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The Jewish footprint on Major League Baseball is a lot bigger than you might think. And Larry Ruttman’s new book, American Jews and America’s Game—which features 50 in-depth interviews with Jews who have impacted our nation’s pastime—drives that point home.

Ruttman is joined by Bob Tufts, one of only six major league players to convert to Judaism during his career (can you name another?); Alan Dershowitz (who’s included in Ruttman’s book); and Jeffrey Lyons for a talk on all things Jewish and baseball. The panel will discuss, among other topics, the all-time greats—Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, Al Rosen and Ken Holtzman (the all-time wins leader among Jewish pitchers); little-known players, like Barney Pelty (“The Yiddish Curver”); powerful front-office types, such as the late Marvin Miller and today’s commissioner, Bud Selig; and whether we’re now in a “Golden Age” of Jewish ballplayers, with stars like Ryan “Hebrew Hammer” Braun, Ian Kinsler and Kevin Youkilis.

Larry Ruttman will sign copies of his book American Jews and America's Game following the event.


What do YOU want to ask our panelists? Now's your chance. Leave your questions below, and we will forward them along during the Q&A. So get questioning!


Brief Bios

Larry Ruttman is the author of the newly published American Jews and America’s Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball (University of Nebraska Press), an oral history in which Jewish players and people in and close to Major League baseball, past and present, tell of growing up Jewish in America to find success in this field. A lifelong resident of Brookline, MA, Ruttman has been attending ball games at Fenway Park since the days of Ted Williams and Moe Berg. A Korean War veteran and a practicing attorney for over fifty years, he is amazed that Providence has granted him the privilege to kind of live his life backwards in this late-coming and deeply satisfying labor of love.

Jeffrey Lyons has reviewed more than 15,000 movies, 900 Broadway and off-Broadway plays, interviewed nearly 500 actors, written or co-authored six books, co-hosted three national movie review shows on PBS, MSNBC and the NBC stations, and received two honorary degrees so far. He’s lectured at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., four times at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in venues all over the country, and has enjoyed a career on television, radio and print spanning 42 years.

Bob Tufts is a former major league baseball player with a degree in Economics from Princeton University, an MBA in Finance from Columbia University School of Business and over twenty years of experience working on Wall Street. He is currently an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University, NYU and Manhattanville College, where he teaches economics and sports themed courses.

The day he graduated from Princeton, Bob was a twelfth round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants. He appeared in the major leagues as a relief pitcher with the Giants in 1981 and the Kansas City Royals in 1982 and 1983. Upon retirement from baseball, he attended Columbia University and received an MBA in Finance in 1986.

Bob has appeared on panels related to Judaism and baseball at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Yogi Berra Museum and the Isabella Freedman Center and also has performed baseball clinics for Jewish children in the United States and Israel.

Alan Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the author of many books, including The Case for Israel, The Case for Peace, The Case Against Israel's Enemies and most recently, The Trials of Zion.

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