Albert Leonard Rosen, nicknamed Flip and The Hebrew Hammer, was a right-handed slugger and third baseman for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball for ten seasons in the 1940s and 1950s. Did Al Rosen Have a Temper?
Al Rosen, a baseball player, was an amateur boxer who challenged anyone who insulted his heritage or used anti-Semitic slurs in a fight. His stated preference for dealing with anti-Semitism was to flatten them.
One of the Top Indians
Hitting home runs is one of baseball’s most productive acts. A home run counts as a hit, a run, and a run batted in, as well as improving your slugging percentage. Al Rosen was a legendary home run hitter for the Cleveland Indians.
Rosen was a great hitter and third baseman named to the All-Star team four years in a row from 1952 to 1955.
Rosen was born to Louis and Rose Rosen in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Rosen’s father left the family shortly after, and when he was 18 months old, his mother and grandmother relocated the family to Miami, Florida.
Rosen had asthma as a child, prompting his family to relocate south. His two favorite baseball players as a kid were Lou Gehrig and Hank Greenberg. He attended Riverside Elementary School, Ada Merritt Junior High School, and Miami Senior High School for a year before enrolling on a boxing scholarship at Florida Military Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida.
After graduating from Florida Military Academy, Rosen attended the University of Florida in Gainesville. After a semester, he left to play minor league baseball in North Carolina. (Source: The New Your Times)
The Tough Hebrew
Rosen was Jewish. He was tough, an amateur boxer, and had a reputation for standing up to anyone who dared to disparage his heritage. While some reports have him saying that as a minor leaguer, he wished his name was less Jewish, he is later said to have wished it was more Jewish, something like Rosenstein.
When Ed Sullivan, a Catholic with a Jewish wife, suggested Rosen might be Catholic, pointing to his habit of drawing a “cross” in the dirt with his bat, Rosen replied that the mark was an x and that he wished his name was more Jewish so he wouldn’t be mistaken for Catholic.
A White Sox opponent called him a Jew bastard. Sox pitcher Saul Rogovin, who is Jewish, recalled an enraged Rosen storming into the dugout and challenging the son of a bitch to a fight. The player retreated.
Rosen challenged another opponent who had slurred his religion to a fight beneath the stands. When Red Sox bench player Matt Batts called Rosen anti-Semitic names during a game, Rosen called time and left his position on the field to confront Batts.
According to Hank Greenberg, Rosen wanted to go into the stands and murder fans who hurled anti-Semitic insults at him.
Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story, a 2010 documentary, featured Rosen, who is candid about how he dealt with anti-Semitism:
There’s a time that you let it be known that enough is enough; you flatten them.Al Rosen, Baseball Player
(Source: The New Your Times)
Image from ESPN