Sunday, August 27, 2006

What's in a Name

Green’s Chase Revives Greenberg’s Name and Fame

BEFORE Barry Bonds reaches Henry Aaron’s career home run record, another home run milestone could fall. Shawn Green, with 314 career home runs, is only 17 from matching Hank Greenberg’s standard as the career leader among Jewish players.

“I would say the chances are outstanding; he’ll probably do it as a New York Met next year,” said Steve Greenberg, Hank’s son and the former deputy baseball commissioner. Green’s passing his father would not bother him, Greenberg added.

Hank Greenberg, who played from 1933 through 1947, missing nearly four seasons during World War II, nearly matched Babe Ruth’s single-season record in 1938 when he hit 58 home runs.

If Green does pass Greenberg for career home runs, the name of the standard-bearer won’t change all that much. In fact, Green’s grandfather shortened the family name from Greenberg.

Which reminds me of the joke about two Jews who met up after a dozen or so years and Schwartz finds out that Yankelovicz has changed his name not once, to Winston, but a second time, to Simpson-Walker but nevertheless, he hasn't lost his heavy Yiddish accent.

Why?, Simpson-Walker is asked.

Simple, is the reply, when I was asked my name and used to answer 'Winston', I was always told, 'ah, go on, with your accent you changed from an old Jewish name'. Now, when I say Simpson-Walker, and they again say 'ah, go on, with your accent you changed from your old Jewish name', I can say, 'you don't know vat you are talking about. I'm not Jewish. My name vas Winston'.