‘Hebrew Hammer’ Al Rosen, member of Cleveland Indians ’48 title team, dies at 91

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Former Cleveland Indians’ third baseman Al Rosen, nicknamed the “Hebrew Hammer,” has died.

Rosen died on Friday night at the age of 91.

Rosen played on the Indians from 1947 through 1956, including on the 1948 Indians, which won the World Series, the last time the team has won the title. He won the 1953 American League Most Valuable Player award, the last time an Indian’s player has been named the year’s MVP. He retired after the 1956 season, at the age of 32, suffering from a back injury from a car accident a year earlier.

Rosen received his nickname because he was a former amateur boxer, a sport he reportedly picked up after being beaten up in his neighborhood where he was one of the few Jewish boys. His boyhood idol was Detroit Tigers’ first baseman Hank Greenberg, who refused to play on Yom Kippur.

“We lost a cherished member of the Indians family last night. Watching Al play was a true joy and something Indians fans of our generation still cherish,” said Larry Dolan, father of Indians owner Paul Dolan, in a statement from the team.

“He was an inspiration to us all and had a special presence, strength and intellect. His fierce competitive nature and toughness was legendary,” said Indians President Mark Shapiro.

Following his on-field career, Rosen worked in the front offices of the Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees. He was named The Sporting News Executive of the year in 1987 as President and General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, making him the only person in baseball history to win MVP honors for his work on the field and the Executive of the Year award for his work in the front office. He also was a four-time all-Star.