A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Legendary Jewish sports writer Joe Posnanski coming to St. Louis


Noted Jewish sportswriter Joe Posnanski will come to St. Louis on September 7 to talk about one of his favorite subjects: baseball. The author of “Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments” will be paired with Gerald Early, an essayist and cultural critic in a conversation at the JCC. Posnanski, a former senior columnist for Sports Illustrated, provided a preview of his upcoming visit.


What do you remember about going to your first major league baseball game?

I remember the feeling of going to the game, being with my father, the smell of Cleveland Municipal ballpark, the sound of the crowd, the bigness of it all. I have been told that Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry (who actually leads off my book) was the starting pitcher for Cleveland that day. I was probably six or seven year old.


There have been thousands of big moments in the history of baseball. How did you distill them down to 50?

It certainly wasn’t easy. The good news is that while this book is a countdown of the 50 most magical moments in baseball history, I wrote it in such a way that there are actually many, many more moments. There are, in fact, 108 moments in the book with 108 being its own kind of magic number in baseball because it’s the number of stitches on the ball.


Did you have a baseball-themed bar mitzvah?

Alas, there was no baseball at my bar mitzvah. There was, however, a fun baseball thing that happened at our wedding. My wife had gotten a wonderful little brass ensemble to play the music at the wedding, and out of nowhere, without warning, they improvised “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the recessional.


You’ll be speaking here to a largely partisan group of Cardinals fans. The team is having a rare down year. Is this the nature of the game?

These kinds of years just happen. But these kinds of years are not supposed to happen to the Cardinals. This organization has been so consistently good throughout the century — I mean, they haven’t had a losing record since, what, 2007? So, I think something did go very wrong with the Cardinals this year. Injuries happened. The pitching didn’t come together. There was just some bad mojo. It will be interesting to see if this was just a bump in the road or if real changes need to be made.


The Cardinals have had some of the great player nicknames—Dizzy Dean, The Wizard of Oz, Scrabble (Marc Rzepczynski). What are some of your favorites?

Scrabble has always been a favorite of mine. Most of my favorite nicknames come from the Negro Leagues — Cool Papa Bell, Turkey Stearnes, Jelly Taylor, Popsicle Toes, Double Duty Radcliffe, Mule Suttles. Obviously, in St. Louis there’s a great history of nicknames from Dizzy Dean to the Rajah to Whitey Herzog to Stan the Man.

An Evening With Joe Posnanski is presented by SLCL Authors @ the J and Left Bank Books. Ticket information is available here.

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About the Contributor
Bill Motchan, writer/photographer
Bill worked in corporate communications for AT&T for 28 years. He is a former columnist for St. Louis Magazine. Bill has been a contributing writer for the Jewish Light since 2015 and is a three-time winner of the Rockower Award for excellence in Jewish Journalism. He also is a staff writer for the travel magazine Show-Me Missouri. Bill grew up in University City. He now lives in Olivette with his wife and cat, Hobbes. He is an avid golfer and a fan of live music. He has attended the New Orleans Jazzfest 10 times and he has seen Jimmy Buffett in concert more t han 30 times between 1985 and 2023.