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July 18, 2013 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-07-18

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

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Who should
vottz
%St win $20,000
010
for their
arts project?

You decide!

Vote today for one of five
local finalists in the
Knight Arts Challenge
People's Choice Award.

earn more a ou each finalist at
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A project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

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10 July 18 • 2013

Field of Dreams from page 8

Trust tts•

Team
that nrats

yours
:

Onity

MGMAGRAND

DETROIT

SUNOCO

Benny Wasserman was welcomed to Comerica Park on the outfield scoreboard.

life. "All I was interested in was base-
ball and hated school;' Wasserman
said. "My love of reading started when
my friend sent me a special book for a
wedding present" That friend was six-
term U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.
Benny and Fernie, now married for
54 years, raised three sons while he
built a career as an aerospace techni-
cian, eventually working his way up
to management.
Wasserman also loved volunteer-
ing his time with teenagers through
CASA — Court Appointed Special
Advocate — where he would commit
his time to one teenager for a year. He
learned that the teen years were when
kids were most at risk and needed a
mentor to motivate them to succeed
in life. In 2008, he published a book,
Presidents Were Teenagers, Too, which
speaks to adolescents about never
giving up in life.
He retired in 1992, and "acciden-
tally became a professional Albert
Einstein impersonator:' he said. For
the past 19 years he has been mak-
ing commercials worldwide while
also performing in films, TV and at
conventions and corporate parties.
He volunteers at Camp Harmony, a
charitable organization for disadvan-
taged children.
But his lost dreams of playing base-
ball never really went away. "Only
my wife knows how emotional I get
whenever we pass by a baseball dia-
mond," he said.

A Day To Remember
After taking the field with the Tigers
during practice, Wasserman contin-
ued making his dreams come true at
Comerica Park.
"On the concourse at the stadium,
I was able to take batting practice
with balls coming at me at 60 miles
per hour," he said. "With both my
sons videotaping all my movements,

a crowd formed to see this 79-year-
old wannabe baseball player connect
with nine out of 10 balls that came at
me. They were so impressed that they
clapped and cheered me on. It was
something I never dreamed would
ever happen."
Prior to the game that night
between the Detroit Tigers and the
Los Angeles Angels, Wasserman was
able to take pictures with the stat-
ues of Hall of Fame Detroit Tigers
like Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg,
Hal Newhouser, Mickey Cochrane,
Charlie Gehringer and a few others.
'Although the Tigers lost the game
that night, it was such a pleasure to
`root, root, root for the home team' it
really didn't matter:' he said. "There
is such joy in just being there and
supporting the team. There is nothing
like getting caught up in the game!'
While he was in Detroit,
Wasserman was able to go back to his
roots at 3794 Webb. 'Although the
house no longer exists, it still brought
back memories of my first 20 years
in that home. It was on this street
and empty lots that I played so much
baseball," he said.
Wasserman got to visit for the first
time Hebrew Memorial Cemetery in
Clinton Township where his mother,
Molly Beidner, is buried as well as
his older sister, Gloria Wasserman,
who died of spinal meningitis at
age 2. He and his family also visited
the Holocaust Memorial Center in
Farmington Hills.
"The memory of this day will live
on with me for the rest of my life
Wasserman said. "I am now com-
mitted to going to the batting cage at
least once a week back where I live in
Southern California:'



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