Challenge to My Atheist Friends:
Have at you! Under the protection of the hand of the Mighty One – named Elohim, the All-Powerful One – I’m throwing down a challenge. Like Elijah did on Mt. Carmel, I’m having a contest: is God, whose other names are Yahweh, Abba Father, Ruach ha Khodesh (the Holy Spirit) and Yeshua ha Mashiach, REAL? Does He exist?
Now – how did Abba Father show His complete and total control of history? In the Scriptures (the Tanach, also called the Old Testament, and the Messianic Writings, also known as the New Testament), He used prophecies. Prophet “spoke forth” the Word of Elohim. Predicting the future – and then the future prophecy coming to pass – was a common means of demonstrating that the Word really came from Yahweh. Many prophecies were spoken in the Tanach; many prophecies were written in the Messianic Writings. Many prophecies have already been fulfilled; many others wait to be fulfilled in the future.
So – to cut to the chase: fulfilled prophecies are a genuine test of the Truth of the Word of Elohim. It was no game: the penalty for falsely speaking in the name of the Lord was DEATH. At one time, when Israel was a theocracy (with Yahweh as their King), the people were supposed to execute false prophets. Later, when they failed to do that, Elohim would take the lying prophet out Himself. Today, He allows false prophets to test believers – but their private lives reflect the judgment of Yahweh. So – I’m taking a chance here – a big chance,
But, I believe that I am right… I believe that, from my study of Baseball history and my dependence on the Ruach ha Khodesh, I can say it this way:
Unless the Cubs do something foolish, like firing Theo Epstein, I have the following to say:
Thus saith the Lord: the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series, this year, 2016! May Abba Father be praised and glorified!
I have never been more serious – and Jesus said “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” I am stating it as clearly as I can.
So – if Elohim pulls off this thing that two years ago seemed impossible, will you at least consider that He exists? And – if He exists, His Word (the Bible) is true? And if the Bible is true, what does it say about how we as sinners can get right with God? Our sins have separated us eternally from Him. Is there any hope?
Yes! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ [ in Hebrew, Yeshua ha Mashiach ] and you WILL BE SAVED!
Jesus preached: “Repent and believe the gospel!” What does that mean? Repent means to admit that you – like me, like all of us – are a sinner who deserves to be separated from Abba Father forever. There are no good works you can do to earn salvation – that’s what “grace” means – blessing that you DIDN’T EARN, that you CAN’T EARN. You can only receive grace – the fact that you weren’t destroyed the first time you sinned is evidence that Yahweh has given you grace. So – admit to God that you are a sinner, then “believe the gospel.” The gospel is the “good news” that Jesus, the only God-man who ever lived, who lived a perfectly sinless life, perfectly keeping the Jewish Law, laid His “spotless” life down – as a Lamb led to the slaughter, by allowing Himself to be murdered in a bloody sacrifice by Roman crucifixion. Because He did that, “the just for the unjust (all of us)” , all of our sins can be forgiven. And because He rose from the dead – on the third day, just as He prophesied – we can have our sins forgiven and spend eternity with Him! Just by believing that! Then – if you’re sincere, you will experience the joy of the Lord! That’s a deep down, unquenchable fire in you that is an evidence of the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha Khodesh) living in you. THAT’S where the “good works” come in: as EVIDENCE of your salvation, not the MEANS of your salvation.
As you can see below, I wrote this for the first time last year, on the very night the Cubs beat the Pirates in October 2015. I didn’t change a thing (except a little cleaning up, so you can understand everything). I just wrote an update – I’ll re-post that. I’ll be honest – I thought the Cubs were gonna win last year. But as I’ve discovered since, they had to wait the full 84 seasons since the Babe’s Called Shot in the 1932 Series. That was a key sign that the 84-year “Curse of the Bambino: Chicago Style) was on. 1932 plus 84 is 2016. I wrote an essay after the Cubs were out last year on WHY they lost to the Mets. But this year, it’ll be different.
