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Browsing Posts tagged Norm Sherry

Tigers CEO Dave Dombrowski presents new manager Brad Ausmus with a team jersey (ESPN.com)

By Scott Barancik, editor

Until yesterday, Brad Ausmus‘s only experience at the helm of a baseball team was managing Team Israel in the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

But that didn’t stop the Detroit Tigers from hiring the 44-year-old former catcher to replace Jim Leyland as manager. Much is at stake for the team, which made the 2013 postseason and is expected to be a leading contender in 2014.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me,” Ausmus said at a news conference. “I’m well aware that you don’t generally get dropped into a situation like I will be this coming season…Very rarely is there a managerial change when a team is coming off a post-season appearance.”

Ausmus is hardly inexperienced. A former Tiger — he played three seasons in Detroit, one of them as an All-Star — the Connecticut native caught more games during his 18-year career than all but six catchers in MLB history (1,938) and won three Gold Glove awards. His cerebral approach to the game led the San Diego Padres to name him Special Assistant to Baseball Operations after his retirement in 2010.

“Frankly, when we interviewed, we were taken aback at how impressive he was,” Tigers CEO Dave Dombrowski said.

In addition to managing Team Israel, Ausmus holds Jewish records for most MLB seasons (18) and games played (1,971).

At least five other Jews have managed MLB teams. They include:

  • Lipman “Lip” Pike. Baseball’s first home-run king, Pike served as player-manager of the Troy Haymakers (1871), Hartford Dark Blues (1874), and Cincinnati Reds (1877), with an overall record of 20-51. He was just 26 years old when he took on the Haymakers’ job.
  • Andy Cohen. A former New York Giants infielder and minor-league manager, Cohen was coaching for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960 when manager Eddie Sawyer stepped down after the season’s first game. Cohen managed one game before permanent replacement Gene Mauch arrived; the Phillies’ 5-4, extra-inning win gave him a perfect 1-0 record.
  • Lefty Phillips. Though he didn’t play Major League ball, Phillips coached the California Angels from 1969-1971, earning an overall record of 222-225. His best season was 1970, when the Angels finished in third place in the A.L. West division with an 86-76 record.
  • Norm Sherry. Like Ausmus a former MLB catcher, Sherry coached the California Angels from 1976-1977, finishing a combined 76-71.
  • Jeff Newman. A former catcher who played nine MLB season, Newman was the second of three Oakland A’s managers in 1986 and coached the team to a 2-8 record.

Click here to see a video excerpt of the Tigers’ news conference.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — A little bit of history was made Thursday (10/15/2010) when Peoria Javelinas C Ryan Lavarnway squatted opposite RP Eric Berger, a fellow Jew, during the 4th inning of a game against the Peoria Saguaros.

Both players made the best of their opportunities. Lavarnway, a Boston Red Sox prospect, hit a two-out, three-run HR that put the Javelinas ahead 4-1, smacked a double, and drew a walk. The Saguaros caught up, however, and the game ended in an 11-inning, 4-4 tie.

Berger, who plays in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system, pitched a scoreless (if not effortless) inning for the Javelinas, scattering 2 hits and a walk while striking out 2.

In another Arizona Fall League game, SP Josh Zeid, a Philadelphia Phillies prospect, earned the win for the Mesa Solar Sox in an 11-6 victory over the Surprise Rafters. Zeid gave up one run on 2 hits over 3 innings, striking out 3. Among his strikeout victims was Detroit Tigers prospect and Surprise OF Ben Guez, another of the 5 Jews playing in Jewish player.

Lavarnway, who hit 22 HRs with 102 RBIs in the minors this year, is playing in the AFL primarily to improve his catching skills (see article). Thursday’s game was mostly a good one on that front. Lavarnway threw-out 2 of 4 baserunners trying to steal but also had his first error of the season.

In an e-mail this morning, Martin Abramowitz — the brains behind the Jewish Major Leaguers baseball-card series — cited several examples of Jewish batterymates in Major League Baseball history:

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Matzoh Balls and Baseballs

Support Jewish Baseball News by clicking on this image and buying Matzoh Balls and Baseballs at Amazon.com.

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Baseball, as we all know, is a stats-obsessed sport.

Fans tend to be more interested in a player’s career HR total or on-base percentage than in his personal journey to the Majors.

That’s one of the nice things about Matzoh Balls and Baseballs, a book recently published by longtime Georgia State University broadcaster Dave Cohen. Cohen sat down with 17 retired Jewish pros, turned on a tape recorder, and, with a minimum of questions, let them talk.

The result is a Q&A format where athletes like Elliott Maddox and Cy Young Award winner Steve Stone tell us their stories in their own words.

Maddox, for example, discusses his conversion to Judaism, why his mother was so supportive of it, and what it was like to play minor-league ball in Rocky Mount, N.C., where a billboard welcomed visitors to “Klan country.”

Barry Latman talks about striking out 19 batters during a perfect game in high school, his unlikely friendship with Ty Cobb, and how his grandfather temporarily disowned him when he dropped out of the University of Southern California.

Norm Miller tells about “Gibsonitis” (the paralyzing fear of facing pitcher Bob Gibson), being one of four Jews on the Houston Astros’ 1967 roster, and being in the dugout when Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run.

Other players Cohen interviewed include Larry Yellen, Ron Blomberg, Jim Gaudet (who converted to Judaism after his MLB  career), Richie Scheinblum, Joe Ginsberg, Ross Baumgarten, Mike Epstein, Ken Holtzman, Norm Sherry, Steve Hertz, Don Taussig, Norm Miller, Morris Savransky, and Al Rosen.

In short, Dave Cohen has interviewed roughly 10 percent of all the Jews who ever played major-league baseball. And for $10.76, you can read what they have to say.

Note: Support Jewish Baseball News by clicking this Amazon.com link and buying Matzoh Balls and Baseballs there. Amazon will pay JBN a small commission (about 43 cents).

Disclosure: Havenhurst Books provided Jewish Baseball News with a free review copy of Matzoh Balls and Baseballs. No other consideration was provided.

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