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THE AUTHOR'S MINOR LEAGUE CAREER MADE HIM INTO A BIG LEAGUE CELEB
Mickey Weintraub
August 13, 1984
After an enjoyable but undistinguished career as a minor league infielder and player-manager, with only two home runs in my five seasons (1940-41, '45-49), you'd think I would've been surprised by a clipping from the sports section of The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, sent to me recently by my twin brother, Sam. After all, it mentioned me in the same context with three major league sluggers of renown. But I wasn't surprised, because too many similar things had happened to me over the years.
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August 13, 1984

The Author's Minor League Career Made Him Into A Big League Celeb

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After an enjoyable but undistinguished career as a minor league infielder and player-manager, with only two home runs in my five seasons (1940-41, '45-49), you'd think I would've been surprised by a clipping from the sports section of The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, sent to me recently by my twin brother, Sam. After all, it mentioned me in the same context with three major league sluggers of renown. But I wasn't surprised, because too many similar things had happened to me over the years.

The clipping Sam mailed me wasn't a news story, but one of those syndicated squibs that newspapers use as fillers whenever they have a little space at the end of a column. It was headed TRIVIA QUIZ...and read as follows:

Q—Three players drove in 11 runs in a game, while one drove in 12. Which one drove in 12? (A) Mickey Weintraub, (B) Rudy York. (C) Jim Bottomley, (D) Tony Lazzeri.

A—Jim Bottomley.

The sequence of events that led to my being included among these notables started in 1945, just after I left the service. The New York Giants had purchased my contract from my last minor league club, and I reported to the Giants' spring camp in Lakewood, N.J. The war was still on, and major league teams were training in the north because of gas rationing.

My first day in camp resulted in quite a surprise—there was another Weintraub there, by the name of Phil. He was a bona fide big leaguer, a power hitter and first baseman of some reputation in the mid-'30s who had returned to the majors in 1944 and batted .316. Phil's presence created some confusion, not so much in camp as among my relatives, many of whom were reading the sports pages for the first time in their lives. When they saw a Weintraub in the Giants exhibition game box scores, their earlier, frequent question. "What's a nice Jewish boy like Mickey doing playing games for a living?" turned to expressions of pride. On the occasions when they saw two Weintraubs in the lineup, I think some of them assumed I was so good that the Giants were using me at two positions at the same time.

This confusion has continued. I make frequent baseball talks, and if there are oldtimers in the audience, I usually lead off by telling them that I'm not Phil Weintraub. Invariably some disappointment registers on their faces, because they'd been expecting a big-leaguer.

Sometimes people refuse to believe that I'm not Phil. Just about everyone, it seems, wants to meet a major league player, and when they learn that I was in pro baseball, they automatically elevate me to big league stardom. Wishful thinking and the vague memory of a Weintraub in the majors usually combine to put me on a pedestal from which it's not always easy to dislodge myself.

I remember once when I was the M.C. at a father-child sports banquet, a man came up to me with his small son, to whom he said, "Son, shake hands with a real big-leaguer."

I said to the father, "Sir, I think you're confusing me with Phil Weintraub."

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