Hey – I believe Abba Father purposed it that Villanova would win the March Madness Tournament this year – I pick them every year because THAT’S MY ALMA MATER. I picked them this year… in case you didn’t pay attention… they won.
Here’s what I wrote last year… to HIM be the glory, not me!
Why the Cubs will win in 2015. (written the night the Cubs beat the Pirates)
Joe: There’s no doubt about it – the Chicago Cubs have been a cursed team. Without question.
My atheist friend: “Really? Do you believe in curses?”
Joe: I most certainly do. The Bible is full of curses.
MAF: “Yeah – because God’s an angry, vengeful God, right?”
Joe: No – whoever was cursed, deserved to be cursed – oh, except the One who was cursed, who was the only human being who ever lived who DIDN’T deserve to be cursed.
MAF: “What? Christ?”
Joe: Yes – although I prefer to refer to Him as Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth. Actually; it’s better in Hebrew: Yeshua ha Meshiach.
MAF: “Isn’t that what I said?”
Joe: Not really. Anyway – In Deuteronomy 21: 22 – 23, the Scriptures pronounce a curse on anyone who hangs on a tree:
22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.
In Galatians 3: 10 – 14, Paul explains how and why this applies to the death of the Messiah, Yeshua:
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
We’re all under the Curse of sin; we all have an unredeemed sin nature. But we can’t rely on the works of the law to earn our way to heaven – if we trust in our own efforts, we remain under the curse. But “the righteous shall LIVE –“ not die – “by faith.” Those of us who have repented and accepted the free gift of salvation by simply believing that the sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross was sufficient are “the righteous”. In Romans, Paul quotes the Old Testament in saying “there are none righteous – no not one.” We are only called “righteous” because we have received the righteousness of Yeshua. In other words, we are like Barabbas, who the people demanded to be released when they screamed for the execution of Yeshua by Roman crucifixion. Yeshua, the only truly righteous One, by merit of His perfectly sinless life, was given what should have happened to Barabbas, who really was guilty of murder. And Barabbas received what Yeshua should have gotten – freedom from penalty because He was genuinely innocent. The Roman government looked at Yeshua as if He were a criminal who was worthy of death, and looked at Barabbas as if he were truly righteous.
We are “righteous” in the sight of God in the same way: because God looked at Yeshua, His only Son, the only God-man, as if He were us, deserving death, and He looked at us sinners, and saw His truly sinless Son. What an amazing transfer! What precious love! How anyone can call the God who did all this – simply because He loved us – “mean and vengeful”, doesn’t know the God I know. And we, the righteous in God’s sight (who don’t deserve to be) will not be executed for our genuine sins, but will not only live, but will have the Holy Spirit – God’s Presence – in us to enable us sinners to live a “righteous” life.
Which brings me to the Cubs….
MAF: “What! How did you make THAT transition?”
Joe: Because I believe that God has revealed His truth through the history of Major League Baseball, as He has always revealed Himself. Just like there are blessed and cursed nations, so are there blessed and cursed teams.
Joe: Yes – why wouldn’t God show His power in ALL aspects of our lives? He does it all the time. We just don’t see it.
MAF: “I should say not!”
Joe: That’s because you look without expecting to see. I know the hand of God is in everything, including Baseball. You evolutionists see something like DNA, which is information in the natural world, and explain it as if it were formed by random forces.
MAF: “It was!”
Joe: See? You’re proving my point. I look at DNA and see intelligence and design, screaming out that there must be a vastly more intelligence that designed such an amazing system of information.
MAF: “It happened by natural selection.”
Joe: Then so did Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” Just random notes, with no intelligence behind it…
MAF: “That’s nuts! It’s a beautiful piece of music – written by a genius.”
Joe: My point exactly.
