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April 30: Phil Weintraub at Bat

April 30, 2014
WeintraubPhil.previewPhil Weintraub (1907–87), a journeyman outfielder with the New York Giants, had one of the most productive days at the plate of any batter in Major League history on this date in 1944. During the course of a 26­–8 shellacking of the Dodgers at the Polo Grounds, Weintraub drove in 11 runs, with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. To date, only three other players have matched or exceeded his RBI total for one game. Babe Ruth, who was in attendance, said to the Jewish slugger, “Kid, that was some performance. You knocked in enough runs for a month. Some guys don’t get that many in a season.” In 1934, during spring training, a Florida hotel refused entry to Weintraub and fellow Jew Harry Danning on the grounds that “we don’t have hibiscus in our hotel” (“hibiscus” being a code word for Hebrew in Florida). Giants manager and All-Star first baseman Bill Terry threatened to take the entire World Champion team to another hotel unless his Jewish players were given lodging. The hotel’s management backed down. “A native of Chicago, Phil Weintraub was cultured and dapper. He wore made-to-order suits with the nonchalance of a movie star. He was reported to own one hundred suits. He loved to play the accordion and read. Sportswriter Fred Lieb called him the best-dressed ballplayer in the major leagues. . . . Weintraub’s fragmented career in the majors included seven years, 444 games, 407 hits, 215 runs, 207 runs batted in, and 32 homers to go with a .295 batting average.” -Ralph Berger, Society for American Baseball Research Thanks to Mikhail Horowitz for this Jewdayo entry.