Will the Real “Hebrew Hammer” Please Stand Up…
Last week we ran a story about the best nicknames in sports. As you may recall, one of the nominees for Best Racist, Sexist and/or Culturally Insensitive Nickname was outfielder Ryan Braun, aka “The Hebrew Hammer.” (Incidentally, as predicted, Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins took top honors in this category.)
While we stand behind our reporting, in the spirit of transparency we’d like to share with you an email we received yesterday from a concerned reader. It begins: “Not sure who did your research on the sports nicknames, but there is only one original Hebrew Hammer: Hank Greenberg.”
So we reopened the “ethnic slur” file and did some more digging…
EDITOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post entitled “How Much Is Too Much to Ask of Your Email Signature?”
Safe to say we thought Ryan Braun was the only player in the history of Major League Baseball to have been given the nickname “The Hebrew Hammer.” After all, there was only one “Yiddish Curver” (Barney Pelty) and “Big Jew” (Sandy Koufax). So you can imagine our surprise when we learned that there have been, in fact, four Hebrew Hammers: Hank Greenberg, Al Rosen, Gabe Kapler and Ryan Braun.
Well, five if you count the 2003 film The Hebrew Hammer about an Orthodox Jewish blaxploitation hero who saves Hanukkah from the clutches of Santa Claus’s evil son.
So it seems our reader was correct, and then some: not only was Hank Greenberg the “original” Hebrew Hammer, he was the archetype, the pater familias—the Abraham, if you will. It was an oversight on our part not to list him as such in our original story, and we regret the error.
For that matter, we regret the nickname, too.
- — C. Brian Smith