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    Ron Blomberg

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    August 23, 1948 —

    "And here I am using my legs like a sucker." — Homer Simpson

    Jews are known for their smarts, not their reflexes. But former batsman Ron Blomberg managed to use both in forging a (somewhat) successful career.

    Taken with the very first pick of the 1967 draft by the New York Yankees, Ron Blomberg hit like a mensch but played like a schlemiel; never appearing in more than 100 games in one season due to assorted injuries.

    So Blomberg stopped using his muscles and used his guile, instead. If physical activity was keeping him from a career, then he would need a way to be an athlete without physical activities.

    Thus, with the help of the desperate-for-fans American League, the Designated Hitter was born, with Ron Blomberg, Designated Hebrew, in the inaugural spot.

    Of course, over 30 years later, the distinction is, at best, dubious (and possibly mortifying depending on your philosophical bent). But we're not here to celebrate such controversial decisions.

    Just the career of one pioneering Jew.

    Verdict: Jew.

    April 5, 2009

    See Also

    Lou Gehrig

    Denny McLain

    Alex Rodriguez

    Richie Scheinblum

    Art Shamsky
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