Joe: So – the Cubs have been a genuinely cursed team. I don’t know when the curse was laid on them – or maybe it was more than once. I’m not going to go back through a detailed Cubs’ history to find the exact points of cursing and blessing – or neither. God is the One in control – He is in control of every detail. I’ll do my best…
First: the Cubs may have started playing in the 20th Century as a cursed team because of their star of the late 19th Century, the great Cap Anson. Why? Because the first 3000-hit man in MLB History was known to be a vicious racist. It’s alleged that, as one of the greatest stars of the game as well as an important force in the National League, he was instrumental in banning black baseball players from the Major Leagues, being a chief architect of the infamous “Gentlemen’s Agreement” by teams not to sign them. It wasn’t until 1947, when Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey put and end to “The Color Line”, that it was finally broken. Maybe the Cubs were cursed for Anson’s part in that evil.
But – the Cubs weren’t cursed for long, if that’s the reason why. They were one of the best teams in MLB in the 1900’s. In 1906, they set a record for winning percentage in 154 games by winning 116. But, despite that phenomenal record, they lost to the “Hitless Wonders” cross-town Chicago White Sox led by pitchers Doc White and the greatest purveyor of the legal spitball, Big Ed Walsh. That might show a curse – but they were obviously blessed the next two years: they beat Ty Cobb and his Detroit Tiger in both 1907 and 1908. They were also blessed to be the team to benefit from Merkle’s Bone-headed Play in 1908. That was the game where New York Giant’s rookie Fred Merkle failed to tag up at second on what should have been a game-winning hit against the Cubs. Sharp-eyed Johnny Evers noticed the mishap and the NL ruled in favor of the Cubs. The game was replayed, with Chicago winning, clinching the pennant in the year in which they would win their last World Series. The winning pitcher was the great Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown, the ace of the Cubs pitching staff during this era.
Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three-Finger” Brown was also known as “Miner” Brown (because he spent time as a mine worker in his home state of Indiana), was called “Mort” or Brownie” by those who knew him well. He got his most famous nickname from what had happened to his right throwing hand in, not one, but two farming accidents. He lost most of his right index finger, but, instead of preventing him from playing baseball, it allowed him to throw one of the nastiest curveballs in Major League history. New York Giants’ manager John McGraw was so frustrated by his team’s difficulty in hitting against Brown that he threatened to cut off the index fingers of his own pitchers so maybe they could be as effective as the Cubs’ hurler.
That Cubs team, with Tinker-to-Evers-to Chance as their infield and Brown heading an excellent staff of pitchers, played their final World Series in 1910, losing to Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics 4 games to one. Brown got the only win for the Cubs, beating Chief Bender in a relief appearance in Game Four. But he lost his only two starts, leaving him with a 1 – 2 record and a dismal ERA of 5.50. He celebrated his 34th birthday during the Series, which would be his last. Almost exactly two years later, he was ignominiously released by the team he had toiled for since 1904 – the Cubs cut him loose on October 12, 1912.
I think the first cursing of the Cubs (if they hadn’t been earlier cursed by Cap Anson – they certainly were blessed in 1907 and 1908) was related to “Three-Finger” Brown. Why do I think that? Well – I have no idea if he had Jewish ancestry, but he certainly could have: did you know he is the ONLY MLB player in the long history of the game to have the first name of “Mordecai”? He got his first name in honor of his uncle, named Mordecai. Mordecai is an especially blessed real person in the Scriptures – he is a relative of Esther, in the book named after her. He may have been her uncle! Also – Brown was born on October 19, 1876 – that’s the first of Cheshvan on the Hebrew calendar. He was cut from the Cubs in 1912, exactly 36 years later – October 12th of that year was the first of Cheshvan. Coincidence? I think not. Therefore: the Cubs were cursed for disrespecting the only Major League player named Mordecai – doing it on his Hebrew calendar birthday, no less!
The second source of cursing may be the Cubs treatment of someone else: Babe Ruth. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “the Cubs didn’t even PLAY against Ruth until the 1935 season with the Boston Braves (about THEIR cursing some other time!)” I hope you wouldn’t say that, because there were two World Series in which they faced off with the Bambino.
