Jews In Sports: Exhibit Page @ Virtual Museum


Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow
Page 269 of 290

Jewish Baseball Stars

right away. So I started blowing the ball in. Mays missed a few, fouled some off and then said to the catcher, 'Who is this guy? Tell him to just throw the ball in.' " Stone ignored the advice. "Willie stayed in for one more pitch - thrown right under his chin - then threw down his bat and never took batting practice against me again that spring."

Steve succeeded in being noticed, and he made the club. But from the very beginning of his big-league career, the articulate, witty Jewish hurler had to contend with outmoded but prevalent baseball stereotypes. Speaking of his struggle against some of the doggedly unimaginative minds that are not uncommon in professional baseball, Stone told Steve Jacobson of Inside Sports: "Charlie Fox [manager of the Giants in 1971] felt the only way a ballplayer could perform was to chew tobacco, wear a sloppy uniform and, as he put it, not be afraid to get a bloody nose, and eat, drink and sleep baseball. I never thought a bloody nose was all that comfortable, and tobacco upsets my stomach. I like to eat - but not baseball - and I never thought sleeping with the game would be all that enjoyable. I think he thought reading hurt your eyes.

"But the best was Johnny Sain [White Sox pitching coach when Stone was with Chicago]. He told me he never met a ballplayer who smoked a pipe who was aggressive enough to be successful. He also thought the fact that I was close to my parents was a liability."

Stone was also unfairly, and stupidly, penalized for not being more physically imposing than he was. "I'm a shade under five-foot ten, and I weigh one hundred seventy-five pounds. Every manager who ever looked at me said, 'Well, maybe he could start ten or twelve times, but he's not