Ron Bloomberg in action during his high-flying 1973 season.
Ron Blomberg, former New York Yankee star and Major League Baseball's first designated hitter will visit the Sid Jacobson JCC on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 11:00 a.m.
Blomberg will share many great and true stories about his pioneering experience on the legendary New York Yankees.
From that opening day on April 6, 1973 at bat in Boston's Fenway Park, where he earned the designated hitter, Blomberg brings a true insider's perspective to baseball as it moved into a new era. The bat he used in that game even made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In his book, Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story, Blomberg shares many stories about his career, such baseball greats as his teammate Thurman Munson, and the lessons in life that he learned playing America's favorite sport.
As Marty Appel, Yankees Public Relations Director, highlighted in the book's jacket, "[Ron Blomberg] was to be the "Great Jewish Hope," the big box-office attraction, the wondrous slugger of long Yankee Stadium home runs. He had the body, the appetite and the innocence of the cartoon character L'il Abner."
Local residents will get the chance to share a slice of great baseball history, see one-of-a-kind baseball memorabilia and meet one of its players. The fee is $12 for non-members and $10 for members and seniors. Kids under 12 are free. Refreshments will be served.
The program is presented with support from the Brotherhood of Temple Sinai, the Men's Club of Temple Beth Shalom and the Bryant Library.
Ron Blomberg's career with the Yankees lasted from 1969 to 1976. He primarily played first base for the Bombers. Called up from Syracuse in 1971, Blomberg played in 64 games for the Yankees, batting a solid .322. That year, at Syracuse, Bloomberg batted .326 in 48 games. Previously, he worked his way up through the Yankee farm system, playing at Johnson City, Kinston, and Manchester. He had a cup of coffee with the Yanks in 1969, playing in four games, and getting three hits in six at-bats.
In 1971, Blomberg played in 64 games, batting a solid .322. Manager Ralph Houk platooned Blomberg, pattern that would continue throughout his Yankee career. A left-handed batter, Blomberg almost exclusively hit only against right-handed pitchers.
The next year, Blomberg's average dropped to .268. Still, he hit 14 home runs and drove in 49 runs. In 1972, aided by the outstanding relief work by Sparky Lyle, the Yankees made their first run at the pennant since the 1964 season.
Blomberg's best year was 1973, when he batted .329 with 12 home runs and 57 runs batted in. Into the summer of '73, Blomberg batted over .400 and the Yankees stood on top of the American League East division. During that remarkable run, Blomberg made the cover of Sports Illustrated, Sport, and The Sporting News. That year was the Yankees' last at the old Yankee Stadium. For the next two years, they would move to Shea Stadium for their home games.
In 1974, Blomberg helped the Yankees make another run at the AL East title, a drive that stopped short when they were eliminated in the final weekend of the season. Blomberg continued his consistent hitting, batting .311 with 10 home runs and 48 runs batted in.
After that, his career ran into great difficulties. Blomberg was injured the next year. He played in only 34 games in 1975 and missed virtually all of the 1976 season, a campaign in which the Yankees, playing in the newly refurbished Yankee Stadium, won their first pennant since 1964.
The next spring saw more disaster. In 1977, Blomberg was having a fine spring training. However, he injured his knee while playing left field and once again, he had to sit out a championship season as the Yankees won their first World Series since 1962.
In 1978, Blomberg made a comeback with the Chicago White Sox, ending his career in that year and with that team.
In his 8-year career, Blomberg compiled a .293 batting average (391-for-1,333) with 52 home runs, 224 runs batted in, 184 runs scored, 67 doubles, 8 triples and 6 stolen bases in 461 games. He added a .360 on base percentage and a .473 slugging average.
Ron Blomberg remains a popular ex-Yankee and a regular participant in the team's annual Old Timers Day ceremonies.