MAF: “Now, wait a minute! Ruth was a partier… he constantly cheated on his first wife, Helen (and may have even had a hand in her death!); who knows how much he cheated on his second wife, Claire! He was a gambler, a heavy drinker, a glutton, a man with a foul mouth – are you saying God BLESSED him for that?”
Joe: Well, not for his sin. But it’s my contention that, for some reason, the Lord protected George Herman Ruth. Could it be that he had Jewish ancestry? Anything’s possible – even Hitler had a Jewish grandfather. Here’s what I have written previously about this:
“Babe Ruth! Speaking of intriguing possibilities! Well, if the greatest baseball player of all time has Jewish ancestry, I would not be surprised. Why not? A lot of evidence…
“But, wait a minute!” I hear you say, Babe Ruth was a great baseball player, but as a human being, in terms of personal morality, he left a lot to be desired.” Yes – indeed, he had a very dark, dark side. He was a heavy drinker (who may have allowed alcohol to occasionally affect his play on the field); he was a legendary fornicator; he was prideful; he was foul-mouthed; he was a glutton – stories of his vices have filled many books. He might have even been a murderer – there is still a lot of mystery as to the circumstances surrounding the death of his first wife, Helen. But, these things are also true of many others we’ve discussed. The point is not that they are righteous, godly people; the point is that they are blessed by Yahweh to some degree because they are Jewish. After all, two of the most evil kings in the history of Judah – Manasseh and Amon – are in the Messiah’s blood line as listed in the book of Matthew. And get this – Joash is also in the messianic line, Do you know who his mother was? The wicked usurper of the Davidic line throne. Athaliah. And do you know who Athaliah’s parents are? That’s right – the worst king in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Ahab, and his unpleasant wife, Jezebel! If they can be in the human Messianic blood line of Jesus, I suppose that we can accept the fact that Elohim can use or work His will through people who are less than godly.
George Herman Ruth, Sr. (1871-1918), and Katherine Schamberger, were both of German American ancestry. According to the 1880 census, his parents John and Mary were born in Maryland. The paternal grandparents of Ruth, Sr. were from Prussia and Hanover, respectively. Ruth, Sr. had a series of jobs, including lightning rod salesman and streetcar operator, before becoming a counterman in a family-owned combination grocery and saloon on Frederick Street. George Ruth, Jr. was born in the house of his maternal grandfather, Pius Schamberger, a German immigrant and trade unionist. Only one of young George’s seven siblings, his younger sister Mamie, survived infancy.
OK – was EVERY great player Jewish? Does EVERY player who ever played have Jewish roots? No – but many more players did – and do – have Jewish ancestry than we know. The important thing is that Elohim knows. If members of the Lemba tribe in South Africa claim, not only to be Jewish, but to be Kohanim (priests), then a lot of individuals could have Jewish ancestry. The Lemba men not only claim to be descendants of Aaron, but genetic tests, comparing their Y-chromosomes to men who are very likely Kohanim, show that they are correct – they carry the same unusual genetic markers.
Is Babe Ruth a Kohanim, then? How do we know if we can’t easily do a genetic test on him, seeing that he died in 1948? No – there are many Jewish people who are not of the priestly line. So, why would anyone think he was Jewish?
- He has German ancestry, which means he could also have Jewish ancestry. There were many Jewish people who got saved in Germany, especially during the Reformation, who intermarried with Gentiles. There are many Jewish people today – in fact, most – who have married someone who is not Jewish. Yahweh knows, even if we don’t know for sure. His mother’s maiden name was Schamberger.
- George Herman Ruth, Jr., was from Baltimore, a place where many people have mixed together over the history of the US. For example, because of the way he looked, and because his nickname at St. Mary’s School was “The-N-word”-lips, he more than likely had African ancestry.
- His last name is the name of a book in the Hebrew Bible. Ruth was a Moabite, not a Jew, but she married into a Jewish family. She not only married Boaz, but she is mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus in Matthew 1.
