Book festival will take patrons to ball games of yesteryear

by Lois Caplan

It’s not exactly Jewish Book Festival season, but it is definitely baseball season. So for Redbird fans, the Jewish Book Festival is serving up a delightful evening of baseball memories with Bing Devine and friends on Monday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. In keeping with the Book Festival theme, the evening’s star will discuss his book, The Memoirs of Bing Devine: Stealing Lou Brock and Other Winning Moves by a Master GM, written with Post-Dispatch sportswriter Tom Wheatley, who will emcee the evening. Joining Devine on the program will be former manager Whitey Herzog, legendary shortstop Marty Marion and National Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock. The committee, co-chaired by Eileen Edelman and Regina Shapiro, has planned free ballpark snacks and attendance prizes. All this can be yours for $18 per person, and all proceeds benefit the JCC’s Special Needs scholarships. To reserve your place, call the Festival Hotline, 314-442-3299 or pick up tickets at either of the JCC buildings.

As a joke, I said to Eileen Edelman that I did not know Bing Devine was a Jewish author. “He’s not, but he has had some wonderful Jewish experiences starting at the Y.M.H.A. on Union where he played basketball,” Eileen replied. In my interview with him, Devine told me that the Y had an outstanding basketball team that was widely admired. “I was the only non-Jew on the team and they used to joke and say I should change my name to Levine from Devine. I played with very good players like Dave Goldberg, Moey Geeser and ‘Diz’ Bernstein,” said Devine who had previously been elected to the Washington University Hall of Fame for his basketball achievements.

Devine will be remembered as the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in ’64, ’67 and ’68 when they were a World Series team. He was the guy responsible for the Cards’ acquisition of players like Lou Brock, Curt Flood, Mike Shannon, Joe Torre, Bill White and Keith Hernandez, and he kept Stan Musial as a Cardinal until he retired. He also championed a young broadcaster named Jack Buck and steered Whitey Herzog into the front office. Co-chair Regina Shapiro promises that this will be a fun, fascinating evening and reminded me also that the proceeds go to such a good cause.

THE ST. LOUIS SHOWSTOPPERS, that remarkable group of talented seniors, is at it again with their 2006 musical review which will feature music from The Music Man, Anything Goes, Fiddler on the Roof and No Business Like Show Business. Produced and directed by Babe Rosenberg, the show is not only of professional quality but it also benefits cancer research as net proceeds go to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation for that purpose. There will be four performances, Aug. 19 and Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 20 and Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Clayton High School Theatre, 1 Mark Twain Circle, behind Brown Shoe Company. For information and tickets at $15 call Sharon at 314-567-1344 or Nancy at 314-434-6611.

As wannabe hoofer, I have always admired the skills of Showstoppers dancers, singers and actors and wish I had the chutzpah and talent to join them. For almost 20 years the Showstoppers organization has given senior adults the opportunity to continue or revive their interest in producing, directing and performing in original musical productions. Each year men and women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, along with younger folks, come together for two to three months of weekly rehearsals. The physical and mental benefits of this process are fantastic, and the performances demonstrate the possibilities for being active in one’s later years. Having said all this, I urge you to get on the phone and buy your tickets, as the time is short before the curtain rises on the Showstoppers 2006 musical review.

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