Yankee Trailblazer Passes his Torch

By Laurie Heifetz

Published October 27, 2006, issue of October 27, 2006.

Count Ron Blomberg, Major League Baseball’s first designated hitter, among those Jewish fans happy to see Shawn Green in New York — even if the right fielder did fall short of leading the Mets to the World Series.

“I think it’s wonderful. Jews are just itching to have another ball player,” Blomberg (pronounced Bloomberg) told the Forward after a Sabbath eve appearance at the Jews in Pro-Sports weekend recently held at Manhattan’s West Side Institutional Synagogue. “I feel like I’ve passed the torch to Shawn. Unfortunately, he’s on the wrong side of town! One day I’ll meet him.”

Blomberg, who played for the Yankees from the late ’60s through the ’70s and for the White Sox for two years, was plugging his new book, “Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story.” He is slated to appear on “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “Fox & Friends” in December. He told the audience at the Sabbath dinner that it was his first time attending Orthodox services.

Not so for the weekend’s other two main attractions — onetime Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys lineman Alan Veingrad and Ukrainian-born boxer Dmitriy Salita, both of whom embraced religion after coming under the sway of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement.

Salita is the subject of a new documentary addressing both his career in pugilism and his religious life called “Orthodox Stance,” which was recently submitted to the Sundance Film Festival. Veingrad, meanwhile, is about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of his alma mater, East Texas State University — quite possibly becoming the first Lubavitcher Hasid to earn the distinction.



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