- He had Jewish characteristics. Not only did he have dark hair and a darker complexion than the average German, but he had some other personality traits associated with Jews. He was definitely funny (watch him act in “The Pride of the Yankees”, for example). Some have said that Casey Stengel wasn’t really the Greatest Character in History – that was the Babe. He was very successful, both as a ball player and as a businessman. Intelligence? Well, two out of three ain’t bad. But he was reputed to be a genius about the game of Baseball. “
The other evidence is that is “The Curse of the Bambino” – real curse on the Boston Red Sox franchise that lasted from 1920, when they disrespected him by selling him to the Yankees, until the 2004 ALCS, when the Curse was lifted (see “Curses! Foiled Again”). The Boston Braves were cursed when they mistreated the Babe at the end of his career – they never won again in Boston after the Miracle Braves of 1914”.
Back to the Cubs… the Cubs won the NL pennant again in 1918 (with a team that had the very same Fred Merkle as their starting first baseman). In the Series, played in September because of World War I – the Cubs lost in six games to a powerful Boston Red Sox team. Starting Game One on the mound for Boston was none other than their 23-year-old lefthander, Babe Ruth. The Babe shut them out, 1 – 0, with the Cubs wasting a strong performance by Hippo Vaughan. In Game four, Ruth beat them again, 3 – 2. In two wins over the Cubs, the Babe posted a miniscule ERA of 1.06. I’m sure that the Chicago team began their running feud with the Bambino in this Series – I’m sure they did everything they could to rattle the young phenom. It’s possible that disrespect led to more cursing.
The second World Series was in 1932, when the Cubs faced off against Ruth’s team, the New York Yankees. The Babe was approaching his last days on the baseball field, but he still had some life left in him. For some reason, the Cubs – and their fans – started letting him have it from all sides. After the first two games in New York, which the Yankees won, it was time for Game Three at Wrigley. The whole game, the fans and the Cubs’ players were giving Ruth the business. The Babe, of course, just ate it up – it was no problem for him to be the center of attention, whether it was good or bad. In the fifth inning, the Bambino came up against Chicago’s pitcher, Charlie Root. This is when Ruth famously “called his shot:” he allegedly pointed to the flagpole in center field and outrageously predicted that he would hit the next pitch “right there.” Whether he did or not is one of the most debated points in MLB history; what it appeared to be is not. The Babe crushed the next pitch, hitting a mammoth home run right to where he had been pointing. Even the radio announcer at the time said he did it. Later, the Babe took credit for doing it – or, well, not exactly credit. Read this Wikipedia entry about the incident – he ends up giving credit to where it really belongs!
“On one newsreel footage, Ruth voiced over the called shot scene with the remarks, ‘Well, I looked out at center field and I pointed. I said, “I’m gonna hit the next pitched ball right past the flagpole!” Well, the good Lord must have been with me.’ “
I’ve heard that statement on that newsreel – that’s exactly what he says. They didn’t point to the sky to give credit to the Lord, but Ruth sure did say it later. The Babe, like King Ahab, despite what evil he may have perpetrated, humbled himself to give credit to Yahweh, and he was blessed for it.
I missed the 1929 World Series, so let’s go back. The Cubs were taking on the newest superpower in the American League: the fresh, revitalized Philadelphia Athletics. The Mackmen had a solid team that had won the first of three straight pennants in an era when the Yankees had Ruth and Gehrig at or near their primes. They had Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Mickey Cochrane, as well as the best pitcher in baseball at the time – Lefty Grove. The Cubs had Hack Wilson, who in 1930 would set the all-time single season RBI record: 191! But, still being under at least one curse, the Chicago team lost in five games to the AL Champs.
Let’s examine what happened. One rule of thumb about cursed teams: look for at least on event happen to them that could be described as “ignominious”. The Red Sox history, before their curse was lifted in 2004, is replete with these kinds of events. Just think… Johnny Pesky… Bucky Dent… Bill Buckner… Grady Little and Pedro… Aaron Boone – I could go on. The same kind of thing happened to the Cubs in the 1929 Series. There were actually two famous events that, by anyone’s standard, would be considered ignominious with a capital I!
