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March 20, 1992 - Image 53

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-03-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Hank Greenberg in 1983 when the Tigers retired his number.

way my father talked about
Hank Greenberg, he seemed
like a perfect subject,' Kemp-
ner added.
"Hank succeeded in an All-
American sport during a dif-
ficult time for Jews here.
Through him, many Jewish
people felt they became more
American.
"This isn't going to be your
typical sports documentary.
What I'm interested in doing
is showing Hank's ac-
complishments in the context
of the times. When he didn't
play on Yom Kippur, he
taught non-Jews in this coun-
try more about our holidays
than they had ever been
taught before.
"Through everything, Hank
remained a mentsh. When he
went up to bat, he went up
there for all of us. We all stood
a little bit taller.
"I only work on projects
that I'm emotionally and
politically tied to and I'm par-
ticularly enamored with this
subject. In a presidential cam-
paign year where we have
David Duke and Patrick
Buchanan running for that
office, I feel more compelled
than ever to do this film."
The chief sports consultant
for the film is Ira Berkow, a
New York Times sports col-
umnist who was the editor of
the 1989 biography, Hank
Greenberg: The Story of My
Life. Berkow hopes the film
teaches more people about
Greenberg, who died in 1986.
"This will be an important
work, both from the
sociological and sports
aspects," Berkow said. "Hank
was the first major Jewish
sports star in America and

I'm sure this film will reflect
it!'
Nobody has to convince of-
ficials of the Michigan Jewish
Sports Hall of Fame that
Greenberg was an important
athlete.
He was a member of the
Hall of Fame's first induction
class in 1985. Now, there's a
Hall of Fame-sponsored golf
and tennis tournament nam-
ed in his honor which raises
funds for cancer research at
Sinai Hospital. This year's se-
cond annual event will be
held June 1 at Tam
O'Shanter Country Club in
West Bloomfield.
"Hank was the first name
that came up when we were
beginning the Hall of Fame,"
said current Hall of Fame
President Mickey Fishman.
"He put up with all that grief
when he was playing, but he
never opened his mouth. He
let his bat do the talking.

"I'm glad they're making a
film about Hank because
more people will learn his
story. That's one of the
reasons why we started the
Hall of Fame. We wanted to
let people know that there
have been some great Jewish
athletes in this state!'
Interviews with colleagues,
family members and fans will
be included in the film along
with historical footage. One
fan tells about carrying a
Greenberg baseball card in
his tuxedo for good luck on
his wedding day.
But the primary source of
material is Greenberg. His
oral reflections and observa-
tions, done late in his life in
preparation for the writing of

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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