels) was because there was an altercation in the clubhouse in Texas. (Future Hall of Famer) Reggie (Jackson) was spouting off, doing dumb things…and I wound up going over and knocking him out. He was unconscious on the floor…club owner Charlie Finley…got me on the phone and said, ‘I ought to trade you.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘You’re the bad apple.’ I said, ‘I would think that you would go and ask the other guys on the team. The bad apple is unconscious on the floor in the clubhouse.” (Dave Cohen, Matzoh Balls and Baseballs, 2010, Havenhurst Books; p. 73)

On being Jewish

  • “We belonged to a conservative temple in White Plains, N.Y., Temple Israel. I was bar mitzvahed there. Once we got to the West Coast (California), the family got a little further away from religion ostensibly because the environment was different, the cultural environment…” (Matzoh Balls and Baseballs; p. 67)
  • Drew a Star of David on his mitt while playing for the “AAA” Rochester Red Wings. (ESPN.com; Apr. 2, 2007)
  • “Epstein believes that his ‘Jewish side’ — a tenacity and perseverance that comes from a people who survive — enabled him to overcome his doubts and make it in the big leagues.” (Peter Levine, Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience, Oxford University Press, 1992; p. 241)
  • While playing in the minor leagues, Epstein was given a nickname. “I had hit a home run over the light tower in right center, and Rocky Bridges was the third base coach, and we had the third base dugout. When I was trotting out to first we sort of crossed paths, and he says, ‘You launched that one in the night, you Super Jew,’ and the clubhouse kid was picking up the bats around home plate at the end of the inning and he heard it. The next day when I came to the ballpark, he had Super Jew written over my locker and Super Jew written on my baseball equipment, so it stuck…I took it as a great compliment, but I just didn’t like the word.” (Matzoh Balls and Baseballs; pp. 69-70)
  • “By his own account, Epstein’s Jewishness is grounded more in feelings rather than practice. Although his family does celebrate the Jewish high holy days, they rarely go to synagogue or maintain formal religious ritual. One of Mike’s daughters went to religious school and was Bat Mitzvahed but his young son, who has his own aspirations to beĀ  great baseball player, chose not to go because it conflicted with scheduled baseball games. Yet Epstein, who gave his son the opportunity to make that decision, is proud to be a Jew.” (Ellis Island to Ebbets Field; p. 242)
  • Played fullback at the University of California-Berkeley for football coach Marv Levy, who also is Jewish. (Peter S. Horvitz, The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History & The 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars, Specialist Press International, 2006; p. 170)
  • The Baseball Talmud named him the second-best Jewish first baseman of all time, after Hank Greenberg. (Howard Megdal, The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball’s Chosen Players, 2009, Harper Collins; p. 43)

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