The first was Howard Ehmke’s amazing performance at Wrigley Field in Game One. Ehmke, at 35, was considered a washed-up old man. But Connie Mack started him because he was right-handed – the Cubs had a right-handed line-up – and his sidearm delivery would be coming out of the white-shirts of the left-field Bleacher Bums. Connie’s ploy worked – Ehmke won the game 3 – 1, striking out a then-record 13 Cubs.
Through the whole Series, the A’s skipper kept his ace, Grove, in the bullpen, using him in relief twice. It worked magnificently: in only 6 1/3 innings, Lefty gave up only 3 hits, no earned runs, walked only one, but had 10 strikeouts.
But the worst moment for the Cubs in 1929 came in Game Four at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. That was the game of the famous “Mack Attack” , in which the Athletics overcame an eight-run deficit by scoring 10 runs in the home half of the seventh (before two straight strikeouts by Pat Malone ended it) to snatch a 10–8 victory from the jaws of a defeat which would have evened the Series at two games apiece. Quoting the Wikipedia entry, “The Cubs were further humiliated in the middle of that record rally when center fielder Hack Wilson “MYSTERIOUSLY” lost Mule Haas’ fly ball in the sun for a fluke three-run inside-the-park home run, bringing the A’s to within a run at 8–7.” Only the Cubs and Phillies could manage such a disaster.
After the 1932 clean-sweep by the Yankees, the Cubs won their next pennant in 1935. This brought them up against the powerful Detroit Tigers, who were repeat AL Champs, looking to notch their first World Championship. Not coincidently, managing and starting at catcher for Detroit was former Athletic Mickey Cochrane. The Tigers won in six games over the cursed Cubbies.
It shouldn’t have been that easy for them, though. In the second game at Navin Field in Detroit, the Tigers lost their great slugger and RBI-man, Hank Greenberg. It was Greenberg who famously sat out a game in the middle of the pennant race the year before to honor the Lord on Yom Kippur. “Hammerin’ Hank” hit a home-run in Game Two, but later broke his wrist (which, providentially, kept him off the field on Yom Kippur 1935 – a game he would have played in if healthy). His replacement at first – Marv Owen – went only 1 – 20 in the Series, while Owens’ replacement at third – a guy named Flea Clifton – went a horrifying 0 – 16. But, despite these advantages, the Cubs still lost.
In an article titled, “Joe Roggins was Hank Greenberg’s good-luck charm” by Richard Bak, published in the May 19, 2013 edition of the Detroit Tigers On-Line Encyclopedia, we’re told that “Hank Greenberg took the 13-year-old batboy, who lived on the city’s west side, under his wing. However, Joe Roginski didn’t go by his given name; he was Joe Roggins to the Tigers. As his son Michael once recalled, the boy “was afraid of being Polish…. Greenberg, who took considerable abuse for being Jewish, undoubtedly saw in Joe some of his own struggle to be accepted. He occasionally took the boy on road trips and would visit the modest Roginski home on Wesson Avenue. ‘Hank would come over and have a bowl of czarnina, duck blood soup,’ recalled Joe’s brother, Stanley. ‘Word would get out and a half-hour later there was 500 kids gathering outside.’
“As Greenberg pursued his first home-run title in 1935, he developed a routine of always warming up before games by playing catch with his good-luck charm. And after he clouted one into the seats, he insisted that Roggins be the first to greet him at home plate.
“The ritual continued into the World Series that year against the Chicago Cubs. After dropping the first game at Navin Field, the Tigers rebounded to win Game Two. Greenberg smashed a two-run homer in the first inning; as always, Roggins was standing at home plate, waiting to shake his hand first.
“This time, though, Greenberg’s good-luck charm failed him. Later in the game, Greenberg collided with Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett, injuring his wrist and knocking him out for the rest of the Series. The Tigers wound up winning their first championship without their big gun in the lineup.”
