Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tabloid Baby makes Baseball Hall of Fame

Our Man Elli in Israel has discovered a fact that Pulitzer Prize gatekeeper Sig Gissler might have found interesting before unceremoniously rejecting our nomination: Tabloid Baby has earned a place in The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown!

Our groundbreaking, exclusive, historic coverage of the benighted single season and wacky aftermath of the Israel Baseball League was cited as a major source in The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 2007-2008, discussed at length in the hallowed Baseball Hall of Fame, and immortalized in print in the recent book edited by William M. Simons.

Gaining special attention was Elli Wohlgelernter's bombshell exposé of the IBL, an article that first appeared on this site exclusively days after the season ended as Can't Anyone Here Run This Game, and causing an international sports firestorm the likes of which would not be seen until the Tiger Woods scandal.

Read all of Tabloid Baby's Israel Baseball League coverage at our Baseball in Israel site.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ferrara first death of Israel Baseball League

Our Man Elli in Israel has resurfaced to bring us sad news: what appears to be the first death among the veterans of the Israel Baseball League. Team manager Tony Ferrara was 84.

"Tony took over for Ken Holtzman when he was fired from Petah Tikva Pioneers," Elli recalls. "Real, real nice guy, players loved him, low-key, and a baseball man through and through.

"Tony may not have been Jewish, but he was the epitome of a mensch."

Tony Ferrara played four seasons with St. Louis Cardinals affiliates before injury ended his dream, but went on to work as a batting practice pitcher, bullpen catcher and scout for Major League teams including the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s.

He also coached college and in the minors-- and acted in and was technical adviser on The Natural.

He was a longtime friend of Mickey Mantle and even wore Mantle's number 7 in his most recent job as bench coach for the Newark Bears.

There was an impromptu memorial service for Ferrara yesterday at the Babe Ruth bat at Yankee Stadium. One of The Mick's sons was there, along with Ron Darling, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool, Miracle Met and IBL manager Art Shamsky and legendary Yankee publicist and IBL official Marty Appel.

Click here to see our complete coverage of the ill-fated Israel baseball League on our Israel Baseball League archive site.