Three things: first – ball players, and all of us, really, need to be very careful of superstitions. It’s one thing if rituals or routines help a player focus or calm down – I think that acceptable. But for a player to imagine doing things to “realign their fate” or to create something like good luck – that’s unacceptable. That’s a violation of the First Commandment, not to worship any false god. It shows a lack of faith and trust in the Lord. We don’t seek the devil’s blessing in anything we do, and believing in superstitions is doing just that. The Lord is in sovereign control of everything; believing in demonic magic in foolhardy.
Second: I couldn’t find out much about the collision with Gabby Hartnett, but I wonder if he was at fault for breaking Hank’s arm. In other words: did he try to hurt the Tigers’ first baseman deliberately to put him out of the game and the series? If that’s what he did – that really adds to the curse that the Cubs were already under. Greenberg, even though he apparently had no genuine faith, he still had publically honored the Lord by sitting out Yom Kippur in the pennant race of 1934 (and, yes, he missed a game against the Yankees, which the Tigers lost). If the Cubs’ catcher saw the collision coming and deliberately attempted to injure one of God’s protected players – the curse would multiply.
Third: fortunately for Hank, the second game was played in Detroit, at the Tigers home park, Navin Field. I can only imagine the vitriol he would have faced at the next three games at Wrigley Field. I think Greenberg wanted to try and play in Chicago, but was unable (he actually had stayed in Game Two after he got hurt). The Cubs fans probably would have let him have it with everything they had – and Anti-Semitic slurs would have been on the tips of their tongues, unencumbered by the modern political correctness barrier. Anti-Semitism was at its height in the world at the time – I’m sure it was rampant in Chicago. Hank might as well have had a Star-of-David – shaped target on his back. I have no doubt that he took a great deal of abuse, just by being around or sitting on the Tigers’ bench. As a Phillies fan, I know what abuse looks like – and the Cubs fans take a backseat to no others fans in that regard. So… just the attitude of contempt and the planned verbal lambasting of Detroit’s Jewish superstar was enough for God to, not only continue the curse, but increase it.
The Cubs’failure in 1935 was capped by this moment of ignominy – again, for an unbiased testimony, I’ll quote Wikipedia: “In Game 6, Tommy Bridges pitched a complete game victory to win the Series for Detroit. With the score tied 3–3 in the top of the ninth inning, Bridges gave up a leadoff triple to Stan Hack, but retired the next three batters without the runner on third scoring. In the bottom of the ninth, Goose Goslin drove in the winning run with two outs. After the game, manager Mickey Cochrane said the following of Bridges’ gutsy performance: ‘A hundred and fifty pounds of courage. If there ever is a payoff on courage this little 150-pound pitcher is the greatest World Series hero.’ ”
The Cubs, however, won another pennant three years later. In 1938, Gabby Hartnett won the pennant with a home run hit in near-darkness at Wrigley Field, the so-called “Homer in the Gloamin”” They were set to face the defending World Champions, the New York Yankees – a Yankees’ team that many consider to be one of the greatest of all time. By this time, the Cubs had former Cardinals’ great Dizzy Dean, but he had a sore arm and did not pitch well in the Yankees’ four game sweep. The Bronx Bombers scored a total of 22 runs to the Cubs 9. Despite an oddly weak performance by the greatest RBI man of all time – Lou Gehrig – the Cubs could do much. Nobody knew that the Iron Horse had played his last Series – he would be forced to retire in 1939 because of his increasing deterioration due to the disease that today bears his name.
The Cubs scuffled through the next few seasons, finishing in the middle of the pack, until they broke through again to win the NL pennant in the last War year, 1945. That same year – a Shemitah season, not coincidently – Hank Greenberg returned halfway through the season to lead the Tigers to their first pennant since he last was with them: the 1940 World Series, where they lost to the Cincinnati Reds. Hank started 1941 with the Tigers, but he soon left them. He was drafted into the Army and had to leave the team. While the US was not yet officially in World War Two, the writing was on the wall. Greenberg was especially conscious of his responsibility because he personally knew what was at stake: his fellow Jews were undergoing a level of persecution that was unimaginable. His baseball career was still at its height, but what was going on in the world was more important. He actually served his time and had been discharged, when he decided to enlist – the first baseball player to do so. It was because of Pearl Harbor – his nation was at war, and he believed it was his obligation to be part of it. He was – for a total of four and a half years.
Hank joined the Tigers without the benefit of spring training. In his first game on July 1st, he homered. He was selected on the All-Star team. He then helped lead Detroit to a come-from-behind pennant win. Greenberg himself clinched the pennant with a grand slam in the darkness at Sportsman Park, St Louis over the defending AL Champions, the Browns. That year, 1945, because of travel restrictions, they played the first three games in Detroit, and the last four games in Chicago.
The Cubs won two out of three in Detroit, then it was on to Wrigley. So – here’s the situation: the Cubs are leading the Series 2 games to one with four games to play at home in “The Friendly Confines”. The best player on the other team is a tall Jewish fellow. Question: how do you think this great ball player, this brave patriot who sacrificed four and a half years in the military, fighting an enemy who saw him and his people as a degenerate race no better than rats who must, by all means, be eliminated, who had seen the horrors of the Holocaust with his own eyes, who was also a Jewish man who honored his God, Yahweh, by sitting out Yom Kippur in the middle of a pennant race (missing a game against the hated Yankees, no less!) who had been honored by Yahweh, allowing his team to win the AL pennant that year, win a World Championship the following year, and win another pennant 5 years later in 1940, who was a man who NEVER played on Yom Kippur, but always played his best on Rosh Hashanah? Do you think the Cubs’ fans treated him with respect?
I think the answer is, “No.”
I know – I have no right to criticize… after all, I’m a Phillies’ fan, and we booed Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald, right? First of all – those incidents were at Eagles’ games – but, OK – Philadelphia sports fans have a well-earned reputation for being, shall we say, “not so nice.” But that’s why I know what must have happened: the same thing would have happened in Philadelphia. But I could just imagine the pure contempt that the Wrigley faithful would have brought down on Hammerin’ Hank. And it was probably not just simply booing – that would have been understandable. I’m sure the vicious reception they gave Mr. Greenberg was full of the most vile ethnic slurs concerning his Jewish ancestry. I think it was so vile that Elohim put them under the most severe curse in the history of American Sports – the “Curse of the Hebrew Hammer” we’ll call it. “I would say “Hex”, but that’s a demonic curse, not one from Yahweh). It was so bad that it has lasted 70 years.
Which is the same time period that – no, can it be? That’s the same amount of time Elohim exiled His people, the Jews, to Babylon, isn’t it? From the Fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple that Solomon built in 586 BC, to their return under Zarebbabel in 516 BC – exactly 70 years. It’s also instructive to remember why Yahweh sent them into exile that long: because, according to the last chapter of 2nd Chronicles, that’s how many Shemitahs the people of Israel owed Yahweh.
That’s my conclusion: the Cubs’ fans disrespected someone who was blessed in the eyes of his God, Elohim, and He cursed them for a 70 year exile.
But the time is just about up…
From The Detroit Tigers website: The Tigers went on to beat the Cubs in the World Series in seven games. Only three home runs were hit in that World Series. Phil Cavarretta hit one for the Cubs in Game One. Greenberg hit the only two homers by the Tigers—one in Game Two, where he batted in three runs in a 4–1 win; the other—a two-run job—tied the game in the eighth inning of Game Six, making the score 8–8, but the Cubs won that game with a run in the bottom of the 12th.
In Game Seven, Greenberg sliced a liner to Lowrey, who made a nice running catch. Mayo scored after the catch. 1945 scoring rules did not credit Big Hank with a sacrifice fly, but he did get the RBI, his seventh. (an interesting RBI total!)